Whatever happened to John Rizzo, the longtime CIA lawyer nominated to become chief CIA counsel? Rizzo, who vetted CIA interrogation guidelines as an agency attorney, got through a contentious June nomination hearing largely by equivocating
on whether any detainee in CIA custody was tortured. But his nomination never received a vote from the Senate intelligence committee. And now it's clear why: Ron Wyden (D-OR) is blocking
Rizzo from moving through the process.
âIâm going to keep the hold until the detention and interrogation program is on firm footing, both in terms of effectiveness and legality,â said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. Mr. Wyden said he was troubled that John Rizzo, who is the Central Intelligence Agencyâs interim general counsel, did not object to a 2002 memo authorizing interrogation techniques that stop just short of inflicting pain equal to that accompanying organ failure or even death. Mr. Wyden also said he was concerned that an executive order issued last month by Mr. Bush did not clarify legal guidelines regarding detentions and interrogations.
Rizzo said at his confirmation hearing that, even in retrospect
, he didn't regret assenting to the Justice Department's infamous "torture memo." (An embarrassed DOJ repudiated the memo in 2004.) It's hard to see how the CIA can salvage this nomination. That would make Rizzo, at the time the agency's acting head lawyer, the only administration official involved with crafting interrogations policy to have his career suffer as a result.