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. Why are her pants on fire?

    In her defense, the Speaker thought the CIA was referring to a slide at the water park.

    May 10, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. dace

    We are supposed the believe one of the biggest liars in politics – Gingrich – give us a break you hate spewing liar that is grabbing at any camera you open your mouth in front of. Mr contract on America is doing nothing more than preparing a 2012 presidential run – what a joke!

    May 10, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Proud DHS radical

    "In the interest of national security, "she [Pelosi] has a responsibility to say nothing or tell the truth,"

    Wait a minute she can't! she left the country. Maybe she should try being the speaker for the Iraqi Parliament, she would be doing us a favor.

    May 10, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. Pam

    The he said,,she said is getting old. Does anyone in Washington take responsibility for their own actions? Gingrich is another one who has risen from the ashes. Please just go away! As for "Rush"..I am so sick of his vicious talking..Please just go away too!

    May 10, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. James of Colorado

    I find it really ironic that CNN often has to quote the right-wingnuts from some FOX show. These guys won't accept invitations to other networks, CNN included, where their accusations might actually be challenged. Why oh why CNN do you get snookered into this lame trap every time. You're promoting their propaganda and you don't even know it. Wise up and please do your own reporting next time.

    May 10, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. Bud,

    What do you expect from an habitual and arrogat liar?

    May 10, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. Bud,

    What do you expect to hear from an arrogant, two-faced liar? She is only acting the only way she knows how to act when caught.....lie.

    May 10, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. bk

    Newt should be the president.

    May 10, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. mississippi librarian

    This person cannot even manage his own personal life, why is he continuing ot comment on political matters? He needs to go home and try to manage his own life, which is filled with lies and deception. Gingrich you are a washed up politician who is no longer relevant.

    May 10, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. A.P. Fremont, California

    Mr. Gingrich,
    The GOP has claimed waterboarding was legal and more efficient up to present day, based on the Bush administration's legal opinions that have yet been determined legally valid. If Nancy pelosi was briefed at a time when legal orders existed for the torture...her knowing or not knowing by briefing becomes irrelevant...because nothing could have been done by her without a dissenting legal reversal of that decision, at that moment in time. And everybody knows the Bush Administration wasn't legally challenging their own decisions in Court at that time. Further, if those legal decisions really were valid, as the GOP claims, because of increased efficiency and results....why leak the briefings to the press about Nancy pelosi's briefing over what the GOP already ruled was legal??? The GOP is playing a game that their losing....and now their looking to take others down with them. Only Nancy pelosi knowing or not knowing the legalities of an undecided decision become irrelevant to the party of irrelevancy.

    May 10, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. BILL, WI

    By her own admission she was informed of a terrorist being waterboarded. That is if all of the information on techniques used were made available in the Sep 4, 2002 meeting.

    May 10, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. Liberal and Proud of It dot com

    I cannot recall a position taken by Pelosi that I could classify as courageous. I can't see the talent in our current Speaker that her colleagues must see. I would prefer to select a new Speaker by drawing lots than keep this one. I think our chances of ending up with a more capable person are pretty good.

    May 10, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Of course Pelosi's lying–she's a politician, isn't she?

    May 10, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. Donnygull

    And Gingrich has a lot of explaining to me and the rest of the country as to why he matters at all. Yet another little fat white rich man that wants to live in Federalist splendour while the rest of us serve him mint juleps under stately live oaks.

    May 10, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. dawn

    gee gindrich, are you for or against torture because your dick cheney is for torture and he should go to jail I guess for telling our government servants to break the law.

    May 10, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. Sam I Am

    This comment from a guy who was busted for ethics violations. And we're listening to this old fart because.....?

    May 10, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. Dickie

    I'm missing the point of this "controversy," I think. A crime is not a crime if someone tells Nancy Pelosi about it? Given that Nancy Pelosi has approval ratings way down in the neighborhood of poison ivy, psoriasis, and Dick Cheney, does anyone think Nancy Pelosi's foreknowledge makes torture not a war crime somehow?

    May 10, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. fred

    this is coming from who. newt we all have not forgot about your forthcoming on all issues your were involved in.

    May 10, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. Andres

    I stopped reading after: Gingrich says . . . Everything that always follows that introduction is sheer nonsense. The GOP has a major problem when Newt is the face of the party. He is one of the most divisive and partisan people in all of politics. Hey, GOP keep these fossils coming back and you guarantee that Democrats will keep control of the White House and Congress!

    May 10, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. Liar, liar....

    pants on fire. Nancy--you bad.

    May 10, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. Mike

    Does this really matter if she knew about it or not? You'd think that it would be a lot more productive to punish the people who actually authorized this torture, not try to attack every potential political bystander.

    May 10, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. sam adams

    not only should she not have been elected to the house, she should never have been elected speaker; she serves only in her own interests and is a pure politician that is blocking the recovery of our Republic...

    May 10, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. Marge

    Hot diggty dog.....we are supposed to believe any thing Newt says. Correct me if I am wrong but isn't he the guy who denied denied and denied that he was diverting money illegally from a school he was allowed to even have in the first place.

    And he wants people to believe him. And by the way....tell me this what makes republicans of all people experts on whether or not people are telling the truth when all we have had from them in the past is lies, lies, lies. Think torture for just one. Think wiretapping for another...give me a break. Why is this guy even getting news time.

    May 10, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. Michael

    The holier than thou serial philanderer who has multiple affairs, obviously an adroit lair to keep them secret, tells his cancer ridden wife at her hospital bedside that he is going to divorce her and within days of the divorce remarries. This is the scumbag who calls Nancy Polosi a liar? The guy who goes to the White House with Al Sharpton and smooth talks the President in person then goes on FOX News and bad mouths him calls Nancy Polosi a liar. I call him a Republican which is interchangeable with the word liar.

    May 10, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. Ken

    this women can not be trusted. She will lie and put anyone down just to obtain more power. Politicians like her have to go!

    May 10, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
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