Stupid: Pelosi didn’t object to waterboarding in order to respect “appropriate” channels

posted at 9:06 pm on May 11, 2009 by Allahpundit

Please, make it stop. I can handle lying, but I can’t handle bad lying. At least not this much of it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi learned in early 2003 that the Bush administration was waterboarding terror detainees but didn’t protest directly out of respect for “appropriate” legislative channels, a confidant of the San Francisco Democrat said Monday…

[T]here’s no dispute that on Feb. 4, 2003 — five months after Pelosi’s September meeting — CIA officials briefed Pelosi aide Michael Sheehy and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), then the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, on the specific techniques that had been used on Zubaydah — including waterboarding.

Harman was so alarmed by what she had heard, she drafted a short letter to the CIA’s general counsel to express “profound” concerns with the tactic — going so far as to ask if waterboarding had been personally “approved by the president.”

According to the Pelosi confidant, Sheehy told Pelosi about the briefing — and later informed Pelosi, the newly elected minority leader, that Harman was drafting a protest letter. Pelosi told Sheehy to tell Harman that she agreed with the letter, the Pelosi insider said. But she did not ask to be listed as a signatory on the letter, the source said, and there is no reference to her in it

“She felt that the appropriate response was the letter from Harman, because Jane was the one who was briefed,” said the person. Pelosi “never got briefed on it personally, and when Harman got a ‘no response’ from the CIA, there was nothing more that could be done.”

Other possible “appropriate responses,” right off the top of my head: (1) Pelosi could have demanded to be briefed personally to learn more about this alarming new development; (2) Pelosi could have written her own letter; (3) Pelosi could have co-signed Harman’s letter; (4) Pelosi could have demanded a CIA response to Harman’s letter; (5) Pelosi could have pressured the GOP leadership to inquire further; (6) Pelosi could have leaked the details about waterboarding to the press, which wouldn’t have been “appropriate” per se but would at least have signaled the depth of her alleged concern. Instead, she let it lie. How come, Madam Speaker?

Update: Has anyone asked yet why, if “torture” was such an epochal issue, Pelosi was sending staffers to CIA briefings in her place instead of going herself? What urgent business of state prevented her from carving out a bit of time to find out how apocalyptic jihadists were being treated by the country’s chief intelligence agency?


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