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The Most Bizarre Response To The Pulitzers Yet, From The Guy Who Authorized CIA Torture

from the are-these-people-serious dept

So, the Guardian and the Washington Post won the Pulitzer for "public service" for their coverage of the NSA's surveillance activities. We mentioned how this should really end the debate over whether or not Ed Snowden was a whistleblower or not, but knew that would never happen. We'd already covered Rep. Peter King's incensed response, but an even more amusing response has to be the one from John Yoo. You may recall Yoo as the guy in the George W. Bush administration who basically shredded the Constitution in "authorizing" the CIA's torture program. He's weighed in a few times about the NSA stuff, arguing that the NSA shouldn't have to obey the Constitution because it takes too long and insists that the courts have no role in determining if something violates the 4th Amendment.

For reasons that are beyond comprehension, the political color commentary sportscasters at Politico decided to ask Yoo if the Pulitzer vindicated Snowden, and he (of course) answered with an emphatic no, though in a way that suggests he still has no clue what this story is about:
John Yoo, a former deputy assistant attorney general and author of the 2002 memos advising the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques, said the Pulitzer committee’s decision did not vindicate Snowden.

“I’m not surprised the Pulitzer committee gave The Washington Post a prize for pursuing a sensationalist story, even when the story is a disaster for its own country,” he said. “I don’t think we need automatically read the prize as a vindication for Snowden’s crimes. Awarding a prize to a newspaper that covered a hurricane does not somehow vindicate the hurricane, [and] awarding a Pulitzer for a photo of a murder does not somehow vindicate the crime.”
Except, of course, the award was not for their coverage of Snowden's actions (mislabled "crimes") by Yoo, but rather the NSA's actions. So if we replace "Snowden's crimes" in the quote above with "the NSA's crimes" the quote actually makes some sense. The reporting certainly was no vindication of the NSA -- quite the opposite. The award itself was always for the reporting on the NSA, and the reason it vindicates Snowden (and which Yoo seems unable to comprehend) is because without Snowden, there would be no reporting on the NSA's unconstitutional and illegal behavior. There would be no "national debate" on the surveillance state, and there would be no ongoing effort in all three branches of government to change how the intelligence community spies on people.

The award wasn't for reporting on Snowden. It was on the NSA. And it's that reporting that vindicates Snowden. It's simply crazy that folks like Yoo are so focused on hating Snowden that they still don't seem to realize that.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), Apr 15th, 2014 @ 8:43am

    Life was so much easier

    ... when all media (and what they reported on) was under government control. This internet thing is letting too damn much truth get out.

    For the folks in government... repeat this out loud every day until it sinks in...

    we NO LONGER control the horizontal;
    we NO LONGER control the vertical;
    we NO LONGER control the message;
    The TRUTH is out there...


    and then.... Deal With It.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 9:44am

    Inb4 the evil overlords, oh I'm sorry high-ranking government officials declare the Guardian and the Washington Post terrorists for aiding and abetting a Russian spy.

     

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    FM Hilton, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 9:46am

    It's all about the lies

    When one does not have a perceptible target to shoot at, shadows suffice.

    Edward Snowden is the guy who started all this ruckus, and the people who didn't want the ruckus to start are the very same ones who do the crimes.

    Hamlet said it best:
    "Thus conscience does make cowards of us all"

     

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      mcinsand, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 10:04am

      Re: It's all about the lies

      Yes, it's all about the lies and keeping them covered. However, Snowden didn't start this ruckus. Those that flushed our Constitution down the toilet started it when they were so deluded to believe that they could keep their acts and lies secret. What we're seeing is just a matter of informational entropy. A 'Snowden' was going to appear sooner or later, especially the NSA could not guarantee that every employee had no conscience. Sooner or later, someone would have enough conscience and spine to blow the whistle. Those that expected otherwise were a perfect alloy of foolishness and arrogance.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 9:52am

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Maybe 'hurricane' is how Yoo refers to the torture he helped authorize. Swapping it out makes his statement make alot more sense:

    "Awarding a prize to a newspaper that covered torture does not somehow vindicate the torture"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 9:57am

    It remains to be seen if NSA personnel have committed a crime. For a site that demands reserving judgment until a guilty verdict has been handed down, articles like this do seem to be a bit out of the ordinary.

