‘Torture memo’ author, former attorney general, to testify

general-john-ashcroft.jpgAP | A former Justice Department lawyer who wrote a now-repudiated memo allowing harsh interrogations of military prisoners has agreed to testify to Congress about those practices, say House Judiciary Committee officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the panel has not yet made the announcement.John Yoo, now a law professor at University of California-Berkeley, has agreed to testify to the House Judiciary Committee voluntarily about the Bush administration’s interrogation practices after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Yoo’s memo, dated March 14, 2003, outlines legal justification for military interrogators to use harsh tactics against al-Qaida and Taliban detainees overseas – so long as they did not specifically intend to torture their captives.

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, and former Assistant Attorney General Dan Levin have also agreed to give testimony at a future hearing. Former CIA Director George Tenet is still in negotiations with the committee.

The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote Tuesday to compel David Addington, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, to testify.