Friday, July 10, 2009

It's Official: Yoo Authorized Warrantless Wiretaps

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 12:20 PM

A new investigative report mandated by Congress reveals that UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo was the legal architect of the nation's warrantless wiretapping program. Yoo also was behind the Bush-era torture regime. According to the Washington Post, Yoo wrote two informal memos in September and October in 2001, and then a formal one in November of that year, telling President Bush that he could order federal authorities to listen in on Americans' phone conversations without a warrant. Yoo was working in the Bush Department of Justice at the time and was only one of three Justice Department lawyers who knew about the warrantless wiretaps. Yoo's work on the subject apparently became known in the intelligence community as "the scary memos."

The new report, prepared by five inspectors general of federal governmental agencies, revealed for the first time what had been previously suspected - that Yoo was the author of the legal rationale for warrantless wiretaps. His work was later repudiated by other Bush administration lawyers and discarded, because it was so shoddy, and so obviously misstated the law. In fact, his memos almost led to a mass resignation within Bush's own administration. Yet somehow, he is still employed by UC Berkeley.

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