Skip to comments.GOP's torture strategy: Pelosi
Posted on 05/11/2009 2:24:08 PM PDT by jazusamo
For Democrats pushing an investigation into potential criminal wrongdoing in the war on terrorism, the GOP now has a two-word response: Nancy Pelosi.
Republicans say new revelations about a CIA briefing Pelosi received in 2002 have given them their best shot yet at blocking a sprawling probe into Bush administration interrogation techniques by allowing them to insist that its targets would include the speaker of the House.
If someone is going to schedule hearings, I believe that the first witness should be Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the ranking member on the House intelligence committee, told POLITICO. Clearly, she was involved in policy formulation.
According to records released last week by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Pelosi and other congressional officials were told in 2002 that enhanced interrogation techniques had been used on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah. The report appeared to contradict Pelosis claims made earlier and again after the report was released that she had been told only that such techniques might be used in the future, not that they had already been used.
According to a 2005 Justice Department memo released this year by the Obama administration, Zubaydah had been waterboarded 83 times by the time Pelosi was briefed in 2002.
In light of the intelligence report, Republicans say that any probe into torture should be broadened to include what Pelosi knew and how much influence she had in shaping the Bush administrations controversial policies.
The GOPs goal, according to congressional Republicans, is to dissuade Democrats from pursuing an inquiry that could lead to the prosecution of Bush administration officials by making it clear to Democrats that Pelosi and other lawmakers would have to testify, too.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, said in an interview that if Pelosi failed to object to the techniques at the time, she was an enabler and an accomplice if any crimes were committed. If an investigation goes forward, King said, Pelosi should be forced to divulge what she knew.
In a statement Friday, Pelosi said she had been advised at the 2002 briefing about techniques the Bush administration was considering using in the future and that shed been assured they were legal. Pelosi also pointed to a letter from CIA Director Leon Panetta saying that the memos description of the briefings may not be accurate.
Still, Republicans believe they now have Pelosi caught in a jam: To satisfy her liberal base, shes got to keep pressing for an investigation into potential crimes by the Bush administration. But if Republicans can score points with the what did she know and when did she know it? question, Pelosi also may have an interest in putting this issue aside.
Ill be very curious to see how she deals with it, said a senior House GOP aide. Does she stop talking about it and piss off her left?
Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for the speaker, said Saturday that Republicans are trying to politicize intelligence with irresponsible actions and that Pelosi still supports an inquiry into the use of the interrogation techniques. The House and Senate intelligence committees have launched internal reviews, but its unclear whether they will expand beyond classified inquiries.
So far, Democrats seem determined to keep their inquiries focused on the Bush administration.
There should be no effort to divert attention from the fundamental question of why this policy was created and who was responsible for its design and execution, said Trevor Kincaid, a spokesman for Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who chairs an intelligence subcommittee that is taking part in a review of harsh interrogation techniques.
The documents released last week showed that the CIA held 40 briefings for a host of members of Congress from 2002 until March 2009 on the interrogation tactics, but that Pelosi participated only in the first briefing in September 2002. She was the top Democrat on the intelligence committee at the time.
Calls for an investigation into potential wrongdoing by Bush administration officials are expected to mount once the Justice Department releases a long-anticipated report on the memos that authorized the tough interrogation techniques.
The report is expected to criticize John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury, three former top officials in the departments Office of Legal Counsel who were the prime authors of the controversial torture memos.
Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, said its only fair to include Pelosi and other Democrats in any investigation that follows.
If its fair game to second-guess the lawyers in the Justice Department who were doing their job for doing a legal opinion that was asked for, then its fair game to investigate the intelligence officers who asked for the opinion, the Bush administration officials who approved the interrogation techniques, the members of Congress who might have known about it and the Clinton administration officials who knew about it, including Eric Holder, who was deputy attorney general, Alexander said.
He added: I believe President Obamas first instinct was right when he said we should look forward.
The Obama administration has resisted calls from Pelosi and other Democrats in Congress to pursue an investigation into the use of the brutal interrogation techniques but has not ruled one out.
The intelligence document released last week does not specify the techniques on which Pelosi was briefed, nor does it make any mention of waterboarding. Nonetheless, Republicans are now prepared to argue that Pelosi bought into or at least signed off on what the Bush administration was doing.
They were American torture programs if you want to call them torture because Republicans and Democrats knew about them, and did nothing to stop them, said Hoekstra, who called for the release of additional memos to detail what Pelosi was told in the 2002 briefing.
In a hearing last Thursday before a Senate panel, Alexander pointedly asked Attorney General Eric Holder whether it was safe to assume that the use of the interrogation techniques should be broadened to include members of Congress or the Clinton administration.
Hypothetically, that might be true. I dont know, Holder said.
It might be mean.
It might be uncomfortable.
It might be messy.
It might be unpleasant.
It might be humiliating.
It might be fun.
It might be profitable.
But it ain't torture.
Exactly! And it worked.
They could give a rat's behind about any 'torture' save for how it can be used against the US Military and Republicans.
Heck, they'd gas a village if it would ensure that Franken would take Coleman's set.
Then let the record show where it is stated "in the future", explicitly or implicitly. But it must be clear, crystal clear, that the future is what is meant in the briefings.
Then, we can go from there. As in why didn't Pelosi object to its future use? Why didn't she ask if these techniques are legal? Did she or her staff check into the legality of these techniques when she got back from the briefings? Is there any record showing she was concerned about the techniques, present or future, at or around the time of the briefings or when they were being used?
We know the press won't do this, so we need to pound her, and pound her daily, constantly with these questions and others. Keep up the questioning, even if they're the same questions, just worded differently.
Keep her and her staff and the Demos on the defensive.
I believe with the pressure that’s on her this is going to quietly go away, I hope so anyway.
Agree and I think you're right about pelosi's involvement.
I understand she said they didn’t actually say it had been used but led her to believe it had been determined it was legal.
She must have let it go at that, took it all at face value and never questioned it. That seems to me she would be just as guilty as anyone if it was illegal which I don’t believe it was.
I really don’t think it happened that way. I believe she’s lying and knew about everything.
Wow...you are the wise one!
Thanks for the input, it makes me warm all over. :)
Pelosi is a liar and once a liar always a liar.