Fareed speaks with former Justice Department official John Yoo about the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA interrogation methods. Watch the full interview on GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.
Forced rectal feeding, agency officials threatening to rape the mothers of prisoners, people with broken limbs being forced to stand for hours and hours, deprived of sleep for up to one week. Doesn’t that strike you as torture?
Well, those are very troubling examples. They would not have been approved by the Justice Department – they weren't approved by the Justice Department at the time. But I have to question whether they’re true because I can’t take at face value the committee’s report because there were no Republicans involved.
You know, investigations in the intelligence committee are traditionally bipartisan and the worst thing, from a lawyer’s perspective, from my perspective, is the committee didn’t interview any witnesses. And so, you have these reports, but they never gave a chance to the very participants, the people being accused, to explain themselves. And so I would want to know more about what happened in any of these cases and to see what really happened.
But I agree with you if there were people who had to undergo what you just described, none of those were approved by the Justice Department, I don’t believe they were approved by headquarters at CIA, too.
Instead, what you had, I think, was a lot of chaos and miscommunication going on in the very first months after 9/11 when both people in the White House, the executive branch and Congress were demanding that the CIA become aggressive and get started on going after al Qaeda.
But I agree with you. If these things happened as they’re described in the report, as you describe them, those were not authorized by the Justice Department. They were not supposed to be done and those people who did those are at risk legally because they were acting outside their orders.