Former CIA official: Pelosi knew about harsh interrogation tactics

Jose Rodriguez, the former senior Central Intelligence Agency official who led the agency’s interrogation program under former President George W. Bush, said on Sunday that House Democratic leaders knew about harsh tactics and did not object.

{mosads}Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the former ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, did not urge the CIA to curtail practices that Democrats are now condemning as torture, Rodriguez said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“I remember very clearly briefing Nancy Pelosi in September of 2002,” he said.

“We briefed her specifically on the use of the enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah,” he added, referring to an organizer of the 9/11 attacks who was waterboarded 83 times in one month. “I briefed her on all the techniques.”

Rodriguez said he told Pelosi about waterboarding detainees, depriving them of sleep and pushing them into walls.

Pelosi, however, told reporters in a May 2009 press briefing that CIA officials informed her that waterboarding was an option but not that it was being actively applied.

“The CIA briefed me only once on some enhanced interrogation techniques, in September 2002, in my capacity as ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee,” she said.

“I was informed then that Department of Justice opinions had concluded that the use of enhanced interrogation techniques was legal. The only mention of waterboarding at that briefing was that it was not being employed,” she added.

She said intelligence officials promised her they would inform lawmakers on the intelligence committees “if that technique were to be used in the future.”

“We also now know that techniques, including waterboarding, had already been employed, and that those briefing me in September 2002 gave me inaccurate and incomplete information,” she said.

Rodriguez said the only Democrat who cautioned the CIA at the time about its practices was former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), a longtime member of the House Intelligence Committee.

But Rodriguez said Harman was more concerned about enhanced interrogation tactics would be received by the media and the public, predicting the uproar that met this week’s release of a lengthy Senate report detailing harsh techniques.

— This report was updated at 2:11 p.m.

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