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. Stuart

    Pelosi is the one who makes this a story through her costantly changing story and denials. Instead of saying she didn't know about EIT, why doesn't she just say "I was told but couldn't do anything about it?"

    May 10, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. L. Song

    Can we please have news instead of one smear after another from disreputable republicans who have shown themselves to be dishonest and destructive in the extreme? Can we please look at this photo of Gingrich – would you believe a word he says? He looks so bitter, cynical and manipulative and his career is full of corruption. He lusts for power, not to help America get on her feet. Gingrich demanding honesty is rich. The republicans have done nothing but lie to us for eight and more years. They wrote the book on lies and now they are trying any angle to mess with Obama's administration. So get off it, CNN, and give us some REAL news, like how Americans have no jobs and are going homeless and we can't afford to educate our kids and the earth is burning up. Get off the bitter lying republican gossip machine. Let it wind itself down and die out like it deserves to do. Let Obama do his job in peace and give us a rest from republican destructiveness and lies.

    May 10, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. Bware

    The point is not whether you like or agree with GOP or it's followers, the point is that the 3rd in line to the Presidency is screaming about the use of waterboarding as a Bush era issue when in fact she headed up the committee that agreed to such things. Just because she is a Dem does not absolve her from fault – the GOP and the Dems both need to be held accountable from January 2009 forward and to stop using the past abuses as a reason to not look at current abuses.

    May 10, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. JM

    WITH all the OTHER PROBLEMS IN OUR COUNTRY AND ECONOMY – I CAN'T BELIEVE THE WATERBOARDING ISSUE IS GETTING SO MUCH ATTENTION FROM CONGRESS. This is pure politics on both sides. Dems should leave this issue alone (it's making them look weak and uncaring about all the people who have died from terrorist's actions and the country doesn't want more time and money spent on this – fix the economy!!! – get people jobs) and Republicans should help the Dems fix the economy and all the other problems we have right now or come up with their own plan. Work together on getting people jobs and fixing our economy, health care, etc.

    May 10, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. Laura

    it's obvious & typical the gop is trying to deter the EIT violation by throwing attention on Pelosi. Newt doesn't seem concerned with the fact that what his party did is in viloation?
    I'm sorry, which is more important? The people who carried out the violation or the person who may or may not have been briefed? HELLO...?

    May 10, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. fielding mellish

    Well you have to admit that Newt has a first hand knowledge about lying and deceit.

    May 10, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. Ted Tartaglia

    Newt, the lizard, should refrain from moralizing until he develops some morals himself. One should have some ethics before expecting others to. Newt should just fade away!

    May 10, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  8. Todd

    Ms Pelosi needs to resign. Its time for accountability in government. Wait, nevermind. The republican version of accountability is to blame lawyers for the ills of the world. Isn't it funny how george w hates lawyers when his lawyers got him the Presidency?

    May 10, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  9. CEL

    This coming from a man who had an affair and lied to cover it up ? He needs to ask the guy in the mirror to start telling the truth. Pelosi may indeed have known, but Newt isn't the one to be pointing out the error of her ways.

    May 10, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  10. dawn

    when is this party gonna wake up? what is it gonna take? Is there any honest republican out there? it's the same old crap. why are they going after Pelosi for something they instituted??? they want answers regarding if Nancy was breifed or not on something they did that was illegal???

    May 10, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  11. alvino

    The people who authorized the torture are the ones who will be convicted, not those who sat in on a meeting where the possibility of extreme interrogation was explained. Contrary to Fox News, the ones to go after are those who interpreted the law based on the needs of the White House.

    May 10, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  12. bill

    i'm not a fan of Newt, but don't dismiss what he says just because you're a Dem. Looks as if Pelosi knew what was going on and is just covering her behind. This is National Security and it's a shame it's so politicized.

    May 10, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  13. volunteer

    The subject is Pelosi's lies and many of the commentators above are condeming Gingrich.

    No wonder Obama was able to lie to so many – with a confused group as noted above

    May 10, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. Ha Ha!

    Sorta like the pot calling the kettle black.

    May 10, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  15. alvino

    Newtie will never be accused of knowing anything.

    May 10, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  16. kd

    Newt who??? Didn't we throw him out already?? Who cares about Newt?? Don't you guys have something better to do than to write a story about what Newt says?? Don't you get it – nobody cares! Nancy Pelosi had nothing to do with these decisions anyhow. Talk to Bush/Cheney/Rumsfield. Nancy could not stand up to them. So to blame her is fruitless. But that is NEWT!! AND NOBODY CARES ABOUT NEWT

    May 10, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  17. Jim K

    "she [Pelosi] has a responsibility to say nothing or tell the truth,"

    Ok, Newt, so – in other words, she either has to say nothing (if she's lying), or tell the truth (if she's not lying).

    Let me remind those who have forgotten, that the Bush administration was the most secretive administration in history (at least as far as I can recall). Therefore, since they very rarely told the truth, by his definition, they were lying most of the time – which is probably true anyway.

    So in a wierd way, his logic makes sense. It's just really strange to hear somebody say something like that.


    May 10, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  18. volunteer

    Pelosi is too typical of what many of these clowns are – lie, distort, etc , just get in power

    May 10, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  19. boudin

    Pelosi is dangerous to this country and is nothing more than a power monger just as the rest of them are

    May 10, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  20. e

    This has nothing to do with who is mad at who. The fact is this. Speaker Pelosi was briefed and because it is, at this time, so unpopular (waterboarding and other forms of interrogation), she is trying to get this political hot potato out of her hands as fast as she can. That is the fact. She was briefed, approved of the techniques and now, like Arlen Specter is doing what she can to ensure she has a job in a year and a half. I hope Californians do the right thing, but I am not counting on it.

    May 10, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  21. lkdawind

    My Dad Taught me 50 years ago to always tell the truth, Its easy to remember, I think All Of Washington should learn that ,Dems, AND Repubs. Admit it everyone she has gotten caught lying!

    May 10, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  22. Marty, Grand Rapids Mi

    Yes, Pelosi failed on the torture issue and also failed on the going to war with Iraq issue. She should be replaced by a democrat with a back bone. Too many politicians are worried about getting re-elected instead of standing up for what is right or their beliefs.

    Newt, note that both of these policy failures were republican initiatives.

    May 10, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  23. linda in AR

    LOL, Hasn't Newt ever heard that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    Why does the record holder for ethics charges in Congress and very questionable if not shameful personal history even have a 'voice' that is credible? No amount of 'alternate' history can erase his own failures.

    Why is he a 'quotable' source?

    May 10, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. Brian

    Pelosi lied!!!!! Democrats who demonized Bush gloss over their own parties dishonesty. That my friend is the definition of hypocrisy. If you are still hanging on to either of these two corrupt organization {RNC or DNC} you are doing your country a great disservice. Cut the strings and lets find some new blood to get this country rolling again.

    May 10, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  25. Diane Callahan

    Why is it left to the Republicans to bring to light the hypocrosy of Pelosi's remarks? Why isn't CNN investigating the difference in the CIA's version and Pelosi's? Does the media think we are dumb enough to believe that when the CIA had a meeting to brief Pelosi on EITs she thought they were talking in abstract terms? I guess if Pelosi was on the House INTELLIGIENCE committee anything is possible.

    May 10, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
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