April 23rd, 2009
03:10 PM ET
9 years ago

The politics of 'torture' heating up in Washington

Some congressional Democrats are calling for an investigation into controversial CIA interrogation techniques.

Some congressional Democrats are calling for an investigation into controversial CIA interrogation techniques.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Who knew what, and when?

Those questions, focused on recently released Bush-era CIA memos detailing "enhanced interrogations" of suspected al Qaeda members - are now being posed inside the Beltway, as calls by Democrats for an independent investigation into torture allegations have become louder.

House Minority Leader John Boehner said Thursday that the release of what he described as the "torture" memos is politically motivated.

"Last week, they [Obama administration] released these memos outlining torture techniques. That was clearly a political decision and ignored the advice of their Director of National Intelligence [Dennis Blair] and their CIA director [Leon Panetta]," Boehner said.

The Ohio Republican pointed out that he saw a partial list of the number of members of the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans "who were briefed on these interrogation methods and not a word was raised at the time, not one word."

Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan, also blasted concerns being raised by Democrats.

"Only now that we have a new administration are people coming out who were aware of these programs saying wait a minute, these were terrible programs. In reality, two, three years ago, they signed off on it, they voted for legislation that funded these programs, and now all of a sudden these are terrible practices," he said.

But when asked whether or not she raised objections to the interrogation measures at the time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi - a then-ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee - vehemently said "we were not, I repeat, we were not told that waterboarding or other enhanced methods were used."

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Filed under: CIA • Congress
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    S.E.R.E. – Survive, Evade, Resist, Extract

    This is the training that our Navy Seals go thru. The letter of S.E.R.E. which is most relevant here is the letter R(RESIST). This training is necessary in the case if our soldiers were captured, they will be able to RESIST torture. So yeah, we put our soldiers through that training, but that training isn't supposed to be used on detainees.

    April 23, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. Donna from Colorado Springs

    The American people need to realize that the Bush administration lied to everyone who was involved! No one was told the truth about anything because that's the way they operated. The lies started the day he took office and continued for eight horrible years! He lied about why we went to war and everything from that moment on! They deliberately misled every person who asked any questions and removed them from their jobs if they continued to question them. Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush.......all of them need to be reminded that nobody is above the law!

    April 23, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. Martin Schroeder

    If you believe Pelosi, I have a mansion in Florida I want to sell you real cheap.

    April 23, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Pelosi was ranking member of the House Intelligence committee and says she didn't know? And you liberals say Cheney lies.

    April 23, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. McEmtol

    I am an ardent Obama supporter but i think the release of those memos to the public in the first place is not well thought out. Obama did the right thing with the executive orders that reverse course. Let's just move on. Now you dont want to prosecute the implementers but said the AG should decide to prosecute those who advised or promulgayed the ideas or gave approval. I know the administration intention is good but what about the judgement for the memos release....

    April 23, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. ap

    The republican's made the mistake of assuming that they would always be the party in power. Too bad for them that they got caught and are now backpedaling furiously. Torture is against the law. ANYONE, republicans included, who authorize torture, should be prosecuted and put in JAIL.

    April 23, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Robert


    CIA did nothing wrong in waterboarding al Qaeda suspects.

    When terrorists kill innocent is that not torture? All the people who are against the CIA, need to also know about the torture techniques of the terrorists.

    Terrorists torture children, women and even elderly by piercing into their eyes, dousing children in Acid. Have we forgotten the 8 years old boy from Iraq who was doused in Acid in Iraq and came to US for plastic surgery. Terrorists even dismember the limbs and torture people to death.

    Terrorists are ruthless, merciless and barbaric animals.

    There is a saying “to prevent a greater harm, it is ok to inflict a minor harm”.

    Waterboarding does not cause any disability on the person who is waterboared, but it helps to get information about the terrorists who can cause great harm, like the 9/11.

    April 23, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. U.S. Common Sense

    Send all 41 members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to jail if Bush and/or Cheney are ever found guilty of torture. These two Congressional groups had the responsibility to stop any activity they thought was illegal. Failure to act on their part means they approve of the action, and therefore just as guilty. Send them all to jail if that be the case, including the Speaker of the House.

    April 23, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Baze

    News flash for you bleeding hearts, waterboarding is NOTHING compared to what U.S. and/or allied prisoners experience in the captivity of the enemy. Whose side are you people on anyway?

    April 23, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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