Yoo: Justice Department Won’t Let Me Talk

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April 23, 2008 2:25 p.m.

You didn’t think that John Yoo would come easily, did you?

Earlier this month, House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI) invited Yoo to testify to the committee about his time as the administration’s point man for authorizing the use of torture in interrogations. Now Yoo, through his lawyer, is saying that he’s not coming:

In a letter, Yoo’s lawyer told Conyers he was “not authorized” by DOJ to discuss internal deliberations.

“We have been expressly advised by the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice that Professor Yoo is not authorized to discuss before your Committee any specific deliberative communications, including the substance of comments on opinions or policy questions, or the confidential predecisional advice, recommendations or other positions taken by individuals or entities of the Executive Branch,” Yoo’s lawyer, John C. Millian, wrote in a letter to Conyers.

Conyers has already said that a subpoena would be forthcoming if Yoo did not voluntarily agree to appear.

And it’s not as if Yoo’s appearance would be unprecedented. Earlier this year, the current head of the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Bradbury testified before the committee and freely discussed the Office’s thinking on the matters of torture, waterboarding, and other touchy topics. And as Conyers pointed out in his letter inviting Yoo to testify, Yoo has made the rounds with the media, giving extensive interviews with Esquire and Frontline, among others.

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