David Margolis aka The Guy Who Stopped Investigating Bush’s Torture

February 20, 2010 at 2:39 pm (Current Events, Political, Terrorism, Torture) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis is a 40+ year career attorney at the US Department of Justice, having joined the Justice Department under President Johnson.  ADAG Margolis occupies the senior most career position at the Justice Department.  Everyone above him is a political appointment chosen by the President and the Senate.

Why should you care?

ADAG David Margolis unilaterally decided to overrule the findings of the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility and pardon the authors of President Bush’s infamous “Torture Memos.”

Here is ADAG Margolis’s January 5th memo to the Attorney General where he pardoned the “Torture Memo” authors.  Since you probably are not interested in reading all 70 pages, here are some highlights:

“My task is a narrow one. The OPR report addresses a number of topics without reaching misconduct findings against any Department attorney. I did not review OPR’s analysis of those topics. For example, during the course of its investigation, OPR reviewed prosecutive declinations regarding interrogations of certain detainees, but I have not examined its analysis of those issues…”

“…I do not adopt OPR’s findings of misconduct. This decision should not be viewed as an endorsement of the legal work that underlies those memoranda… [-ed. note: …because when John Conyers sends them to jail, I don’t want to go with them…]

“…I am unpersuaded that OPR has identified such a standard. For this reason and based on the additional analysis set forth below, I cannot adopt OPR’s findings of misconduct, and I will not authorize OPR to refer its findings to the state bar disciplinary authorities in the jurisdictions where Yoo and Bybee are licensed…”

“…While I have declined to adopt OPR’s findings of misconduct, I fear that John Yoo’s loyalty to his own ideology and convictions clouded his view of his obligation to his client and led him to author opinions that reflected his own extreme, albeit sincerely held, view of executive power while speaking for an institutional client…”

ADAG Margolis spent the next 60 pages basically saying, “Since they were trying to prevent another 9/11, it was okay.”

On background, John C. Yoo is a professor of law at UC Berkeley (WTF Berkeley?!) and Jay Bybee is an Appellate Court Judge on the 9th Circuit.  These were the guys that told President Bush it was okay to torture people while they were employed at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel – aka the authors of the “Torture Memos.”

On February 19th, Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, released the Office of Professional Responsibility’s reports, Yoo and Bybee’s refutation, and ADAG Margolis’s memo to public scrutiny.  Both Rep. Conyers and Senator Pat Leahy (D-Vermont), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, are planning “WTF Is Wrong With You?!” hearings starring ADAG Margolis in the next couple weeks.

Beyond an unelected career bureacrat playing Governor, the worst part of this mess is that Yoo and Bybee were never to be seriously punished for bringing torture to America:  no summary jail sentences in Cuba, no electric anal prods, no waterboarding, no suspension poses, no dogs nipping at their genitals.  The original un-Margolis’d report simply recommended their local bars investigate Yoo and Bybee for misconduct:

“Based on the results of our investigation, we concluded that former AAG Jay S. Bybee and former Deputy AAG John Yoo failed to meet their responsibilities under D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1 to provide competent representation to their client, the United States, and failed to fulfill their duty to exercise independent legal judgment and to render candid legal advice, pursuant to D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 2.1. In violating D.C. Rules 1.1 and 2.1, Bybee and Yoo committed professional misconduct. Pursuant to Department policy, we notify their respective state bars of our findings.”

The most severe punishment would have Yoo and Bybee disbarred (and given permanent positions as Legal Correspondents for FoxNEWS).

Here is a real gem from John Yoo in OPR’s final report:

Q. “What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred? Is that a power that the president could legally—”

A. “Yeah. Although, let me say this. So, certainly that would fall within the Commander-in-Chief’s power over tactical decisions.”

Q. “To order a village of civilians to be [exterminated]?”

A. “Sure.”

What ideology makes war crimes legal?

PS. If anyone has a link to a picture of Margolis, please let me know. Thanks!

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