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April 23, 2009

Pelosi: I Don't Know Nothin' About Waterboardin' No Jihadis

ANHFF Geoff tells me this weak spin has taken over CNN and MSNBC, both in a desperate scramble to absolve all Democrats for waterboarding, so that prosecutions can go forward against Bush administration officials without appearing too vindictively partisan.

Pelosi, now:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing back on GOP charges that she knew about waterboarding for years and did nothing.

Pelosi says she was briefed by Bush administration officials on the legal justification for using waterboarding -- but that they never followed through on promises to inform her when they actually began using "enhanced" interrogation techniques

"In that or any other briefing…we were not, and I repeat, we're 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," she told reporters today.

Even if that's true -- which I doubt, and Rep. Boehner contradicts -- notice how weak an attempt to absolve herself it is. She "merely" knew that WH lawyers had blessed the tactic as legal, and intended, of course, to use waterboarding in the appropriate case. But she claims she didn't know it actually happened, so she's... off the hook?

That's like a parent watching his teenager stocking the house with kegs and condoms and then claiming "Well, I didn't know he'd be having a party while we were away."

What do you think he was doing? Getting ready to make beer-filled condom-balloons?

Furthermore, if she knew the administration deemed the tactic legal and didn't object, what the hell is she doing now claiming she knew it was illegal all along and people ought to be prosecuted for it?

AHFF Geoff sets the wayback machine for a 2007 story in the WaPo:

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

"The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough," said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.

...

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

Individual lawmakers' recollections of the early briefings varied dramatically, but officials present during the meetings described the reaction as mostly quiet acquiescence, if not outright support. "Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing," said Goss, who chaired the House intelligence committee from 1997 to 2004 and then served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006. "And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement."

Pushback is requireed.

Release the minutes of the briefings, now, President Transparency.



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posted by Ace at 03:12 PM

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