Writer of Detainee Memos Speaks Out

John Yoo is a former deputy assistant attorney general in the office of legal counsel of the Dept. of Justice. He wrote some of the memos in the new book The Torture Papers, including some pertaining to the Geneva Conventions and the definition of torture. He signed off on the memo denying prisoner-of-war status under the Geneva Conventions to al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. Yoo is currently a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley.

'The Torture Papers' Detail U.S. Detainee Policies

Cover of 'The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib'

hide captionThe Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib begins with a Sept. 25, 2001, memo from then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo.

A new book compiles the memos and reports U.S. officials wrote to determine how detainees would be treated in facilities in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison — and what interrogation techniques would be permissible.

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The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib was edited by Karen J. Greenberg and Joshua L. Dratel; it includes documents written by President Bush, Legal Counsel to the President Alberto Gonzales, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and others.

Greenberg and Dratel write: "Ultimately, what the reader is left with after reading these documents is a clear sense of the systematic decision to alter the use of methods of coercion and torture that lay outside of accepted and legal norms."

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