Most influential CIA lawyer in history “retires” over torture

John Rizzo

John Rizzo

Finally, someone’s paying attention to John A. Rizzo, the CIA Acting General Counsel who is preparing to step down from his post despite being termed “the most influential career lawyer in CIA history”. In a well-researched article for The Los Angeles Times, Greg Miller explains the reasons behind Rizzo’s sudden departure from the Agency. Remember those internal CIA memos the US Justice Department released last April? Among other interesting facts, the memos revealed the names of government lawyers behind the Agency’s secret detention and torture program. Along other, more publicly known names, such as those of “aggressive interrogation” advocates John Yoo and Jay Bybee, several of the memos contained legal advice by Rizzo, who acted as what one CIA official described the Agency’s “legal enabler”. The discovery prompted the Democrat-controlled Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to demand Rizzo’s early retirement. Rizzo’s supporters at the CIA say that he was “martyred to political correctness for doing the hard mission for the agency”. No matter what the truth is, the fact is that Rizzo’s legal advice appears to have helped shield CIA agents from any form of prosecution.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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