In a contentious hearing before the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, last Thursday, two “architects” of the Bush administration’s torture policies refused to yield any information on the authorization of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques. David Addington, Chief of Staff and Former Counsel to Vice-President Cheney, and John Yoo, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, appeared before the Subcommittee on June 26, the 21st anniversary of the adoption of the Convention Against Torture. Yoo appeared voluntarily, but a defiant Addington came only under subpoena, without submitting written testimony or offering an opening statement.
Yoo, author of the now infamous “Yoo memos,” which provided the legal analysis that led to the adoption of torture tactics in interrogation of detainees at
Addington, on the other hand, claimed impaired recollection. When asked about his trips to Guantánamo, after which it is reported that officials started using harsher interrogation techniques, he could not recall whether he had discussed interrogation techniques while there. He also denied having advocated any particular position regarding interrogation techniques, claiming only to have requested Yoo’s legal analysis.
While seemingly futile, the testimony of Yoo and Addington is revealing.
By Danielle Goldstone, Human Rights & Anti-Terrorism Legal Intern at Human Rights USA