April 23rd, 2009
03:10 PM ET
5 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. Not true

    and you representative should be ashamed for saying it is

    Bush endorsed it, NOT the country

    April 23, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Obama Victim

    now wait a second............you are not suggesting that Democrats are lieing hypocrites are you...........................?? shocking!!!!!!!

    April 23, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Pepou

    Torture is inhuman, illegal and un-American. Those who supported it or found redeeming value to it should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And the Democrats, Pelosi first should have tried to learn the truth, instead of being the usual cowards. Remember that everyone, except Russ Feingold (bless him) voted for the USA PATRIOT Act without even reading it !

    April 23, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. Enlightened Voter

    The republicans are squirming like tuna surrounded like dolphin.

    April 23, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. Christie - Indianapolis

    "...and now all of a sudden these are terrible practices."

    No, they were ALWAYS bad practices, you said so yourself, John.

    April 23, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. phoenix86

    Who were the members of congress that received briefings? What did they know?

    April 23, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Pelosi had no idea what was going on, she just voted for the funding. This I can believe.

    April 23, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Moderate Democrat

    Deal with it, your grand pooba is being called to the floor for the war crimes he committed. Your argument of "hey, even though we were doing wrong, we should have been called for it then, but not now since we got away with it" is retarded.

    April 23, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Diane Panama City Fl

    Once again the Republican Fascist Party of America is trying to obscure their complicity in this matter and try to drag others into their fascist-style governance. The Bushwacky Administration pulled another fast one on Congress with the "enhanced interrogation briefing" slight of hand, just like they did with the articles of war for the Iraq War. Just enough to say "but we told you," escape clause, without having to fully admit they only told half the truth.

    Now we know for a fact the Republican Fascists have not only ruined our economy with their deregulatory free-market thuggery, they dragged us into two (2) wars and destroyed our international reputation with their torture.

    Einstein once said: "The only difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has an upper limit". The Republican Fascists have proven there is no upper limit to their ignorance, their stupidity and their thuggery.

    April 23, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. Get Well Soon GOP

    This is why Wright was saying what he was saying. Seems like Wright was right. No No No, not god bless american, but ...
    Boner says "and now all of a sudden ..." Wrong Boner, it was wrong then and it is wrong now.

    April 23, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. Veteran in Kansas

    The question is how do we deal with this dark period of American history, confront it as we would expect other nations to do if it were theirs, or attempt to pretend that it never occurred and hope that no one in the international community would take action against individual they beleive committed human rights violations and committed crimes against international law.

    April 23, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Kurt C.

    Pelosi, you're nothing but a lowlife liar. You Democrats were happy to sign off on this stuff when it was saving lives, but when a true blue liberal took office and started talking about prosecuting people, you go running and whining you knew nothing about it.

    Count me as unsurprised that Pelosi is CHA on this. She's nothing but a congenital liar.

    The Culture of Corruption is back and Pelosi is the leader.

    April 23, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Mich

    You are telling me that several DEMS. knew about it back in 2002. They don't read bills, and they lie about what they knew at the time. Come on people when we elect these people to washington they should be doing their job better then this.

    April 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Mari( maybe one of my comments will be posted)

    It should be heating up! Professor Jonathan Turley, Constitutional Law professor, says that we, DIMINISH OUR NATION, and ALL it stands for when we allow Bush/Cheney to get away with torturing our prisoners.

    I for one, will continue to speak out, and to demand that Bush/Cheney be tired for war crimes!

    Come on CNN, you need to do a special on what the torture of prisoners by Bush/Cheney, its up to the Free Press to bring these horrors to the attention of the American people!

    April 23, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Why are the details coming out now and not before", asks John Boehner? Let's start with Dick (aka- I didn't do anything wrong- Nixon) Cheney and work down the list from there. It was done on a Republican watch, with a Republican Congress, being led by a Republican Administration.

    April 23, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. Jon

    Peolsi is a liar and now she wants to crush any ethics probes of democrats while calling for which hunts on republicans. I guess, "we won" means we will keep absolute power one piece at a time.

    April 23, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    Poor Obama. This may take all the attention away from his agenda.
    He needs to take a firm stand one way or another on prosecuting Bush higherups, not this hinting bs. Otherwise, he will look worse and worse and he tries to play the middle ground, which will only raise the rhetoric. Too bad he didn't have more experience coming into the office.
    Economy? What economy? What is BO going to do about Bush will be what is heard.

    April 23, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. Scott AZ

    Let's publish the names of the democrats that signed off on the use of waterboarding, ought to be an interesting list.

    April 23, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. Jimmy the Greek

    Will Holder go after House and Senate Democrats who signed off on the interrogation of these terrorists??

    No, he'll be too big of a .... oh what's that word Holder likes to use??... COWARD.

    April 23, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. John

    Politics of torture?

    The bad monkeys from years of Republican rule are flying home to roost.

    April 23, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. jaye

    We suspected Cheney was involved in the torture, and now we know positively. Why elese is he and the republicans saying torture is okay.
    They're a disgusting bunch and should be in jail.

    April 23, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Alfred E. Neumann

    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."

    And then speaker Pelosi nose grew by a foot. She knew and there is proof waiting that shows that she knew.

    April 23, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. arithmetic is liberal

    The seeds have been planted.
    If this is prosecuted, it needs to be done right.
    And 'right' usually means 'patience' in such matters.

    April 23, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. Tim

    Well then Ms. Pelosi, I assume your words mean that you would have waited until a crime was committed before you objected to a crime that you new may be commited.

    These people really are the laughingstock of the country, all by the way thanks to Obama's lack of insight.

    April 23, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. Rebekah

    How is it that anyone can think torture is a good idea? If another country tortured any one of Americas citizens suspected of committing a crime our citizens would be up in arms about it. We have become the country of "do what I say not what I do"

    April 23, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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