Attorney John Yoo was a 34-year-old new hire at the Justice Department when the planes hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. But he was a new hire who had clerked for Clarence Thomas and whose instincts under attack lined up with those of Dick Cheney.
Within weeks of 9.11, John Yoo was writing a series of secret memos making legal arguments for the most controversial elements of the war on terror: on detention and the Geneva Conventions, harsh interrogation or torture, surveillance, huge presidential powers.
Five years on, critics call him a war criminal and a menace to the constitution. John Yoo calls himself a patriot on a new battlefront.
Hear a conversation with the legal architect of the war on terror, John Yoo.
Quotes from the Show:
"I had the view before 9/11 that wartime powers allow the US President to wage war abroad without Congressional approval." John Yoo
"The original vision of the US Constitution is very flexible in wartime." John Yoo
"The way we approach war has to change because the nature of war is new." John Yoo
"In wartime, Congress is the primary check on the President's powers." John Yoo
"We're talking about a degree of exercise of [presidential] power that is unprecedented. "Joshua L. Dratel
"This [the expansion of president's wartime powers] is an attempt to create a monarchy, an autocracy." Joshua L. Dratel
John Yoo, professor of law at the Univesity of California at Berkley School of Law "Boalt Hall." He drafted the Bush administration's rules of engagement on terrorism and is author of "War by Other Means.";
Joshua L. Dratel, co-editor of "The Torture Papers: The Legal Road to Abu Ghraib." He is lead counsel for David Hicks, an Australian detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and has been defense counsel in several terrorism prosecutions.
This program aired on October 12, 2006.