Torture report profile: John Rizzo

John Rizzo

John Rizzo

Role: CIA acting general counsel
Years: 2001 - 2002 and 2004 - 2009

Rizzo called the White House in June 2003 to express alarm about a speech by President Bush in which the president suggested prosecuting “all acts of torture and…undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment.” According to the Senate report, Rizzo said that while the speech contained nothing “we can’t live with,” he wanted the White House to reaffirm that CIA practices “are to continue.” Rizzo wrote a letter in 2005 to the Justice Department that Senate Democrats said mischaracterized the purposes of barraging detainees with loud noise, using shackling, and forcibly shaving prisoners. He lobbied against the Detainee Treatment Act written by Sen. John McCain, and argued internally for destroying videotapes of CIA interrogations, the report said..

Rizzo in an email objected to the report’s characterizations of his actions, saying “I certainly can’t agree that they are ‘facts.’”