John Yoo

Torture Connection: 
Legal mind of the testicle-crushers
  • Born 1967, in Seoul, Korea.
  • U.S. History, 1989, Harvard University
  • J.D. 1992, Yale Law School

Defender of the Torturers

John Yoo worked in the Bush justice department preparing the legal underpinnings to defend administration officials in the event they might ever face criminal charges related to torture. In memos for the attorney general, the CIA, and top White House officials, he presented two lines of argument intended to protect government interrogators and bureaucrats from legal accountability for torturous practices: first, the president’s constitutional duties as commander-in-chief of the armed forces trumped any treaties or laws attempting to set limits on executive authority (this theory was developed with Robert Delahunty), and second, waterboarding and other outlawed practices were not really torture in the first place, since they were not designed to cause bodily harm at the level of “organ failure” or death. Many of Yoo’s official memos were classified; some of his recommendations were so stark that when they were leaked to the public, the White House insisted they were “inoperable.”

The Constitutional Imperative to “Crush the Testicles of a Child”

Since leaving Washington in 2003, Yoo has refined and elaborated his defense of torture in his scholarly writing and occasional television news commentary. For example, in 2006 he suggested in a public debate with another law professor that the right to torture a suspect extended even to torture of the suspect’s children. Yoo's doctrine held that if a president determined that torturing a suspect's children might encourage the suspect to share intelligence helpful to the nation, he not only could but should attempt such torture.

Sources on John Yoo

The New York Times
The Public Record
Global Researc
The American Prospect
New York Review of Books
New York Times
International Business Times
Associated Press
Eurasia Review
The Atlantic
Sydney Morning Herald
The New American
Wall Street Journal
Associated Press
Fire Dog Lake
Fire Dog Lake
Fire Dog Lake
Fire Dog Lake
Seattle Times
Washington Post
Washington Post
New York Times