FORA Politics

Season 2009 Episode 1218

Uncommon Knowledge: John Yoo

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Uncommon Knowledge: John Yoo
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John Yoo is a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. From 2001 to 2003, he served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department of President George W. Bush. Professor Yoo is the author, most recently, of Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush.Yoo, who played a significant role in developing a legal justification for the Bush administration's policy in the War on Terror, reflects on the controversial legal and policy positions taken by the Bush administration on interrogating captured terrorists after 9/11.Beginning with a discussion of the war powers of the executive branch, Yoo asserts, "Today's conflict over presidential power does not truly arise over whether the authorities in question exist, but whether now is the right time to exercise them," addressing the fundamental questions at the heart of the debate over "enhanced interrogation techniques."As a strictly legal matter, does water boarding amount to torture, as the current Justice Department regards it? And are we safer because the Bush administration made use of enhanced interrogation?Finally, Yoo challenges the wisdom of the Obama administration's decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a federal court in New York City.moreless
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