Hmmm: Cheney led key CIA briefings of Congress on interrogation

The CIA made no mention of his role in documents delivered to Capitol Hill last month that listed every lawmaker who had been briefed on “enhanced interrogation techniques” since 2002. For meetings that were overseen by Cheney, the agency told the intelligence committees that information about who oversaw those briefings was “not available.”

The revelations do not shed light on whether top Democrats, as Republicans contend, were aware that waterboarding, a technique that simulates drowning, was being used on terrorism suspects as early as the fall of 2002. That discussion has dominated Capitol Hill since last month, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was not present at any of the briefings that included Cheney, accused the agency of intentionally misleading her in a 2002 briefing about the use of waterboarding.

An official who witnessed one of Cheney’s briefing sessions with lawmakers said the vice president’s presence appeared calculated to give additional heft to the CIA’s case for maintaining the program. Cheney left it to the professional briefers to outline the interrogation practices, while he mounted an impassioned defense of the program.