UPDATED: What was Shelby told in HIS briefing?

UPDATE: Click here for an updated post on this topic.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), one of just a handful of members of Congress besides Nancy Pelosi who was briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques in the fall of 2002, received "what was purported to be a full account" of the techniques then being used on detainees, his spokesman says.

"As Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2002, Senator Shelby was briefed by the CIA on the Agency's interrogation program and the existence of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs)," said Jonathan Graffeo, a spokesman for Shelby. "To his recollection, not only did the CIA briefers provide what was purported to be a full account of the techniques, they also described the need for these techniques and the value of the information being obtained from terrorists during questioning. The Senate briefing also included an explanation of how these techniques were consistent with the law and with the national security interests of the U.S. To his recollection, while there was a great deal of discussion, there were no objections raised during the Senate briefing he attended."

When asked whether Shelby was informed that waterboardbing was being used, Graffeo responded: "Waterboarding was one of the EITs the CIA briefed Sen. Shelby on."



First, note that the waterboarding response does not indicate whether Shelby was told it was being USED.

Shelby was briefed on the "existence of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" [emphasis added] and was informed of the "need for these techniques and the value of the information being obtained from terrorists during questioning." It's unclear to me whether this means Shelby was told the techniques were actually being used.

Intelligence documents released last week (see here, via Greg Sargent) characterize the briefing with Shelby and Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) this way:

"Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of the particular EITs that had been employed." [emphasis added]

This characterization is identical to how the CIA characterized the separate briefing with Pelosi and then-Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.)

Graham has said that he does not "have any recollection of being briefed on waterboarding or other forms of extraordinary interrogation techniques, or Abu Zubaydah being subjected to them."