In his new book, “Hard Measures” released earlier this week, former CIA counterterrorism chief Jose Rodriguez Rodriguez reveals that he personally briefed Nancy Pelosi in detail about the enhanced interrogation techniques, where the techniques being used to get information from al-Qaeda prisoner Abu Zubaida were described in detail.
“We explained that as a result of the techniques, Abu Zubaydah was compliant and providing good intelligence. We made crystal clear that authorized techniques, including waterboarding, had by then been used on Zubaydah.” Rodriguez writes that he told Pelosi everything, adding, “We held back nothing.”
How did she respond when presented with this information? Rodriguez writes that neither Pelosi nor anyone else in the briefing objected to the techniques being used. Indeed, he notes, when one member of his team described another technique that had been considered but not authorized or used, “Pelosi piped up immediately and said that in her view, use of that technique (which I will not describe) would have been ‘wrong.’ ” She raised no such concern about waterboarding, he writes. “Since she felt free to label one considered-and-rejected technique as wrong,” Rodriguez adds, “we went away with the clear impression that she harbored no such feelings about the ten tactics [including waterboarding] that we told her were in use.”
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Yesterday, her spokesman Drew Hammill told the Washington Examiner that Rodriguez’s claim was totally false. But previously released evidence backs up the former counterterror chief.
In February 2010 a Judge ordered the CIA to release the documents regarding congressional briefings so we all could see who was telling the truth.
The scan below comes from that was released as a result of that order. 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 briefing. As you can see the meeting Rodriguez is talking about took place in April 2002 (the entire 75 page document is embedded at the end of this post–the chart below is on page 7).
In April 2009 Pelosi sparked a furor when she claimed that the CIA was always lying to Congress.
Her contention was Bush administration officials on the legal justification for using water boarding briefed her, but they never told her the technique was actually being used.
“In that or any other briefing we were not, and I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used. What they did tell us is that they had some legislative counsel opinions that they could be used,”
In May 2009 during her weekly press briefing, Pelosi had been forced to acknowledge that in February 2003, she was told that waterboarding was being used. When asked why she didn’t say anything about it then, she threw Rep. Jane Harmon under the bus:
Flustered, Pelosi claimed that it was not her place to complain because she was no longer the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee. “A letter raising concerns was sent to CIA general counsel Scott Muller by the new Democratic ranking member of [the] committee [Jane Harman], the appropriate person to register a protest.” She made this claim five times during the briefing.
Pelosi’s claim that Congresswoman Harmon protested was a lie,
In fact, Harman’s letter, since declassified, did not “register a protest”; it asked “what kind of policy review took place” and urged the agency not to destroy interrogation tapes. Moreover, when Pelosi made this claim, she knew that in 2004, when she was no longer the committee’s ranking member, she had personally intervened with the White House to stop different covert action. She did not defer to Harman; she herself took action. Why was it “appropriate” for her to intervene then but not in the case of waterboarding?
HUH? If Pelosi felt comfortable stopping one CIA operation as minority leader, why not waterboarding? I don’t want to sound cynical but could it be that she didn’t think it was a political issue back then?
A year after she learned about waterboarding she did stop a CIA operation:
In mid-2004, then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi learned something from a CIA briefing that made her blood boil. Pelosi reportedly “came unglued” at the revelation and had “strong words” with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, demanding that the CIA abandon its plans. As a result, a top-secret finding that President George W. Bush signed to authorize the CIA’s activities was revised. Pelosi succeeded in stopping the agency from moving forward with the controversial operation.
What drove Pelosi to action? Not the CIA’s waterboarding of suspected al-Qaeda terrorists. In a 2009 interview, a former senior Bush administration official directed me to a little-noticed item from Time magazine. According to this 2004 report, Pelosi objected to a CIA plan to provide money to moderate political parties in Iraq ahead of scheduled elections, in an effort to counter Iran, which was funneling millions to extremist elements. “House minority leader Nancy Pelosi ‘came unglued’ when she learned about what a source described as a plan for ‘the CIA to put an operation in place to affect the outcome of the elections,’ ” Time reported. “Pelosi had strong words with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in a phone call about the issue. . . A senior U.S. official hinted that, under pressure from the Hill, the Administration scaled back its original plans.” (Her role was also reported on this page by David Ignatius in 2007.)
Truth be told, when Pelosi learned about Waterboarding, she thought it was the right thing to do, but when she saw it as a way to attack the GOP—she lied about her approval and continues to lie while the progressives in the mainstream media refuse to challenge her on this political game.