Yoo

'Justifying' Torture: Two Big Lies By Coleen Rowley and Ray McGovern

'Justifying' Torture: Two Big Lies

By Coleen Rowley and Ray McGovern
July 19, 2008

One can assume that former Attorney General John Ashcroft didn’t mean it to be funny, but his testimony on Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee might strike one as hilarious, were it not for the issue at hand — torture.

Ashcroft is the Attorney General who approved torture before he disapproved it, but committee members spared him accusations of flip-flopping.

He explained that he initially blessed the infamous torture memoranda drafted by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo and others in mid-2002 because he (Ashcroft) believed it imperative to afford the President “the benefit of genuine doubt” regarding how to protect American lives in the “war on terror.”

But Ashcroft added that, despite this, when concerns about that earlier guidance for interrogations were brought to his attention, changing his mind “was not a hard decision for me.” A very flexible Attorney General.