     

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      pixelpusher220 (profile), Apr 15th, 2014 @ 10:12am

      Re:

      Well, it's like child porn. There is no legal instance of it. Ditto with torture. Of course for first hand information we could go look at the tapes of the torture...oh wait.

      Innocent until proven guilty, but that doesn't mean we don't get to connect the dots in coverage that make it seem damned likely crimes were committed.

       

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      Anonymous, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 10:15am

      Re:

      A guilty verdict is only possible if the government chooses to prosecute itself for the crimes, a highly unlikely scenario. The crime has still been committed whether or not charges are ever filed.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 10:19am

      Re:

      In situations like these, there won't be justice. The government won't give any verdict to the NSA prism program or the CIA's torture program except maybe to increase their budgets. It will instead go after the small people by making their lives miserable for making it possible for that information to go out public. Obama's has proven that by the number of whistle blowers he has prosecuted.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 10:49am

      Re:

      You don't need to be a lawyer to understand that the 4th amendment has been violated. So no, the verdict is already out and it's most certainly: guilty.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 2:28pm

        Re: Re:

        Even lawyers cannot be certain at this stage that the 4th Amendment has been violated, so perhaps you might want to reconsider your seeming absolute certainty of guilt.

         

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          MrWilson, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 6:19pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          This is called an appeal to anonymous authority. "They say..." so it must be true, right? Feel free to cite your sources. Which lawyers? All lawyers?

          You might want to reconsider your apparently certainty that there aren't lawyers who are certain that the 4th Amendment has been violated.

          But more importantly, according to how twisted the interpretation of the Constitution has become, it's entirely possible that by some misguided, but "official" determination, the NSA didn't "technically" violate the 4th Amendment. That doesn't vindicate the NSA, however. That's just a further indictment of the government and how far removed the laws and interpretation of the laws are from actual justice.

           

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      MrWilson, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 12:58pm

      Re:

      I'm just going to Godwin this for you to illustrate the absurdity of your statement...

      "It remains to be seen if Hitler actually committed a crime, such as leading Nazi Germany in the murder of 12 million people in internment camps or starting a world war and causing the deaths of millions more people. Unfortunately, Hitler died before he could be brought to trial in Nuremberg, therefore, he must have not done anything wrong and you're rushing to judgment if you dare accuse him of committing such crimes! How dare you, sir!?!"

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 9:58am

    People are easy to fool...

    Whom ever said... you can fool some people some of the time, but not most of the people most of the time... or some such was a blithering idiot.

    Fact is... you CAN fool most of the people most of the time. You only need 51% to be most so the bar is not as high as everyone seems to think. And based on the history of American Elections... whooo... who is stupid?

    Yes, the American people buying into this stupid 2 party bullshit. We reap what we have sown... Bush initiated the DHS, Patriot Act, which are tremendous acts against this nations liberty. Obama is now using the same laws and organizations to abuse every last aspect of them.

    Nevada's BLM is just a small part of the high tension this government is causing with the push towards tyranny. All of your beloved federal agencies including the post fucking office are buying ammo so you can be enslaved once again.

    Will you fight? Or will you roll over and vote for your favorite party just to keep that other bastard out?

    The Democrats and Republicans both want slaves... they merely disagree on how to get & enslave YOU!

    The only choice for freedom will be those (regardless of party) actually talking about rolling back and limiting the parts of government that are there now.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 10:13am

      Re: People are easy to fool...

      The quote is actually that you can fool all of the people some of the time, or some of the people all of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 10:53am

        Re: Re: People are easy to fool...

        According to Bush it went like this:

        "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." — Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

         

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        Pragmatic, Apr 16th, 2014 @ 5:36am

        Re: Re: People are easy to fool...

        You're missing the point, AC @10.30am. AC @ 9:58am is right; we've been drinking the 2 party kool aid for too long. It's time to nut up and start considering third parties, then talking about them to see how likely it is that people will vote for them. Without the numbers, in a first-past-the-post system, we've got no chance. If enough people back a third party candidate he (or she) will get in.

