John Rizzo, Former Top CIA Lawyer, Publishes Memoir Featuring Stories of Waterboarding and Cocaine

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The Central Intelligence Agency is increasingly embattled. Recent revelations of the depth and diabolical nature of the NSA has degraded the CIA’s position as a ruthlessly effective intelligence force. A recent report led by the Associated Press into missing ex-FBI agent and CIA contractor Robert Levinson painted the Agency as careless, at best, about their assets. Even in the acclaimed drama Homeland in which the CIA successfully executes what would be a world-changing mission, it is depicted as being in spite of the Agency’s general ineptitude.

Now, in what Business Insider calls “an unprecedented move,” John Rizzo, the top lawyer for the CIA and a veteran of 34 years, is publishing a memoir that tell his side of a number of controversies that have come out of the agency. However, to call him a “whistleblower” is a bit of a stretch.

In a segment with HuffPost Live, Rizzo says that he was aware of waterboarding and the he could’ve stopped it, but didn’t. Although in his book he calls the enhanced interrogation methods “terrifying and sadistic” he did find “legal cover” for the CIA to employ them during the Bush administration. Rizzo told NPR that there was another technique that he “thought was more chilling and scary than waterboarding” the CIA would not allow him to write about.

However it’s not all torture. Rizzo also describes the close relationship the Agency keeps with Hollywood. Because of the global popularity of some American celebrities, they are often asked to “get cozy” with international leaders. Rizzo speculates that these entertainment folks seek this kind of CIA relationship both out of a sense of patriotic duty and also for “real life intrigue.”

He reveals that once a colleague approached him saying that a “major film star” had learned about the CIA’s association with one of his peers. He offered his name and services “free of charge,” and seemed willing to do anything simply to serve his country. Although, while he wouldn’t accept money for his services, cocaine wouldn’t be out of the question, believing that the CIA could get their hands on “primo stuff.” While Rizzo said the CIA absolutely did not do that, he did acknowledge that someone else in the meeting said obtaining it wasn’t a problem.