May 10th, 2009
07:19 PM ET
14 years ago

Gingrich: Pelosi not truthful about waterboarding issue

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday that Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the current Democratic House Speaker, has a lot of explaining to do about her knowledge of the CIA's use of waterboarding."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has denied she was ever told explicitly that waterboarding had been used on terrorist suspects, "has a lot of explaining to do," former Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday.

Gingrich, who held the House post from 1995 to 1999, said Pelosi keeps changing her statements on how much she knew about the practice and when.

In the interest of national security, "she [Pelosi] has a responsibility to say nothing or tell the truth," he told "Fox News Sunday." "In this case, it's clear she wasn't telling the truth."

A CIA memo provided to CNN by Republican sources lists 40 briefings for members of Congress from September 2002 to March 2009.

The first briefing - 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," a suspected al Qaeda leader imprisoned at U.S. facilities in Guantanamo Bay.

One of those techniques is waterboarding, which simulates drowning and which has been described by critics as torture.

Initially, Pelosi said she had not been briefed on EITs, according to the memo provided to CNN by Republican sources.

However, a recently declassified Justice Department memo from 2005 says, "The CIA used the waterboard 'at least 83 times during August 2002' in the interrogation of Zubaydah."

That was before the September 4 Pelosi-Goss briefing.

Pelosi released a statement in December 2007 that said, "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."

Last month, Pelosi told reporters she was told about the legal justification for the interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, but was never told the 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," she said Friday.

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."

Filed under: Nancy Pelosi • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Democritic

    Who cares if it was Newt or anyone else recognizing that Pelosi knew about waterboarding? The issue is that she knew and denied it. That is the disgrace that she acts as if she didn't know. What else will come out in time? The real problem is that there are certain left wing members that will not admit that someone in their party is dishonest know matter how much proof is supplied.

    May 10, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  2. Allan

    So, Newt, are you saying that Nancy Pelosi should have done something to stop torture from being used?

    Should she have violated her oaths of secrecy? Wouldn't you have called for her execution as a traitor if she had done so?

    May 10, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. Impeach Pelosi

    why can't just all agree that Nancy Pelosi is a menance to this country's homeland security, economic health, andhonesty in government. The person needs to be tossed, She lies; wastes money, and serves no useful purpose in DC

    May 10, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  4. SG

    Why do we not hold Bush and Cheney to a higher standard when they we governing but blame Pelosi when we have a Demacrat as the President. When were the naysayers of waterboarding when Bush was in office. Is this a case of which Democrat voted for waterboarding or do we say torture of any kind is wrong..... unless of course this is a case of pointing fingers and not getting to the bottom of what is right and wrong, especially a country like ours that prides itself on standing up for what is right.

    May 10, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  5. Fitz in Texas

    The way I view Mrs. Pelosi is........if her lips are moving and a noise is coming out of her mouth, then you can bet your last dime there's a real good chance the noise coming from her mouth is a lie.

    May 10, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  6. "change has come to America."

    So Pelosi continues to change her versions.......Well, taking Obama's words about Geithner, we can say: "Those are innocent mistakes."

    May 10, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  7. jimmy-ohio

    i think pelosi does need to go ,along with reid boehner and mcconnel,,,it is obvious none of them care about the good of the country,,,that said whether newt is telling the truth or not there is one fact that everyone is overlooking,,,,THESE BRIEFINGS WERE CLASSIFIED !!!! if she does say what happened the republicans would want her tried for trason for talking about classified material

    May 10, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  8. jv

    Change we can all believe in. Pelosi is good about changing.

    May 10, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  9. ATR

    Once again the Republicans are trying to deflect. No proof Nancy knew about the torture and even if she did, was she the commander in chief or was Cheney (whoops, I mean Bush)?

    May 10, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  10. Ken in NC

    I wouldn't give you a hill of beans for either of them. One is irrevelant and the other one is a liar. Go figure.

    May 10, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  11. Byron

    does it matter if she knew? The president made a decision... saying you're the decision maker and then try to blame it on everyone around you is unprofessional. But this is Bush and the republicans, what did you expect?

    May 10, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  12. GuyInVA

    Speaker Pelosi's honesty (or lack of it if Mr. Gingrich is right), while directly related to Bush/Cheney policies, is not dependent on Bush or Cheney. She was either briefed or not. She is either being honest or dishonest. Quit your whining. You are rid of Bush and Cheney. This is about Speaker Pelosi. Does every negative story about someone from the left have to ultimately end up with people trashing the previous administration?

