Democrats surprised to discover CIA plays politics with intelligence

The innocence is heartbreaking, isn’t it?

On behalf of Bush voters everywhere, let me welcome the reality-based community to reality.

“I think there is so much embarrassment in some quarters [of the CIA] that people are going to try to shift some of the responsibility to others — that’s what I think,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who sat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and was briefed on interrogation techniques five times between 2006 and 2007.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said he finds it “interesting” that a document detailing congressional briefings was released just as “some of the groups that have been responsible for these interrogation techniques were taking the most criticism.”

Asked whether the CIA was seeking political cover by releasing the documents, Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said: “Sure it is.”…

A top congressional official who has participated in the briefings added: “I think the agency wanted to get this out, quite frankly.”

It’s unclear at the moment whether Pelosi first learned of waterboarding in September 2002, as the CIA claimed, or in early 2003 when her intelligence aide, who’d attended a briefing on her behalf, told her about it, but what’s evidently not in dispute is that she could have done — yet didn’t do — much more to make her alleged objections to the practice known.

Over the past week, a half-dozen senior Republican and Democratic aides canvassed by POLITICO have outlined a menu of options Pelosi could have pursued to protest harsh interrogations.

All agreed she could have written a classified letter to the CIA — as Rep. Jane Harman, her successor on the intelligence committee, did after she was briefed on the technique in February 2003.

Pelosi, they said, also could have pressured President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney directly by requesting a meeting with them, or by buttonholing them during previously scheduled meetings, or by writing a letter to them.

A sterling question from ABC: If Pelosi’s telling the truth when she claims that the CIA didn’t inform her about Abu Zubaydah’s waterboarding in September 2002, why isn’t she raising holy hell about it? That’s a serious omission on their part vis-a-vis a member of the House intel committee, and one that’s causing her no small amount of grief right now as Speaker. And yet, per her spokesman, she “is making no accusation against the CIA.” Why so shy, Nan? Get angry!