Two defenses of Pelosi’s lies circulating in the nutrootsphere today, one dumber than the other. The first is the claim she’s been pushing all along, that she was told only what the CIA might hypothetically do to detainees in the future, not that they’d actually done anything yet. Why she thinks this lets her off the hook is beyond me given the left’s attitude that any righteous progressive should be overcome by the vapors at the mere thought of America coercing information from captives — but we’ve already been over that. In any case, the 2002 DNI report written up by ABC yesterday directly contradicts this nonsense. Quote:
The report details a Sept. 4, 2002 meeting between intelligence officials and Pelosi, then-House intelligence committee chairman Porter Goss, and two aides. At the time, Pelosi was the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee.
The meeting is described as a “Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of particular EITs that had been employed.”
It wasn’t a hypothetical, it was a progress report. If Pelosi wants to stick by her story, she has no option left except to accuse DNI — in a report written seven years ago, which also mentioned Republican Porter Goss — of outright lying to frame her. The second, more nuanced excuse is that the report never says Pelosi was told about waterboarding specifically, only that she was briefed on certain unnamed enhanced interrogation techniques. HuffPo, in fact, has a source — anonymous, natch — swearing that this is the case, never mind that Porter Goss is on record as insisting that it most certainly isn’t. It would be sweet if it were true since it would force her defenders to distinguish “bad” EITs like waterboarding from the “not so bad” ones that she was briefed on, thereby cracking the left’s dopey absolutist position on this topic. But … it’s not true. From the NYT’s report last month on Zubaydah’s interrogation:
The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. Abu Zubaydah has been described as a Qaeda operative.
Consider the context of when the briefing was held — one week before 9/11/02, when fears of an anniversary attack were sky high — and ask yourself why the CIA wouldn’t have told Pelosi they had waterboarded Zubaydah. In the political climate of the time, the agency would have been more concerned with covering its ass by assuring Congress it was doing everything it could to stop a new attack than covering its ass by omitting information for fear of a speculative backlash against waterboarding years down the road. They had every reason to disclose.
Anyway, they wanted “truth” and now they’ve got it. And they may yet get more: Pete Hoekstra says he’s seen documents detailing just what it was, precisely, that intel committee members were told and not only does he want the documents released, he may ask Conyers to call a hearing and put Madam Speaker, among others, on the stand. Full speed ahead.