Coalition requests disbarment of government lawyers behind CIA torture

John Rizzo

John Rizzo

Yesterday I wrote about 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”, according to The Los Angeles Times. The reason behind his sudden early retirement is the discovery earlier this month by several anti-torture critics in Congress that he gave the CIA legal advice in support of the Agency’s “enhanced interrogation” program. But the controversy over Rizzo’s role in the torture scheme is likely to stay with him even after he leaves Langley. Yesterday, the Velvet Revolution, an activist network of over 120 groups, issued formal requests with the New York and DC bar associations to disbar Rizzo and two other government lawyers behind the CIA torture program. The requests were officially announced by Velvet Revolution spokesperson Bruce Fein, a former deputy attorney general under the Reagan administration, who said the group had asked that Rizzo, as well as Jonathan Fredman (former chief counsel at CIA’s Counterterrorism Center) and Scott W. Muller (former General Counsel at the CIA) be disbarred over their legal support for torture. The CIA, which has repeatedly received assurances that that those responsible for implementing and carrying out torture during the Bush administration will “not be investigated, let alone punished”, is not so happy about the disbarment request. “This, to put it mildly, is something with which we do not agree,” CIA spokesperson George Little told The Associated Press.

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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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