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Yoo and Only Yoo (Knew About Surveillance)

Sure, the associate attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department is supposed to be in charge of the office. But in 2001, then-OLC

Jul 31, 2020
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Sure, the associate attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department is supposedto be in charge of the office. But in 2001, then-OLC chief Jay Bybee “was never read into” the President’s Surveillance Programand instead, his deputy, John Yoo, was the only one in the office who would “draft the OLC opinions on the program.” Bybee told the inspectors general investigating the program that he “could shed no further light” on how that could be.
Let me give it a shot. Yoo was a close ideological and bureaucratic ally of Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney’s lawyer David Addington and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales. This passel of surveillance programs was extremely close held, and since it went outside a law that’s supposed to be the “exclusive means” for conducting foreign surveillance, having a reliable ally give a legal blessing to the program was crucial. That importance came in stark relief when non-allies at the Justice Department like Jack Goldsmith, Jim Comey, John Ashcroft and Robert Mueller refused to reauthorize the programs in 2004, resulting in the famous midnight visit to Ashcroft’s hospital bedside.
Of course, I’m just speculating. Yoo wouldn’t talk to the inspectors general.
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Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke

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Dexter Cooke is an economist, marketing strategist, and orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience crafting compelling narratives that resonate worldwide. He holds a Journalism degree from Columbia University, an Economics background from Yale University, and a medical degree with a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dexter’s insights into media, economics, and marketing shine through his prolific contributions to respected publications and advisory roles for influential organizations. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures, Dexter prioritizes patient care above all. Outside his professional pursuits, Dexter enjoys collecting vintage watches, studying ancient civilizations, learning about astronomy, and participating in charity runs.
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