NY U.S. Attorney and John Yoo Banned From Russia

Russia has responded to the U.S. issuing a list of sanctioned Russians yesterday by putting out its own list of U.S. officials engaged in human rights violations.

The list includes Bush torture memo author John Yoo and Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, David Addington, and some Guantanamo officials. I wonder why they left Dick Cheney off the list.

Russia's list also includes Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who prosecuted Viktor Bout and pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko (African drug sting case.)

John Yoo's response:

“Darn,” Mr. Yoo said in an e-mail. “There goes my judo match with Putin.”

I guess it's easy for Yoo to joke about this since Russia doesn't send its cops to other countries to set up Americans and then haul them back to Russia for trial and put them in a Russian slammer for 20 years. Only the U.S. and the DEA do that.

One person I don't think belongs on the list is U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff. Even though he refused to dismiss the DEA African sting case, and sentenced Yaroshenko and his co-defendant to 20 and 30 years respectively, having read his rulings in the case, while I disagree with them, I think he based his decisions on his interpretation of U.S. law. There's a difference between being wrong and acting in bad faith, and I don't think Judge Rakoff acted in bad faith. I blame DOJ and the DEA for that case (and for Bout, who was set up in Thailand and extradited here.)

The 20 + Russians on the U.S. list are subject to having their assets frozen and barred from entering the U.S.. If those on Russia’s list travel to Russia, they will be arrested (and held indefinitely without charges?)

On a related note, if you haven't been watching FX's series “The Americans” about KGB operatives in the U.S. you are missing out. It's really good.