Intelligence officials leaked documents to the Washington Post and ABC News last night that sharply contradict the statements of Speaker Nancy Pelosi who has denied ever being told that torture was being used on detaineees. She previously insisted that the use of waterboarding (aka torture) was only discussed in the future tense — a dubious moral distinction. I discussed the story on this segment of Rachel Maddow’s show.
The documents purportedly show that Pelosi was briefed in September 2002 about the use of torture against specific detainees. The documents show that Pelosi was briefed at the same time as
then-Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.) were the first two members of Congress ever briefed on the interrogation tactics. They were briefed on Sept. 4, 2002, one week before the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks — an interesting choice of timing that seemed designed to ensure that Pelosi would keep quiet about the criminal acts.
On a prior interview with Rachel Maddow, Pelosi unambiguously denied being briefed on the program:
(on camera): September 2002, you were briefed on CIA detention issues and enhanced interrogation issues. Because of those briefings, and I know you that you expressed concerns to the NSA after that October 2001 briefing, you released that publicly in 2006. You didn`t express public concerns at the time after those briefings. Does that raise a complication?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: No, no. The fact is they did not brief – first of all, we`re not allowed to talk about what happens, but I can say this. They did not brief us that these enhanced interrogations were taking place. They did not brief us that was – they were talking about an array of interrogations that they might have at their disposal.
MADDOW: Techniques in the abstract, as if they were not being used?
PELOSI: We were never told they were being used.
MADDOW: Were you told they weren`t being used?
PELOSI: Well, they just talked about them, but they – the inference to be drawn from what they told us was these are things that we think could be legal and we have a difference of opinion on that.
But they never told us that they were being used because that would be a different story altogether. And we had many disagreements with them all along the way on how they collect information in their country and what they think might be acceptable.
They have never gotten any comfort from me on any of these issues, no matter what they want to say publicly. And they know that I cannot speak specifically to the classified briefing of that kind. But I can say flat out they never told us that these enhanced interrogations were being used.
It is impossible to square these documents with those past statements. The documents would supply the long suspected link between the democrats and torture — explaining Pelosi’s steadfast refusal to allow any investigation into the war crimes.
The documents are available here. Defenders have said that the documents do not actually show that she was told about the individual interrogations, but it is clear that Pelosi was informed of an obvious program in use in my view. In the end, it does not matter. The fact that Pelosi was told of possible war crimes in the future tense does not alter her failure to act to stop the program. This was not some idle chit chat with ranking members — timed perfectly for the anniversary of 9-11.
For the full story, click here.