It’s easy to get lost in all this guesswork about why, exactly, the CIA decided to destroy taped interrogations of terrorism suspects in 2005. One person who will likely be dragged into the fray is the CIA acting General Counsel John Rizzo, through whom all things legal pass on their way up the spook chain.

Rizzo, according to his bio on the CIA’s Web site, has been a lawyer for the agency since 1976. His career spans the agency’s Office of Congressional Affairs, Directorate of Operations and now the general counsel’s office. He was waist deep in the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s, and he was the legal filter for the new interrogation and detainement powers that President Bush heaped on the CIA after Sept. 11, 2001.

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