Now, however, even though torture is in violation of U.S. and international law, the U.S. Justice Department is letting Yoo and Bybee off the hook.
While the probe is sharply critical of the legal reasoning used to justify waterboarding and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques, Newsweek has learned that a senior Justice official who did the final review of the report softened an earlier OPR finding. Previously, the report concluded that two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action—which, in Bybee’s case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry.So now, not only is the U.S. guilty of torture, we are also guilty of letting those who conspired to "legitimize it" off the hook with barely a slap on the wrist. This is shameful.