Wyden vs. Bush: Wyden Wins!

Senator Ron Wyden went toe-to-toe with the Bush Adminstration, and the Bush Administration blinked.

From the AP:

The White House withdrew its nominee to become the CIA's top lawyer on Tuesday after Democrats raised concerns that the agency's interrogation techniques may be illegal.

John Rizzo, the president's choice to become the CIA's general counsel, asked President Bush to withdraw his name, saying it would be in his best interest and that of the agency where he has worked for 32 years. ...

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who led the opposition to Rizzo, called him the wrong man for the job.

"I hope that the administration's next nominee for the position demonstrates greater respect for the rule of law and a firmer commitment to making sure that our nation's counterterrorism programs have the strong legal foundation that they deserve," Wyden said.

What did Rizzo do that earned the ire of Senator Wyden?

At the hearing in June, Rizzo said he did not object to the 2002 memo that said for an interrogation technique to be considered torture, it must inflict pain "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." He said he later deemed the document an "aggressive, expansive" reading of U.S. law.

Human rights groups had urged the Senate to reject Rizzo's nomination because of his stated views on torture. In a letter to the intelligence panel, a coalition of advocacy groups cited Rizzo's June testimony, in which he had not objected to the so-called "torture memo" the Justice Department prepared in 2002.

"When Mr. Rizzo failed to object to legal arguments that defended torture, he failed to protect his clients — the president, his CIA colleagues and the American people," the groups wrote.

Read the rest. Discuss.

  • (Show?)

    As a perpetual whiner on the board, I'm glad for the chance to praise Wyden for a change......

    His principled stand for the constitution in this instance offers a tiny gleam of hope that other senators might take time off from Sense of the Senate resolutions and have a quick look at the ragged leftovers of the bill of rights....

  • (Show?)

    This is huge, and Wyden deserves credit for his willingness to block such an important nomination over a matter of principle. Would that we had 99 more like him.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Well done, Senator Wyden.

  • Joe Vardner (unverified)
    <h2>Three cheers for Senator Wyden!</h2>
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