The Heat Is On

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on April 28, 2009

090426_pelosi_ap_297Nancy Pelosi did nothing when the nature of Bush Administration interrogation policies was revealed to her. Now, she is feeling the heat from Republicans in the House of Representatives who rightfully point out that it is hypocritical for the Speaker to play holier-than-thou when it comes to interrogation policy even though she did nothing to object when she first learned of those policies.

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer lady. The following, by the way, is precious:

At a press briefing last week — one she hoped would focus on the legislative accomplishments in Obama’s first 100 days — Pelosi said she didn’t raise objections because intelligence officials didn’t divulge they had actually begun using the techniques at the time of the briefing.

“We were not — I repeat — were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used,” she said.

However, that account seemed to be contradicted by a Senate Intelligence Committee timeline that found House leaders were briefed “in the fall of 2002, after the use of interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaida. CIA records indicate that the CIA briefed the chairman and vice chairman of the committee on the interrogation.”

And Porter Goss, who was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee when Pelosi was the ranking member, made the same point in a Saturday Washington Post op-ed.

“The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists,” Goss wrote. “I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues.”

The Goss editorial is covered here. And in response to Pelosi’s claims that she could not raise objections or share information in the aftermath of receiving classified intelligence briefings, we have this neat and excellent retort from Congressman Pete Hoekstra:

But Hoekstra, a frequent Pelosi critic who supported most Bush administration policies, said he has often raised objections to officials during intelligence briefings and shared his misgivings with his leadership.

“I’ve never felt hamstrung,” he said. “If there were things I heard that made me nervous, I’d tell John Boehner or [former Speaker Dennis Hastert], ‘You guys have to get briefed up on this because I’m uncomfortable with what I heard.’ … It was my job to let my boss know so that he could take what he believes is appropriate action.”

Why couldn’t Nancy Pelosi do the same before it became politically fashionable to attack the Bush Administration’s interrogation policies?

Maybe we should put her under oath and find out.

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