The Bothwell Letter
News & Comment from Law Offices of A.P.X. Bothwell
350 Bay Street, Suite 100PMB314, San Francisco, CA  94133-1998                Tel. (415) 370-9571
November 26, 2010       Vol. XII / No. 2 

CIA Lawyer Regrets He Didn’t Protest Torture – 
His Remarks at Washington Dinner Disclosed Here for the First Time

The CIA’s recently retired top lawyer has confided to former colleagues that he regrets having failed to oppose the torture policies of the Bush administration.  In remarks made last month but not published until now, John Rizzo, who acted as CIA general counsel in  2004-2009, told a closed-door dinner meeting at the Army Navy Club in Washington, “We didn’t press the White House hard enough to open that up to brief the full intelligence committees,” adding, “That, in retrospect, was stupid.” 
The House and Senate panels should have been briefed on “covert operations” including “the post-9/11 interrogation program,” he said.  “We at the CIA made a true mistake,” Rizzo said, acknowledging “a major responsibility.”                                    

 ‘I regret…’

Just telling the “gang of 8” congressional leaders allowed insufficient oversight, he said, noting that even the “8” get no briefings on Department of Defense “special action” covert operations.  He went on, “Telling the full committees is not only good government – it’s the best way to protect the agencies.  I regret that when I was in a position to push back on enhanced interrogation, I did not do so.” 
The Oct. 1 dinner at the club on Farragut Square on 17th Street N.W. in the capital was attended by several dozen active and retired senior military officers, civilian intelligence officials, and scholars in the field of national security law.   

Naval War College Official Sees Security in Arms Cuts

The nation’s security is enhanced by steps toward global nuclear disarmament, Commander James Kraska of the Naval War College told a fall workshop at Fordham law school.  U.S. strategic nuclear posture wisely focuses the prime threats – nuclear terrorism and proliferation, said Kraska, who ran the Joint Chiefs of Staff international negotiations division in 2007-2008. 
Obama administration policy complies with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the Senate ratified in 1969, Prof. Daniel Joyner of the University of Alabama law school told 100 scholars at the workshop in Manhattan.  Nuclear arms should be deemed illegal, said a dissenter on the panel, Atty. John Burroughs of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy. 
Atty. Tony Bothwell, former public affairs director of the Livermore nuclear weapons lab, served as reporter for the Oct. 22 panel sponsored by the American Branch of the International Law Association.

JFK’s Heroism Recalled by Navy Officer Who Rescued Him
The sailor who rescued John F. Kennedy after the PT109 sank in 1943, and then shared a tent with him for three months on an island surrounded by forces of the Japanese Empire, lived to tell us about it.  Lieutenant Commander Ted Robinson, sharp-witted at age 91, spoke to a meeting of Sons of the American Revolution Sept. 23 at Sinbad’s restaurant in San Francisco.  He shared vivid memories of instances in which the future president volunteered for death-defying missions to rescue other American fighting men.  He gave a detailed account of horrors of combat in the South Pacific.  And when a horn-blowing ferry approached the windows of the dockside restaurant, Robinson pretended to have a flashback, exclaiming, “The Japanese are coming!”               

Sons of the American Revolution Elect Bothwell President

            Members of the San Francisco chapter of Sons of the American Revolution on Nov. 18 elected Atty. Tony Bothwell to serve as chapter president for 2011.  The national Sons of the American Revolution was founded in San Francisco July 4, 1876.  Member-ship is open to lineal descendants of patriots who were involved with the war for American independence, 1775-1783.  The nonpolitical organization conducts patriotic ceremonies and supports educational programs on American history and government.

Lawsuit Filed Three Weeks Prior to San Bruno Explosion
Warned of Some Hazards in PG&E Gas Transmission Dept.  

On Aug. 17, Atty. Tony Bothwell filed a lawsuit charging that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. retaliated against a safety official in the firm’s Gas Transmission Department for reporting that natural-gas line workers were under-trained and under-equipped.  Supervisors allegedly confined the whistleblower for two days in a Stockton hotel room, took his car keys, conducted all-day hostile interrogation, and threatened to fire him. 
Sept. 9, Bothwell’s office received a response from PG&E acknowledging the lawsuit.  Later that same day, PG&E’s gas transmission line in San Bruno exploded, destroying many homes, injuring dozens of residents and leaving eight dead.                                    

‘pressure then increased’

Sept. 13 Bothwell said on KGO-TV, “If the pressure in the line inadvertently is allowed to go too high because of the performance of a worker who’s not sufficiently trained, then there is a public safety issue.” 
Oct. 13, the National Transportation Safety Board tentatively reported, “Just before the accident…pressure then increased…[followed by] fire from the ruptured line.” 
Recently, the Bothwell law firm was retained by an 88-year-old survivor who had been watching television in his living room when the fireball erupted across the street from his San Bruno home. 


The Bothwell Letter
November 26, 2010         Vol. XII / No. 2


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