May 8th, 2009
04:05 PM ET
5 years ago

Pelosi disputes suggestion she was told waterboarding used

 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is disputing a CIA account sent to Congress that raises questions about her insistence she was never told explicitly that waterboarding had been used on terrorist suspects.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is disputing a CIA account sent to Congress that raises questions about her insistence she was never told explicitly that waterboarding had been used on terrorist suspects.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is disputing a CIA account sent to Congress that raises questions about her insistence she was never told explicitly that waterboarding had been used on terrorist suspects.

The CIA-prepared memo, provided to CNN by Republican sources, lists 40 briefings for members of Congress from September 2002 to March 2009. The first briefing on the list - on September 4, 2002 - was for then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss and Pelosi, then the ranking Democrat on the committee.

The subject of the briefing is listed as EITs, or enhanced interrogation techniques, "including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of the particular EITs that had been employed."

CIA Director Leon Panetta, in cover letters sent with the memo to the House and Senate Intelligence committees, says the information "is drawn from the past files of the CIA and represents MFR (memorandum for the record) completed at the time and notes that summarized the best recollections of those individuals. In the end, you and the committee will have to determine what actually happened."

Last month, Pelosi told reporters that she was told about the legal justification for the interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, but was never told the controversial technique had been used on any detainees.

"We were not - I repeat - were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used."

In a statement issued Friday, Pelosi said: "Of the 40 CIA briefings to Congress reported recently in the press, I was only briefed once, on September 4, 2002, as I have previously stated.

"As I said in my statement of December 9, 2007:

"'I was briefed on interrogation techniques the administration was considering using in the future. The administration advised that legal counsel for both the CIA and the Department of Justice had concluded that the techniques were legal.'

"I had no further briefings on the techniques.

"My understanding of the briefing I received is consistent with the description that CIA General Counsel Scott Muller provided to Congresswoman Jane Harman in a letter dated February 28, 2003, which states:

"'As we informed both you and the leadership of the Intelligence Committees last September, a number of executive branch lawyers including lawyers from the Department of Justice participated in the determination that, in the appropriate circumstances, the use of these techniques is fully consistent with U.S. law.'

"As reported in the press, a cover letter from CIA Director Panetta accompanying the briefings memo released this week concedes that the descriptions provided by the CIA may not be accurate."

However, a CIA spokesman said, "great care was taken with the list not to go beyond what the records themselves say."

A recently declassified Justice Department memo from 2005 said, "The CIA used the waterboard 'at least 83 times during August 2002' in the interrogation of Zubaydah." That was before the September Pelosi-Goss briefing.

Whether Pelosi knew that waterboarding had been used or was told only it had been approved for use, she did not raise any objection at the time about the technique.

Rep. Harman, D-California, who took over Pelosi's position on the Intelligence Committee, did write a letter in February 2003, shortly after she was briefed, raising objections about the legality of the enhanced interrogation techniques.

The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, requested detailed information on congressional briefings about interrogation methods. The Senate and House Intelligence committees as well as
the leadership of the Senate and House were given copies of the CIA-produced
chronology.

–CNN Sr. Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report


Filed under: CIA • Jane Harman • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. ANDREWSTL

    i think the gop is a laughing stock.
    but i do think nancy leatherface holds tis country back.

    go to the botox museum nancy and please resign.

    i am a democrat and feel that way.

    do the right thing

    May 8, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. U.S. Common Sense

    Sorry Nancy. You were caught with your hand in the cookie jar. Just fess up and get over yourself.

    May 8, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. elliott

    Ah, she's a liberal.....can't believe what she says anyway...

    May 8, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. Chris

    Some time back we were commenting on one of our illustrious female Democratic leaders saying how wrong it was that one of our agencies had wire tapped HER conversations (even though she was doing something wrong). Now it seems that we should be taping, wire tapping, videoing, or otherwise watching every move that ANY of these people make if we want the TRUTH! If they are right, then no harm in these actions but if they are wrong --- maybe, just maybe we can bring them to justice.

    May 8, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  5. Ken from missouri

    If you believe her I have some coins I would like to sell to you , she knew all along and she waited till the torture to take place so she could blame it on the bush presidency at election time.

    May 8, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  6. Allen in Hartwell GA

    My gut reaction is to doubt anything coming from the CIA that would make the CIA look good.

    May 8, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  7. rob

    This whole controversy about "Waterboarding" was and still is being used as a political weapon by the Dems to demonize Bush and Republicans any way they can. The trully digusting thing is that they knew at the time but they continue to demonize it at the risk of weakening our security. I truely hope that the public will see Ms. pelosi for what she is and punish her and the other complicit Dems at the polls.

    Nov. 2, 2010 can't come fast enough, but in the mean time we must as a country slow this frenzy of hatred and

    May 8, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. Larry S

    It is so amazing . . . the responses that try to blame others for Pelosi's lies. There does seem to be a common thread between certian liberals of the need to always blame others for their actions. It is the same we see out of small children not wanting to accept responsibilitiy for their own actions.

