A federal appeals court has thrown out a lawsuit attempting to hold former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo accountable for allegedly authorizing harsh interrogation techniques to gain information from a terror suspect.
The ruling Wednesday from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, did not endorse memos from Yoo advising that sleep deprivation, isolation, extreme physical discomfort, and mental stress used on suspect Jose Padilla fell within existing legal standards for interrogation methods.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle
, at least some of the techniques used on Padilla, who is now serving time for conspiring to help Islamic terrorist groups, would now constitute torture under current standards.
But Ninth Circuit Judge Raymond Fisher, writing for the court, said in the ruling, “We cannot say that any reasonable official in 2001 to 2003 would have known that the specific interrogation techniques allegedly employed against Padilla, however appalling, necessarily amounted to torture."
“The Ninth Circuit’s decision confirms that this litigation has been baseless from the outset,” Yoo and his attorney, Miguel Estrada, said in a statement.
Padilla’s lawyers filed the lawsuit against Yoo in 2009 following an opinion issued by U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White that government lawyers advising on the interrogation of unlawful combatants could be held liable for the "foreseeable consequences of their acts."
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