News you may have missed #582

John Yoo

John Yoo

►►US government conceals Bush surveillance memos. The Justice Department is refusing to release legal memos by lawyer John Yoo, which the George W. Bush administration used to justify its warrantless surveillance program, one of the most contentious civil liberties issues during the Republican president’s time in office.
►►Ex-CIA bin Laden Unit boss wants rendition back. Michael Scheuer, a former insider and vocal critic of the US intelligence establishment, has described the Arab revolutions as “an intelligence disaster for the US and for Britain, and other European services”. Speaking from Scotland, he also urged for a return to the Bush administration’s rendition program, in order to gather new intelligence on Middle Eastern and North African groups.
►►French firm helped Gaddafi spy on opposition. We have written before about technical intelligence support provided by Western firms to some of the world’s most brutal regimes, including Iran and Bahrain. We can no add Libya to the long list. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amesys, a subsidiary of French telecommunications firm Bull helped the Gaddafi regime spy on the emails and chat messages of its opponents.

Attorney behind NSA domestic wiretapping defends his views

John Yoo

John Yoo

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The former US Justice Department lawyer who authored legal memos sanctioning the legality of the Bush administration’s secret wiretapping program has defended his views. John Yoo, who on 9/11 was a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, has penned an article in The Wall Street Journal, in which he voices disagreement over a recently published US government report that criticizes the wiretap program’s secrecy and dubious legal basis. The report was authored by the Offices of Inspectors General of the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, CIA, NSA, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It says that the Bush administration’s decision to keep NSA’s domestic wiretap program secret even from senior Department of Justice and intelligence officials hampered the broader intelligence community’s ability to use the program’s output, and subverted the government’s ethical standing in the so-called “war on terrorism”. Read more of this post

Most influential CIA lawyer in history “retires” over torture

John Rizzo

John Rizzo

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
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”. Read more of this post