        So talk about them. Raise awareness. Get people thinking about them. When there's enough consensus on a particular candidate, promote them to the max and get people to pledge to vote for them. When people see there's momentum, they'll get on board. It's the only way to make it happen in a political environment that shuts out other parties and labels those who support them "independent." Nothing wrong with that per se but it does serve to render them invisible in the media.

        If we're going to make anything happen, we'll have to make it happen ourselves. And we'll have to start now.

         

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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Apr 15th, 2014 @ 10:10am

    John Yoo. What I wish for that war criminal would have to be declared untorture by...John Yoo.

     

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    Stephen B. Billings, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 10:44am

    Your article

    You are so correct. Snowden should be treated as a hero. Yoo should be arrested for the crimes he committed by allowing the US to torture prisoners.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Apr 15th, 2014 @ 10:54am

    Really.

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

    Or rather, his freedom. If the NSA gets scrutinized it will spill towards everything and then he could be tried for war crimes. Of course he would disagree.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 15th, 2014 @ 10:56am

    Must have been a slow day at the office

    It's beyond me why any reputable news agency would want to have anything to do with that scum.

    Report on the weather patterns in foreign countries, have a segment about grass and the different shades it grows in, compare migration patterns of various species of birds, anything would be better than asking a torture-happy, law hating sleazebag like that his opinion on anything.

     

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      Pragmatic, Apr 16th, 2014 @ 5:41am

      Re: Must have been a slow day at the office

      Yeah, but asking the torture-happy, law hating sleazebag what his opinion on the Pulitzer Prize winners revealed just what a torture-happy, law hating sleazebag Yoo is.

      Think "Rope," "Hang," and "Self."

      They've made it plain who he is and what he's done. Adding his odious opinion to that intro is the rancid icing on the maggoty cake.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 11:00am

    We only need to look back through history to understand how criminals think.

    Criminals who are morally bankrupt and without conscious are incapable of realizing just what their condition is and how serious it is. They vehemently deny that they are in the wrong, even as they are marched off to a prison cell for the rest of their natural lives (if they're lucky enough to get off that easy) or as they are executed.

    Rogers, Feinstein, King, Alexander, Clapper and Yoo, just to name a few, are so morally bankrupt that you cannot trust them. Ever.

    The best thing that could happen for the US is to throw these folks into a deep, dark hole and trow away the key.

    Perhaps if these few were dealt with and it became apparent that unconstitutional behavior simply will not be tolerated, even for a second, others might think twice about supporting this type of behavior.

    I'm not at all hopeful.

     

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    Namel3ss (profile), Apr 15th, 2014 @ 11:19am

    I said it before and I'll say it again...

    FUCK YOO!

    Seriously, this assclown should just STFU already. He makes assclowns look bad.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 12:08pm

    It's simply crazy that folks like Yoo are so focused on hating Snowden that they still don't seem to realize that.
    Well, what do you expect? To do anything other than partake in another Two Minutes Hate of Snowden would require acknowledging that the NSA is in the wrong. And villains never admit that they're in the wrong; it's what makes them villains.

     

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    Crusty the Ex-Clown, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 12:28pm

    Wasn't Bush a great president?

    Just look at all the strides his administration made when it came to hiring the cognitively challenged. There was Michael Brown, John Yoo, Doug "dumbest fucking guy on the planet" Feith, and a host of others - including all the busy little neocons infesting Defense. It brings tears to my eyes.

     

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    Personanongrata, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 1:12pm

    Jay Scott Bybee Chicken Hawk War Criminal

    Lets not for get who John Yoo, chicken hawk war criminal, fraction of a human being, worked under at OLC -- the turd stain known as Jay Scott Bybee who is now a federal judge appointed to the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Now thats accountability.

    The Bybee Memo:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bybee_Memo

     

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    Roger Strong (profile), Apr 15th, 2014 @ 2:14pm

    Silver Linings Are Where You Find Them

    John Yoo is free, while whistleblower John Kiriakou is in jail. James Clapper is free, while whistleblower Edward Snowden is in hiding facing charges.

    This makes yesterday's headline "Bullied Student Records Bullies, Gets Threatened With Felony Charges For Violating Wiretapping Law" almost heartwarming. High school bullies getting the same protection as high society criminals, refutes that whole "high court / low court" thing.

     

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