Today was the beginning of the era of reckoning for Nancy Pelosi’s claims about the CIA briefings on water boarding You may remember that Pelosi first denied being briefed about enhanced interrogation techniques, then said she was briefed but was never told they would be used, and finally she was told but didn’t say anything because there was nothing she could do about it. And throughout it all, she claimed that the CIA lied to her.
For his part, Leon Panetta, Democrat, former Bill Clinton Chief of Staff, and head of the CIA, sent a letter to his troops that disputed Pelosi’s accounts:
There is a long tradition in Washington of making political hay out of our business. It predates my service with this great institution, and it will be around long after I’m gone. But the political debates about interrogation reached a new decibel level yesterday when the CIA was accused of misleading Congress.
Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing “the enhanced techniques that had been employed.” Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened.
A Judge ordered the CIA to release the documents regarding congressional briefings so we all got to see who was telling the truth.The first load of documents were released today.
The scan below comes from that first document dump. The initials HPSCI in the committee column stands for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Nancy Pelosi was the ranking Democratic member of the committee during most of 2002, when you see the initials HPSCI on the chart below it means Pelosi was at the meeting (click on chart to see it larger).The red marks on the left indicate that it was Pelosi breifing. As you can see the first time the briefing was called specifically to discuss enhanced interrogation techniques was 9/4/02 well before Pelosi’s claim.
Faced with this evidence Pelosi did what other politicians would do–LIE and if you look at the rest of the report embedded below, there are other instances where it seems to indicate that Pelosi was indeed briefed:
Prodded by the release of dozens of declassified CIA documents, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reasserted her longstanding position about what she knew regarding the agency’s use of harsh interrogation practices.
“I have never been briefed by the CIA or anyone else on the subject of those interrogations, to the extent that they were being used,” the California Democrat told reporters Tuesday. “We were only briefed that there were lawyers in the Justice Department that thought they were legal, period.”
The comments marked Pelosi’s first foray into the controversy in nine months that pitted the top House Democrat against the nation’s premier spy agency. Responding to a lawsuit filed by Amnesty International and two other human rights watchdog groups, the CIA released several dozen documents detailing how the CIA handled suspected terrorism suspects and briefed lawmakers about it.
The documents show Pelosi was briefed about “ongoing interrogations of Abu Zubaydah” on April 24, 2002, just weeks after the top Al Qaeda suspect was captured in Pakistan. Previously, Pelosi asserted the 2002 briefing covered only “interrogation techniques the administration was considering using in the future.”
Last May, Pelosi accused the CIA of lying to her and other lawmakers about enhanced interrogation techniques used by the agency on terrorism suspects known as high-value detainees. Waterboarding, a simulated form of drowning, is one of the tactics interrogators used to coax information out of the suspects. Its use drew severe criticism because the United States has abstained from it in past conflicts.
Last year, Pelosi said she was only briefed once on the advanced interrogation methods, in September 2002. At the time, Pelosi was the House Minority Whip and top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. She said in May 2009 that CIA briefers told her that “the use of enhanced interrogation techniques were legal,” and added that waterboarding “was not being employed.”
CIA records show that during the September 2002 briefing, Pelosi and others were given “a description of the particular enhanced interrogation techniques that had been employed” on Zubaydah. The U.S. was already waterboarding Zubaydah by that point. CIA officials said they believed agency briefers had indeed informed Pelosi that Zubaydah was undergoing waterboarding sessions.
Below is the full 75 page document, there are other instances that indicate that Pelosi was indeed told what was going on. The speaker seems to be lying. Leave a comment and let m know what you think.