You Can’t Blame Pelosi for Torture

In a classic “change the subject” ploy, Republicans are trying to blame the whole torture scandal on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). But I think people are smart enough to recognize this for what it is: a giant, deliberate, cynical distraction.

True, Pelosi was once the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. And, as such, she was one of four congressional leaders briefed by the CIA on the interrogation of prisoners.

Pelosi says she was told that waterboarding had been authorized as an “enhanced interrogation technique,” but was not told that water-boarding was already being used. I believe her. But whether you believe her or not, here is the truth:

Nancy Pelosi did not write any memo stating that waterboarding was legal. She did not authorize waterboarding. She did not perform waterboarding on anybody. As a member of Congress, she was prohibited from talking to anybody, even members of her staff, about what the CIA had told her. And even had she protested to the CIA, it wouldn’t have made any difference.

So don’t be fooled. No matter how hard they try, there’s no way Republicans can blame Nancy Pelosi for torture. That blame belongs squarely and solely on Bush Justice Department attorneys who OK’d it, Bush CIA agents who carried it out — and with George Bush and Dick Cheney, who gave the orders.


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