Hot Trends At CES, Crisis In The CIA, State News Round-Up

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Veronica Rueckert and Rob Ferrett learn about some of the hot trends at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. They talk to a former employee at the CIA about the years after 9/11, and then they’ll get a round-up of this week’s top news stories in Wisconsin.

Featured in this Show

  • Former CIA Legal Adviser's New Book Delves Into Legal Opinions About Waterboarding

    When one thinks of the CIA employees, James Bond-type agents probably spring to mind: Audacious characters that travel the world gathering information on adversarial governments or terrorists. People probably don’t imagine a room of lawyers deliberating over which interrogation techniques will be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.

    According to John Rizzo, a former CIA legal chief legal adviser, lawyers really do play a key role in the operations of the CIA.

    “The CIA is heavily invested in lawyers … particularly so in the post-9/11 era,” he said.

    Rizzo recently published a tell-all book, “Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA,” which chronicles his 34-year career as a lawyer in the CIA, with particular focus on his role during the War on Terror.

    Since reports of CIA employees waterboarding suspected terrorist reached the public, so-called enhanced interrogation techniques have been the subject of debate at home and abroad. Many have claimed that waterboarding is torture and therefore, a war crime.

    Rizzo said he was responsible for giving the go-ahead on such techniques, saying, “I could have stopped the whole idea before it started.”

    And today, he stands by his decision to allow waterboarding, but he puts a lot of emphasis on the particulars of the time in which he made the decision.

    “In all honesty, I don’t have any qualms. I just have to put myself back in time to 2002 … it was a very vexing and difficult decision, but I do not regret it,” he said.

    When confronted with the question of torture, he does say that “wherever the line was (on the torture statute), this kind of thing was close to it.”

    Along with the Department of Justice, CIA legal advisors ultimately deemed techniques such as waterboarding to be appropriate.

    Rizzo sees a difference from the cases of Japanese soldiers being prosecuted for war crimes for waterboarding after World War II in that “the way the CIA administered (waterboarding) was really miles apart form anything the Japanese had done,” he said.

    When it comes to the future of U.S. enhanced interrogation techniques, Rizzo said those actions and decisions were of that era.

    “That was an extraordinary, unprecedented period that I don’t believe will ever be repeated,” he said.

  • Smartphones, Smartwatches, Smart Everything: The Hot Trends At CES 2014

    The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas wraps up today. A tech journalist rounds up the coolest gadgets and hottest trends from this year’s show.

  • Controversy And Crisis In The CIA

    Former Chief Legal Officer at the CIA tells the story of the agency in the years after 9/11, including controversial interrogation techniques.

  • State News Round-Up For Friday, January 10th

    WPR’s assistant news director joins us to talk about what’s making news in Wisconsin this week.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Galen Druke Producer
  • Omar Gallaga Guest
  • John Rizzo Guest
  • Noah Ovshinsky Guest

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