Working Thread: John Yoo’s Emails

At Rosalind’s request, I’m putting up this working thread on the emails that OLC just turned over to CREW.

There’s nothing all that exciting there because this search did not include “paper or electronic documents of Mr. Yoo available elsewhere in the Department.” Like on the classified servers.

I’m actually on strike until I get a non-Scribd copy (you can download a zipped file–thanks to MadDog–here). Why do NGOs insist on putting stuff on the increasingly unworkable Scribd?

But if you happen to LIKE Scribd, here are the emails.

  1. emptywheel says:


    “after torturous negotiations, the law review has … turned down our proposal … on the legal issues on the war on terror.”

    Irony abounds.

    • MadDog says:

      Don’t hurt yourself laughing just yet because my take thusfar is that John Yoo was spending far more DOJ time (and money) doing personal stuff playing speaker footsie all over the US and padding his CV instead of earning his Federal salary. Sheesh!

  2. emptywheel says:

    You get the sense of why Goldsmith got the OLC job. John Yoo was all about networking. And he was networking hard w/Goldsmith. So he was the one at hand?

    • MadDog says:

      And the impact of Federalist Society (which we knew). If you didn’t belong, you couldn’t get in the door.

    • Mary says:

      Goldsmith and Posner were the anti-law right wingers who were most verbose about the “might makes right” ability of the US to do anything. The claptrap they managed to get published in book form by early 2005

      (don’t you like the Tea Party-esque cover?) was what they had been kicking around in articles and talks/debates/confs.

      Goldsmith’s roadmaps are why I’ve said Yoo must have thought it was a bit churlish when Capn Jack showed up on the scene and then acted horrified (although he never changed his positions and never issued a memo that would have put an end to this all and sent torturers to court) that someone like Yoo had actually followed the Goldsmith bread crumbs.

      I still think Kmiec, though. Wouldn’t Goldsmith have also been working at DoD during the time frame mentioned? That would have put him on hand, but also made it more disingenuous for the report to refer to him as a law prof as opposed to a DoD employee. I don’t have time to search hard for the old thread where we were talking about it and I can’t pull it up on google now for some reason, but I really felt like the Kmiec op piece about how horrible it was for things about the torture work of the lawyers to be getting attention – it was a vested interest sounding op to me.

    • rosalind says:

      my bad. i believe we’re now looking for the president of the u of chicago federalist society…(that’s where goldsmith was in 2001, right?)

    • MadDog says:

      Mary, on the previous post, reminded us that Goldsmith only got to Harvard after he left the OLC.

      At the time of his emails to Yoo, Goldsmith was at the University of Chicago, so it would be likely that the Federalist Society President he was pushing was from the University of Chicago as well.

      And lastly, I then made the comment that this would fit with a clerkship with Judge Easterbrook on the 7th based in Chicago.

      Still no luck Googling who was Federalist Society President at the University of Chicago circa 2001-2002, but I’m not giving up just yet. *g*

      Their website doesn’t list past officers, but I’ve got more Google pages to review.

      • Mary says:

        I dropped the last name back on the old thread. I’m not sure it takes us anywhere, but I think it was then-Leahy, now Murrow.

        @16 – IIRC, there were several instances of people saying just that at the time, including, IIRC, some online QAs where Gonzales said that as well. No one had the least resistance to misrepresenting facts to Congress.

        For that matter, thats the thing that really jumped out at me about the Bybee questioning/transcript from a bit back. For all the mantra that was being sold to Congress with the amnesty bills – the over and over and over repetition that you couldn’t punish people who relied in good faith on OLC opinions, he very clearly takes the position that Rotunda and Yoo and others took as well, i.e., that the opinions were not reliance opinions and there could not have been reliance on them.

        But somehow, despite his sure and clear and certain knowledge on that point – he never corrected the representations being made to Congress. He may not have been the one to tell Congress that people were relying on opinions for their torture – but he sure sat back and knowingly allowed the constant misrepresentation to take place.

        But its all good – Obama lurves him.

  3. rosalind says:

    p. 919: a bernie garrett was looking for a copy of “Prisoner of War Utilization by the U.S. Army 1776 – 1945” on June 2, 2003. the book is about:

    “This study is primarily a treatment of the use of prisoner of war labor by the United States Army. It also provides a comprehensive treatment of the employment of prisoners of war by private employers in the United States.”

