Letter to the Senator

23 August 2007

Senator Wyden has placed a hold on the nomination of John Rizzo to the position of CIA general counsel due to Mr. Rizzo’s failure to object to a memo authorizing interrogation techniques that may have given officers “shaky legal advice”.

According to the International Herald Tribune, Rizzo has been “acting general counsel off and on for most of the past six years”. AP stories mentioned that he his most recent stint as acting general counsel has lasted for three years.

Will Senator Wyden’s hold on Rizzo’s nomination to a permanent position have any effect on his status as de facto general counsel at the CIA?

Senator Ron Wyden has gotten a good deal of press — including a mention in a recent New Yorker article on CIA “black sites” by Jane Mayer — for placing this hold. That’s great and all, I would love to have the people responsible for authorizing torture held accountable for their actions. But none of the articles that I have seen mentioning Wyden’s action say anything about what the actual effect will be of preventing or delaying Rizzo’s permanent appointment to a position he has filled in an acting capacity for much of the Bush administration. Maybe someone who has better access to the Senator could ask that question.