Pelosi’s Drip, Drip, Drip on Waterboarding
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is a rather literal person. When she says that she was not briefed in September 2002 about the CIA’s use of waterboarding, she means just that; she was not briefed. Not that she did not learn about it or was informed about it, only that she wasn’t briefed.
After several days and news stories, we now are told that Pelosi was aware of the CIA’s waterboarding in early 2003. That’s six years ago.
We know Pelosi is dead set against waterboarding now and that she finds the use of these methods amount to torture. But what did Pelosi — at the time the House minority leader and a member of the House Committee on Intelligence — think about it at the time? We don’t know. All we do know is what Pelosi actually did when she first became aware that waterboarding was being used — nothing. She didn’t lift a finger and never publicly voiced a complaint.
She declined to sign a letter drafted by her rival, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), citing concerns about proper legislative channels. In other words, process was more important than objecting to what Pelosi considers torture.
Some have defended Pelosi for not speaking out at the time because of the post-9/11 atmosphere. In other words, it was George W. Bush’s fault Pelosi did nothing.
Because of this — and the tortured way the story continues to play out, Pelosi is getting her first significant and drawn-out negative press since becoming Speaker.
Meanwhile, as the Speaker has called for a “truth commission,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who would not object to being Speaker himself, has said that any investigation about Bush interrogation techniques should also include congressional leaders, stating, “Frankly, information about what was said, when it was said, who said it — that ought to be on the record so the American public knows,” Hoyer said.
In other words; what did the Speaker know, and when did she know it?
Whatever Hoyer’s intentions, he’s right. It would well serve Pelosi, and the nation, to have these questions answered immediately.