May 8th, 2009
04:05 PM ET
11 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

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

Filed under: CIA • Jane Harman • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. NObama is our downfall

    "racist GOP trying to pin an italian!" -Sniffet

    You get a 10 out of 10 for intended humor! I'm sure you have plenty of libtards thinking to themselves that the GOP really is going after an Italian.

    Aren't Liberals cute?

    May 8, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  2. just truth

    who really believes this woman?

    May 8, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. A Democrat

    Go Away CROOK and take Harry with you also. Both of you are the WORST OF THE WORST. Obama should replace you. You are a crook and the thought of you being in line for the Presidency is very disturbing. Do AMERICA a favor and resign!!!!

    May 8, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Steve Gee

    Who votes for her? She is a pompous liberal, and now a proven liar.

    May 8, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. sickofthelibs

    Where is the outcry from the left to try Nancy Pelosi as a war criminal? I love Squigman's obvious party first attitude. Newsflash...stop the hypocrisy.

    May 8, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. Gary

    She is lying and she knows it!

    May 8, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. Is it 2013 yet?

    Wow, so far only two Liberal apologists sticking up for her, sorry apologists of all that is Liberal, there ARE MORE that knew of, knew about and either asked if we needed to do more OR SAID NOTHING when they were told.

    Guess what Pelosi, if you had a modicum of guts and told the truth that you knew and thought it was the right thing to do, I WOULD THANK YOU FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING.

    It saved lives, it is in the OLD memo's that there were THREE people, all high level TERRORISTS that laughed at us and our methods, so after they got waterboarded with a DOCTOR present they changed their tune and gave info that saved LIVES in NY and Cally and gave us better insight into what the TERRORISTS were doing and that SAVED LIVES of AMERICANS. FACT, it is in the memo's that Obambi read, but won't release, because it would again show the fraud that he is.

    Wake up AMERICA your being hoodwinked.

    May 8, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Debra Austin, Texas

    This is just another cynical Rethuglican strategy to change the subject which is who authorized these techniques. It is not who knew about them but who had the power to make them happen. This falls on the neck of Bush and Cheney and those who enabled this to happen. Typical Rethuglican "accountability". I don't know how any American could ever trust a Rethuglican ever again.

    May 8, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    Someone at the briefing mentioned "enhanced interrogation techniques" and the Speaker had zero interest in asking what that meant?

    Guess the botox has blown her brains out of her head.

    May 8, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. phoenix86

    Dear Ellie in MD:

    Lay of the drugs lady!

    May 8, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. buster

    Another case of selective hearing......similar to Obama sitting in a Church for 20 years without being aware of the sermons...either in content or in attitude............

    May 8, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. RR

    This is the same person who said she did not know about Rep Harman being wiretapped, then reversed course 24 hours later and said she did.

    Liar, liar, pants on fire!

    May 8, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. Jenn, Philadelphia

    If the Democrats want to prosecute those responsible for torture or allowing torture, they should pack their toothbrushes now. They also signed off on its use by their inaction. By failing to ask the proper questions, if any at all, they allowed it to happen and are just as responsible. They had better be careful what they ask for.

    May 8, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. stupidity

    Squigman May 8th, 2009 4:13 pm ET

    Who cares if she was told or not. The fact remains, Cheney and Bush allowed it to happen. The republican party, would be well advised not to attempt to spread blame for their mistakes. Bush and Cheney, are the mistakes made by the republican(s).

    No,the fact remains that Democrats are vilifying Republicans for this while Democrats were fully aware what was happening. Ever heard of the pot calling the waterboard black?

    May 8, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Kurt C.

    Pelosi isn't guilty, because it really wasn't torture. We've been telling you doofus liberals that for several months. She voted yes on doing waterboarding because it isn't illegal.

    And I have to laugh at people who claim the CIA did this because they are Bush political hacks. Do you even know anything? The CIA was decidedly anti-Bush administration for 8 years. The Wilson-Plame lies were concoted by CIA people past and present.

    Bill B from Stratford, you are just a pathetic liberal. You are a scumbag, sir. Same for you, Ellie in MD. You are an idiot. Bane Urinen, you are an idiot, also. They aren't war crimes. Please educate yourself. Squigman, no one is trying to spread the blame. It wasn't torture, the senate voted on that and voted that it wasn't. The reason this is going on is because Pelosi is a pathetic liar and has now been caught in that lie.

    All this has done is prove that this was a witch hunt from the start and now Obama wil back off the idiotic threat of prosecuting anyone. It doesn't matter, though, because they are in the process of ruining those lawyers' careers instead. Just pathetic. I wish the Republicans played as dirty as scumbag Democrats when the Reps are in power.

    May 8, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. The Death of America by Obama

    I pray everyday this witch ends up in Forest Lawn. This is really where she needs to be.

    May 8, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. AndyL

    Have a full investigation and make she (Pelosi) and Harry Reid face the same war criminal charges as people want for Bush\Cheney.

    May 8, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Rick

    Perhaps she was there, just not paying attention.

    May 8, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. bj, Texas

    Why doesn't she testify before congress under oath? If this was a Republican the libs would've already called hearings to railroad someone into perjury as with the valerie plume case.

    May 8, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. AndyL

    That woman is so discusting I bet neither Bill Clinton nor John Edwards would sleep with her!

    May 8, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |

    Seems to Me Republicans are trying to Pass the Buck off to Pelosi TO COVER THEIR OWN PATHETIC A–ES Dick Cheney is definatley Involed in this new allegation

    May 8, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. Glennis

    Just another power hungry, rise to the top at all costs lying, cheating, conniving politician. And to make it worse, a San Francisco Democratic lying, cheating, conniving politician. Go away, Nancy.

    May 8, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |

    You right wingers crack me up First you say Bush and Cheney did not torture What they did Kept us safe so why the Pelosi Bashing? You should be ok with this right wingers Just like your Ok with Bush and Cheney cant Have it both ways you people are Laughable!

    May 8, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. Dave from WI

    The biggest mistake a voter can make is to be ignorant of what a politician is.

    A person who says what needs to be said to get into office.
    A person who blames the other party for all that is wrong with the govt.
    A person who claims their party is better for the people they represent than the other party.
    A person who's job is to get into office and once there STAY in office by getting reelected.
    A person who has his OWN political best interest in mind BUT those they represents interests are a DISTANT second (sometimes those interests coincide but not often)

    Politics has been this way for many generations and REMAINS this way.

    To have any other image of a politician is delusional and has no historical evidence.

    Ms Pelosi is learning the hazard and danger of transparency in govt, most people will not like what they see.

    The more things change.... the more they stay the same.

    May 8, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. seebofubar

    Ellie, what planet are you on? Did you have LSD for breakfast?

    May 8, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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