Bush’s Torture Lawyer Claims Credit for bin Laden’s Death, Criticizes Seals

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More Bush administration officials associated with the program of compliance-inducing “enhanced interrogation techniques” are coming out of the woodwork to claim a measure of credit for Osama bin Laden’s death.

John Yoo, who wrote the brief that provided legal cover for waterboarding, sleep-deprivation and other harsh interrogation methods, wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal today arguing that bin Laden’s assassination “vindicates the Bush administration, whose intelligence architecture marked the path to bin Laden’s door.”

Yoo further claims that “President George W. Bush, not his successor, constructed the interrogation and warrantless surveillance programs that produced this week’s actionable intelligence.”

Most provocatively, Yoo asserts that by killing bin Laden, rather than capturing and interrogating him, the Navy Seal team made a grave error. “Special forces using nonlethal weaponry might have taken bin Laden alive…[and] one of the most valuable intelligence opportunities since the beginning of the war has slipped through our hands.”

Conservatives (like Jack Goldsmith at Harvard) and liberals alike have torn Professor Yoo’s legal advice to shreds; I’ll leave it to others to render judgment on the credibility of his tactical military advice.