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May 15, 2009

Pelosi's torturous position

By Spear's

Having been exposed in a lie, Pelosi has remained silent, saying there is no contradiction. Oh really?

The pressure to prosecute those involved in the interrogation of terrorists detained since 2002 is based on the simple assertion that Congressional leaders were never told that the CIA was planning to waterboard Abu Zubaydah. Leading the charge has been the influential Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

Having obtained a legal opinion from the Department of Justice that ten of the so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ did not amount to torture as defined in the American criminal code, the CIA briefed the House and Senate intelligence committees.

When news of the briefings first emerged, Nancy Pelosi flatly denied that she had received a briefing and denounced the techniques, demanding that officials who had authorized them should be identified and prosecuted.

Now it turns out that Pelosi attended a briefing on 4 September 2002 at which the techniques were described in detail, including waterboarding. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has released a record of the September 2002 meeting which Pelosi has conceded she attended.

It says that among the issues disclosed to her committee was “use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background of authorities, and a description of the particular EITs that had been employed.”

Having been exposed in a lie, Pelosi has remained silent, her spokesman saying only that there is no contradiction between her recollection of the meeting and the official record. Oh really?

The House and Senate permanent committees were set up following the Pike and Church investigations into allegations of CIA misconduct, and the oversight structures were welcomed by the U.S. intelligence community because their introduction should have marked an end to the era of politicians ordering one thing in private but saying something else in public, and then issuing emphatic denials of their original instructions. Now, it seems, politicians are up to their old tricks.

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If Nancy Pelosi had wanted to, she could have terminated the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation, banned waterboarding and demanded an investigation of the legal authorities in September 2002, but she chose the opposite course.

It follows, of course, that if the new administration’s Department of Justice conducts an enquiry into who knew what, and when, Mrs Pelosi should be the first witness to undergo cross-examination.

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