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John Yoo, author of the now-infamous 2002 torture memo allowing U.S. interrogators to use any measures short of causing organ failure or death, is unrepentant. Although his memorandum — written when he worked at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — was overruled two years later, Yoo tells Legal Times its legacy lives on because he says subsequent memos have not substantially changed interrogation tactics. “Even though you have seen criticism by other members of the department who came later, they didn’t change any of the policies, as far as I could tell,” says Yoo, now a professor at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. Jack Goldsmith, a former friend of Yoo’s who served as head of the OLC from 2003 to 2004 and who now teaches at Harvard Law School, withdrew Yoo’s memo in 2004 after finding that it was deeply flawed. “They may have disagreed with the .�.�. legal reasoning, but if they really disagreed with it, they should have stopped their .�.�. policies. And I don’t think they did,” says Yoo, who was a panelist at last week’s Federalist Society convention in Washington. “I think if you read the memo and the following memo that came out closely, they are not that different. And I think a lot of it was for appearance’s sake rather than for the substantive legal differences.”
Pedro Ruz Gutierrez can be contacted at [email protected].

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