John Rizzo on 30 Years of Controversy in the CIA

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

John Rizzo traces the CIA’s evolution from shadowy entity to an organization exposed to new laws, rules, and a seemingly never-ending string of public controversies. In Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA, he looks at the CIA in the years after the 9/11 attacks, when he served as the agency’s top lawyer, with oversight of actions that remain the subject of intense debate today. He’s the first CIA official to ever describe what “black sites” look like from the inside, to discusses the interrogation of Al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah, and address the enhanced interrogation program.


John Rizzo

Comments [11]

Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from Bk

What Mr. Snowden revealed is the same thing that the break-in at the F.B.I. office in Media Pa (1971) revealed: illegal activities by the United States Government against it's own citizens. Both the burglars and Edward Snowden are patriots and heroes. Whenever illegal activities are exposed, like those above, or C.I.A.findings which make the murder of civilians (Drone Wars) possible, exposing them is citizen's obligation. This was not a serious interview.

Jan. 08 2014 02:33 PM
RJ from prospect hts

I find it ironic that someone who was writing allegedly legal "findings" on CIA actions for the President of the United States at the age of **30** should be so condescending about Snowden's judgments and actions at 29 years old.

Jan. 08 2014 02:05 PM
S Dwyer from Brooklyn

This man is a criminal who wrote the legal cover for other criminals. It's outrageous that an interviewer on NPR is treating this subject matter like a lighthearted spy thriller - the frequent allusions to spy fiction only make the comparison more grotesque.

Jan. 08 2014 02:04 PM
Roger from New York, NY

By the way, Mr. Rizzo, in the book "None of Us Were Like This Before," there's another documented cases of US Army service members employing waterboarding in Iraq. So, there was more than three cases of waterboarding. I can't recall which technical it involved - i.e., CIA, Khmer Rouge or Japanese (during WWII). Maybe you should read the book, which beautifully shows the widespread devastating costs on US service members, detainees, and counter-insurgency policies. While Mr. Rizzo and his colleagues seem intent of talking up the supposed intelligence gains by his secret CIA program (which have so far been refuted by the Senate Intelligence Committee and even former CIA), they are quite intent to run from any verifiable costs of torture - on intelligence and human lives, including those of our very own troops.

I'm curious if WNYC will raise some of these issues with him.

Jan. 08 2014 01:48 PM

Will you ask your guest to briefly discuss the "special activities division" the covert commando unit within the CIA.

Jan. 08 2014 01:47 PM
lk from Brooklyn

Ask him about extraordinary rendition where prisoners were flown into countries to be tortured and there were no limits on the torture in order to get around American laws against torture.

Jan. 08 2014 01:44 PM
B.A. from Bronx, NY

Is Rizzo seriously arguing that because the waterboarding technique was different from the Khmer Rouge and Japanese during WWII that is therefore not a crime?

And by the way, as an expert on torture, the technical technical difference were very slight. This is an incredibly shallow argument - laughable, really.

Jan. 08 2014 01:42 PM

Oh, good. We water boarded the nice way. Give me a break!

Jan. 08 2014 01:42 PM
C.E. Connelly from Manhattan

Waterboarding wasn't significant! The Japanese did it differently than the CIA?! Oh, my goodness. This is absurd. Thanks for at least making him answer some questions about it.

Jan. 08 2014 01:41 PM
Truth & Beaity from Brooklyn

Ask Mr. Rizzo whether he thinks it was as effective at Guantanamo as it was in Salem (MA).

Jan. 08 2014 01:41 PM

Please refrain from airing CIA opinions on this show. There are plenty of other venues for the agency to spread propaganda.

Jan. 08 2014 01:40 PM

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