    May 10, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  13. gail

    This is just a case of trying to turn the attention from the fact that the President Bush signed off on this torture and VP Cheney admitted as much today. This is an attempt to muddy the waters. The fact that each on of these men that are trying to go after the Speaker of the House and proven liars does nothing to ensure their truthfulness now in this matter. Newt has broken his marriage vows twice both times due to affairs. Bush and Cheney lied us into war. Choice between them and Nancy . I choose Nancy Pelosi. Every time!

    May 10, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  14. blane

    Newt who? It is funny how these historical republicans want the microphone to stay in office. Let's talk about honesty Newt. How about your previous affairs with your former wives and the nerve of you to have a website with your current wife (the one you cheated with during clinton years) talk about change. Republicans talk about change honesty, integrity, and values when it suits there needs.....when they get caught.......oh let me consult with my spiratual leader and forget. Give me a break.

    May 10, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  15. Rhonda

    OK. Newt is a cheat and everybody hates Bush & Cheney. It does not matter. There is an official paper trail. Pelosi knew and she went along with it. Now she has lied about it. So direct your hate towards her also. It's OK to shoot 3 pirates in the head to save one man, but it is not OK to waterboard someone to save thousands. It's OK to send drones in to kill innocent civilians, but a few seconds of waterboarding is unacceptable. Go figure.

    May 10, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  16. Jonathan

    I am scared for this country. All this story is reporting about is Polosi not telling the truth but the far left on this blog would rather talk bad about Gingrich then accept the fact that she lied. These are the sme people that voted for BO without knowing anything about him.

    May 10, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  17. sandee in Portland

    I have no respect for Nancy Pelosi. She's a power hungry, lying politician who would generate more respect if she just stood up and said she knew about it and approved it, but after time changed her mind about the usefulness of the torture and the inhumanity of it. To outright lie and say she didn't know is just politics as usual, until they get caught in a lie.

    May 10, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  18. Bill

    Yes and if the Soeaker would of said anything the Bush/Cheney storm troopers would of accused her of being a Traitor too. Let's not get ahead of ourselves it was the Former President and Vice President who ordered this.

    May 10, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  19. Israel's the Issue

    No doubt it's bipartisan. No doubt some Democrats have their fingerprints on this as well.

    Torture-Gate needs to be seen in the context of 9-11 . . . which resulted from antagonism between America and the Muslim world . . . which is rooted in American support for Israel. Leaders from both sides of the aisle have done the bidding of the Israeli government and its lobbing forces in the U.S.

    May 10, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  20. MatthewDetroit

    Pelosi is a LIAR.
    First and foremost it is NOT torcher.
    Second, that broad knew about it and nodded.
    She lies.
    She has also lied about her congressional mate who made deals with the attorney general over israeli secrets stolen...
    Liars, Liars, Liars.

    May 10, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  21. Aaron

    Pot, kettle, black. I don't care much for Pelosi, but what does Newt know about telling the truth? Maybe someone should poll his ex-wives!

    May 10, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  22. joeshmo

    Many of you don't seem to get it. What Pelosi knew, and how she responded to what she knew, is VERY MUCH relevant. If she stood by and did nothing while our government carried out illegal acts, she is guilty of conspiracy. We executed people at the Nuremberg and Tokyo War Crimes Tribunals for more peripheral involvement in crafting government policy.

    So no, focusing on Pelosi is not a distraction – rather, it's exposing her for the naked political opportunist she is – and it underscores just how politicized this whole process has become. If Yoo, Bybee and crew will face prosecution, so should she.

    May 10, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  23. Billy J

    Maybe this will be a chance for the Democratic Party to get Pelosi out of the Speaker job and give it to someone a little more substantial and interested in good governance. I don't want her to lose her seniority or the approval of her constituents. I just don't think she is a good choice for Speaker....

    May 10, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  24. John G.

    I am sorry. I am a registered independent, but voted democratic in the last election....but on this issue I must say that I thin Newt is right and I agree with him. Speaker Pelosi has overstepped her bounds.

    May 10, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  25. skyhawkdriver

    Nancy pelosi is just following that years old tradition of members of congress"hear no evil..see no evil..speak no evil"..the fact that she continues to be re-elected makes me wonder about her constituents..of course all she has to do is jump onboard her taxpayer provided jet and run back to california and hide from reality

    May 11, 2009 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
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