"I've heard him express regret at the contents of the memo," said a fellow legal scholar and longtime friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity while offering remarks that might appear as "piling on." "I've heard him express regret that the memo was misused. I've heard him express regret at the lack of context -- of the enormous pressure and the enormous time pressure that he was under. And anyone would have regrets simply because of the notoriety."
And other sources, not anonymous:
Tuan Samahon, a former clerk who recalled Bybee's remarks at the reunion dinner, said in an e-mail that the judge defended the legal reasoning behind the memos but not the policy decision. Bybee was disappointed by what was done to prisoners, saying that "the spirit of liberty has left the republic," Samahon said.
"Jay would be the sort of lawyer who would say, 'Look, I'll give you the legal advice, but it's up to someone else to make the policy decision whether you implement it,' " said Randall Guynn, who roomed with Bybee at Brigham Young University and remains close.
This is no accident. Bybee's friends have been sent to get this message out, and it is very bad for Bush officials, possibly including Bybee. He "regrets" writing the memo? I thought everything was perfect and perfectly legal and hunkey-dory with all this. Bybee's telegraphing to the press that it's not. How is that not huge news?
To put this another way: Say Bush and Cheney and the lot of them are accused of murder. They and their supporters keep going on TV and defending them, or distorting the issue, or whatever. Their lawyer, who helped them commit the crime, just said "they're guilty."
This is enormous news.