"And I'm prepared and confident in saying that I think my legal judgment then was right under the circumstances. But that doesn't mean that you had to -- that President Bush had to choose the policy that they did either," Yoo said.
Bush said in a recent interview promoting his book that he personally gave the CIA the go ahead to use harsh interrogation techniques against KSM. Alberto Gonzales told TPM last week that he was "aware" of the government's policy towards so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, but wouldn't say whether he heard President Bush's statement that he told the CIA "damn right" when asked whether to waterboard the man behind the Sept. 11 attacks.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International have called on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Bush for the decision, as has Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
Yoo, whose belief in executive power goes so far that he thinks the president could have ordered a village of people slaughtered, stood by his legal ruling in the CNN interview.
"Well, I think that torture as used by Congress and the criminal law was undefined. It's never been used in any court decision," Yoo said. "Never been in use by the Justice Department until that time. And so we have this hard job of trying to figure out, do the impressive interrogation methods that the CIA wanted to use at that time, right, a few months after 9/11 violate the criminal statute against torture. I didn't think then or now that the CIA's methods do."
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