The Washington Post
has called legal scholar John Yoo "the intellectual architect of the most dramatic assertion of White House power since the Nixon
era." Yoo was a member of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel early in the administration of President George W. Bush
. After the terror attacks of 11 September 2001, Yoo wrote a series of legal opinions giving the president unusually wide-ranging powers in pursuing terrorists and the al-Qaeda organization of Osama bin Laden
. Yoo asserted that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to suspects in the war on terror, that physically aggressive interrogation techniques were legal, and that the president had the right to order electronic eavesdropping on domestic phone calls without a warrant. These opinions became known collectively as the Yoo Doctrine. Critics accused Yoo of enabling torture and claiming unlimited powers for the president, charges which Yoo has denied. Yoo was born in South Korea, grew up in Philadelphia, and earned degrees from Harvard (1989) and Yale Law School (1992). After graduation he began teaching at the University of California at Berkeley, clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
(1994-95), and became a favored legal philosopher in conservative circles. He was an advisor to George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, and worked in the Justice Department from 2001 to 2003. In 2005 he published the book War, Peace, and the Constitution
. After the presidency of George W. Bush, Yoo returned to teach at the law school at Berkeley.