Senate Report on CIA Torture

John Yoo

John Yoo was the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) from 2001 to 2003. In August 2002, Yoo and several CIA lawyers, includingJohn Rizzo, "advised that the criminal prohibition on torture would not prohibit the methods proposed by the [CIA's] interrogation team because of the absence of any specific intent to inflict severe physical or mental pain and suffering.An OLC memorandum, dated August 1, 2002, stated that "'necessity or self-defense may justify interrogation methods that might violate' the criminal prohibition against torture." This is contrary to both international and domestic law, which do not provide for a "necessity defense" to torture.

Yoo reported that he drafted these sections of the memo in response to CIA questioning about "what would happen in a case where an interrogator went 'over the line' and inadvertently violated the [U.S. Anti-Torture] statute." When asked to remove these sections by Department of Justice lawyer Patrick Philbin, Yoo said, "They want it in there," meaning the CIA. Rizzo told the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility that "the CIA did not request the addition of these sections."