White House withdraws Rizzo as CIA general counsel nominee

[JURIST] US President George W. Bush Tuesday withdrew [press release] John Rizzo [official profile] as the White House nominee for CIA general counsel in light of concerns from Democrats over Rizzo's support for certain interrogation techniques. During a hearing on his nomination in June, Rizzo, currently serving as acting CIA general counsel, said he did not object to the definition of torture in the controversial "Bybee Memo" [PDF text; PBS backgrounder]. In that memo, the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel [official website] defined torture as physical pain equivalent in "intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily functions, or even death."

After the hearing, members of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence expressed reservations [JURIST report] about the Rizzo nomination. In August Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) [official website] said that he would indefinitely block Rizzo's confirmation process [JURIST report] due to Rizzo's remarks on the Bybee Memo. AP has more.

 

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