Yoo did not limit his legal opinions to torture issues. In 2002, some in the Bush regime wanted to test the Constitution by using the military to make arrests in the war of terror within the U.S. Yoo's legal memos provided support.
The Lackawanna Six were Yemeni-Americans from New York who traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in the spring and summer of 2001 and attended an alleged al Qaeda training camp. Some of them said they fled the camp after they heard appeals for violence against America. The Six were arrested by the FBI in September 2002. DOJ announced that it had "identified, investigated and disrupted an al-Qaeda-trained, terrorist cell on American soil." President Bush hyped the arrests in his 2003 State of the Union address. This was the public information reported at that time.
But just before the FBI arrested the six men, Cheney wanted to send in the military to grab them. The administration feared it did not have enough evidence to arrest them on criminal charges And Cheney reportedly "argued that the administration would need a lower threshold of evidence to declare them enemy combatants and keep them in military custody." In this, Cheney was relying on a memo by John Yoo, who had written: "The president has ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States." Cheney wanted to have the military seize the Lackawanna Six to set a precedent for using the military on U.S. soil as part of an attempt to set up a form of martial law to fight terrorism. Yoo's memo would have made Cheney's plan possible, although due to infighting within the Bush regime at the time, this did not happen.
Yoo and the Massive Surveillance Launched During the Bush Regime
The Bush regime shortly after 9/11 launched various surveillance programs. The details and even the names of most of these massive spying programs still remain secret. It is also not known to what extent these programs continue to operate. But what has been revealed publicly indicates that millions, if not billions, of emails, phone calls, and other telecommunications have been intercepted by U.S. government intelligence agencies. Billions of financial records have also been the subject of these programs. And despite the Bush regime's lies that these surveillance operations were limited to spying on "terrorists" we now know that they actually included the communications of millions of U.S. citizens and others throughout the world. (We recommend the book, "The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to Eavesdropping on America," by James Bamford for an account on the extent of spying conducted by the U.S. government against its citizens.)
Yoo wrote secret legal memos for the Bush regime that professed to supply a legal basis for illegal surveillance. Much of the content of these memos is still classified. But what has already been made public is revealing. In one memo, Yoo concluded that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) could not"restrict the president's ability to engage in warrantless searches that protect the national security" and that "unless Congress made a clear statement in FISA that it sought to restrict presidential authority to conduct warrantless searches in the national security area - which it has not - then the statute must be construed to avoid such a reading."
The massive spying that began under the Bush regime and that was legally justified by Yoo is one of the best kept secrets of the government. What is known publicly about these surveillance programs is only the tip of the iceberg.