    May 8, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  9. Tom L.

    Either she is a liar or completely incompetent. Take your pick...

    May 8, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  10. Bane Unreinen

    I think most people are missing a simple point:

    Have a special prosecutor complete a detailed and intensive investigation and either exonerate or charge people for these crimes.

    If nothing was wrong, then nobody will face charges and we move on.

    If things do go wrong, people will face the consequences of their choices and we move on.

    May 8, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  11. J in NJ

    Notice what Nazi pelosi is saying. Nazi did not say she was not told, she said she was not told that these "methods were used". While she may be telling the truth why on earth why there be a meeting with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss and Nazi Pelosi, who was then the ranking Democrat on the committee just to say hey guys and gals here are a few techniques in our book. If you were told about a technicque you can rest assured it was with the implication that it would or cold be used. Nazi you are a liar liar pants on fire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 8, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  12. JR

    I am a Democrat.... this lady is the worse thing we have going for us. She is nasty and a liar and we need her out so we can move forward! How can voters anywhere be so naive? And how can we as Democrats not demand more from the rest of our leadership to move her out as Speaker of the House and appoint someone that more American's can trust and respect. The Republicans messed up on issues like this. WE were down and out 4 years ago too. Let us not forget how fast things can change if people don't stand up against this type of leadership

    May 8, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  13. Matt

    Lies come too easily to Nancy. Whether you agree with the interrogation techniques or not, she needs to go.

    Come on San Fran, vote a normal person in for once.

    (And are you serious. Why are posters still blaming Bush for everything. PELOSI WAS IN THE MEETINGS).

    May 8, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. joe m

    ok. so lets get those calls for prosecution now. pelosi is the prime example of a politician who will say anything, do anything, and will trade anything for her staying and gaining more power. i've always said that for the president his greatest problem is not the republicans, but members of his own party, especially pelosi and reid.

    May 8, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. truthsayer

    This is the GOP and the talking heads inside the beltway enabled by the corporate media trying to take attention away from the real criminals, Bush Cheney, et al

    May 8, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. carla morin

    Pelosi should resign immediately!!! She wants everyone else to be accountable for their mistakes, now it is her turn! She claims she did not know, anyone that stupid does not deserve one of the top positions in the US.

    May 8, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  17. Texas Teacher

    And just what good would it have done her to try to do anything about it? Bush/Cheney did exactly what they wanted to do... and that was it. It did not matter to them what anyone else thought. And the Republicans had the entire Congress... they carried absolutely nothing for what the Dems thought or wanted.... and Obama needs to remember that!

    May 8, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  18. Retired US Army Officer - Kansas

    As much as I dislike Pelosi, I distrust any attempts by the CIA and Republicans to cover up and gain justification of the actions by proclaiming open knowledge.

    I seem to recall the intelligence commintees complaining that they were only getting need to know breifings from the administration and intelligence officials.

    First off I would like to know how CIA memos came into the hands of a Republican source? I have a real problem if we are going to have indivduals start releasing memos from our intelligence community to get back at critics. So before folks start jumping up and down lets start asking questions. I refuse to permit another abuse of the intelligence community to discredit anyone else.

    May 8, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  19. zgomer

    Piglosi is aliar and a fake! typical politician, always "denies" anything.

    May 8, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  20. GOP Supporter

    Typical. this is the same one that criticizes the auto industry for corporate jet use when she flies WEEKLY from CA to Wash for her job. And by the way, flies a bigger jet because she doesn't want to stop for fuel!!! We have some people in Washington really looking out for us, don't we? Dems for the working man?? BS!!

    May 8, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  21. Linda

    Well here's the latest scoop on this issue:

    "House speaker amends claim that she was not told about interrogation methods after records show she was briefed."

    Like I said in a previous post, why vote these untrustworthy folks in? An uneducated, honest, hardworking, common home-maker would make wiser decisions, by far.

    May 8, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  22. jrubin, long beach, ca

    Cheney had his house taken off Google Earth! Cheney said his office was neither in the Executive branch nor the Legislative branch and outed a CIA agent in time of war to protect their secrets.

    There's no way they were telling Dems what they were actually up to.

    May 8, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  23. Simmy

    Misery likes company......Republicans are doing what they do best - short circuiting the truth.....I believe Spkr. Pelosi when she says she was told about the intentions to torture, but the Bush administration did not follow through and report back to her about the specifics - mainly waterboarding......Some dislike her because she is outspoken and not easily intimidated........Some men have a problem with her persona and her position......

    May 8, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. ben

    This torture stuff has come about soley because of Democrat political hype. Just as Hillary and Kerry were voting for the war in 2002, Nancy liked to get her feet wet as well. Funny how the masses have been missing this over and over all because Bush talks like a Texan.lol No one would admit that though, no.lol

    May 8, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  25. sandra

    Liar!! Either that or senile and just "forgot". She has a "convenient" memory.

    May 8, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
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