Recently, we were told that John Yoo and his band of merry torturers got the equivalent of a “bad dog” scolding for crafting the rules that allowed BushCo to legalize the brutalization of human beings into submission in order to get worthless testimony.
Good job, BushCo.
Now we discover that someone at OLC slipped under the radar.
Yes, there was another architect involved. Little Miss Sunshine aka Jennifer Koester, was young and new and bored and had a pile of spare time and must have been like, rilly rilly tired of posting on MySpace. What’s a girl to do?
The Office of Legal Counsel remedied that. They closed their eyes, stuck out Mr. Pointer Finger, spun around, stopped, opened their eyes, and wham! Mr. Pointer was aimed directly at Lawyerette Jenny:
Though Koester was clearly the junior partner in the process, and appears to have had no authority to approve the final versions of the memos that went out from the department, it’s notable nonetheless that OLC assigned the task of drafting what was essentially the government’s position on the legality of torture to an attorney just two years out of law school, who appears to have been around 28 at the time. And that it did so in part because Koester, having just joined the unit, “had some time available,” according to the report. It’s also perhaps surprising — given the intense level of scrutiny that Yoo has rightly received for his role in producing the memos — that Koester has until now remained almost entirely under the radar. [...]
But the report also makes clear that, despite apparently having been given the assignment almost at random, Koester played a more active role in the process of producing the memos than perhaps anyone else at DOJ, with the possible exception of Yoo. [...]
Indeed, according to the report, it was Koester who drafted perhaps the most controversial section of the memos: the discussion of the “commander in chief” power, in which OLC essentially advises the government that the president, as commander in chief, can disregard any law he wants during wartime. “Koester also told us that she thinks she ended up writing the Commander-in-Chief section, with ‘a lot of input’ from Yoo and Philbin,” writes OPR (p. 50).
Oh, but wait. That’s not all. An internal Justice Department report released Friday revealed this little exchange:
Q: I guess the question I’m raising is, does this particular law really affect the President’s war-making abilities ….
Yoo: Yes, certainly.
Q: What is your authority for that?
Yoo: Because this is an option that the President might use in war.
Q: What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred? … Is that a power that the president could legally–
Yoo: 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]?
You read that correctly. Boy Georgie could order the extermination of entire villages. How WWII of them. Georgie, Yoo, and Lawyerette Jenny sure did think alike! They must have been BFF.
I wonder if Little Miss Sunshine came up with that gem, too. After all, she had more free time than everyone else did to slip in all kinds of innovative laws that rational people never would have been able to come up with.
After all, she did, per the report, draft the part of the memo that gave the “commander in chief power to disregard any law he wants during wartime.”
And then, as all Lawyerettes do, she ate her P, B and J sammich, watched Barney, grabbed her blankie, and took a nap.
She slept very soundly and dreamed good dreams, because little boys and girls with no consciences never have nightmares about death and torture.