  4. emptywheel says:

    And while you’re reading about all the GC conversations, know that CodePink and some others have been going after Delahunty in St. Thomas. The Admin there says his opinions were all hunky-dory, ignoring that at least one (the 4th amendment evicerating one) was withdrawn.

  5. rosalind says:

    p. 910 – Yoo’s farewell letter, to which Alice Fisher replies: I’m still cryin.

    Fav part of Yoo’s letter: “Please feel free to contact me about anything, professional or personal. Upon returning to teaching, I won’t have a lot to do.”

    Give that man tenure! Oh wait.

  6. rosalind says:

    p. 882: James Ho, 4/24/03, in his position I believe of Majority Chief Counsel of U.S. Senate Judiciary Sub-Committee on Constitution, gives Yoo his opinion of the revised USA Patriot Act. What stands out is throughout he emphasizes:

    “it looks like the government still must get a court order in all instances.”
    “But again, all of this must be done pursuant to court order.”

  7. rosalind says:

    p. 879: In a discussion of the Holmes Debates on the topic “The Bounds of Post 9/11 Freedom”, DAAG Paul Harris doesn’t have a problem calling torture torture. The topics he wishes John Yoo to argue at the debate include:

    * How far can the government go to obtain information?
    * What is the role of torture in this role?
    * Can information obtained through torture be used in trial?
    * How does the Geneva Convention impact evidence gathering?

  8. rosalind says:

    p. 857: fm: John Manning; Subject: Re: judicial review


    I am actually going to have a chance to read your judicial review
    piece this afternoon. I am attaching the latest version of my absurdity
    draft. I’d love to get your comments on the latest version of the “Manning/Yoo”
    position on statutory interpretation. Thanks.

    a candidate for ew’s #11?

  9. rosalind says:

    p.809; Draft law review article by David Rivkin:

    “As promised a long long time ago, here is our draft ‘law review’
    piece on why ICC’s efforts to assert jurisdiction over nationals of non-state parties violate international law and ought to be robustly resistant. I would love to get any comments/suggestions/criticisms which you might have. (By the way, I have sent a copy of this piece to Jack and Jim Haynes.) Many thanks in advance.”

    • skdadl says:

      Oh please no, not Rivkin, please not that, not Rivkin. rosalind, I’m just about to go to sleep, and you have given me the Rivkin earworm.

    • Mary says:

      Interesting that they put quotes on law review – it makes it seem as if they knew they had a domestic propaganda piece to cover for Exec branch crime and that it was a euphemism to refer to it as a law review piece – but nah, couldn’t be that. ;)

      • klynn says:

        There is a book I have reference here a number of times which addresses the history of the US stance on the ICC. The stance that Rivkin quotes for that Law Review article irt the ICC, did not originate with him or in this country.

        It originated in Israeli courts.

        Which makes the idea of “a cover story” for a crime even more concerning.

  10. rosalind says:

    p. 797

    FROM: Kenneth Anderson (Washington College of Law, American University)

    “All discussions are strictly off the record and not for publication.”

    October 14, 2002

    RE: Iraq Laws of War Roundtable Discussion
    Washington College of Law and the Hoover Institution
    Agenda and Logistics for Wednesday October 30 8:00 Meeting

    John Bolton (State), Brad Berenson (WHC), William Bradford (indiana), Chris
    Caldwell (Weekly Standard), Lee Casey (B&H), Edward Cummings (State),
    Samuel Estreieher (NYU), Ezra Field (ACi), Michael Glennon (Tufts), Robert
    Goldman (WCL-AU), Jack Goldsmith (DOD), Christopher Hitchens, Tod
    Lindberg (Policy Review-Hoover), Jerome Marcus, Michael Matheson (SAIS),
    Madeline Morrig (Duke), Diane Orenflieher 0NCL-AU), Hays Parks
    Jeremy Rabkin (Cornell), John Ralston (Hoover), David Rieff, David Rivldn
    (B&M), Adam Roberts (Balliol Oxford), Paul Stephan (UVA), Detlev Vagts
    (HLS), Ruth Wedgwood (Yale-gAIS), Paul Williams (WCL-AU), Edwin
    Williamson (S&C), John Yoo (DO J).

  11. 1boringoldman says:

    The State Department Issues Focus on page 579+ is pretty interesting – a summary of the world’s reaction to our withdrawing from the ICC in May 2002. Scathing! We weren’t fooling anybody [except maybe ourselves]…