Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009

John Yoo

Although Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney have taken much of the heat for President Bush's controversial detention and interrogation policies in the war on terror, John Yoo, a young Justice Department lawyer, had as much influence. Writing legal memos for the President from just after the Sept. 11 attacks until he left the Department in 2003, Yoo is largely responsible for the legal justifications underlying the expansion of executive power under Bush. He argued that the Geneva Conventions didn't apply to terror suspects and gave the President legal cover for a controversial warrantless wiretapping program that allowed the government to listen in on phone conversations of American citizens.