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. Agnes

    I am a progressive but I do believe that Pelosi is not being truthful on this. She looks bad either way: denying she wasn't informed or being the impotent leader that she is by knowing about this and giving Bush and his cabal a free pass. Failed leadership.

    May 10, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. Saint Genesius

    If there is nothing wrong with waterboarding, as Republicans maintain, why is Pelosi under any obligation to say anything? I agree she should say what she knew and when, but conservatives like Gingrich, can't have it both ways. If it was nothing, then she really isn't obligated to say anything. If she should "tell the truth," as Gingrich says, then it must have been something negative and the GOP wants to tar her with that brush. Republicans, hypocrites to the end.

    May 10, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. I used to like CNN but not anymore!

    " GOP Not Truthful About Anything Say's America"

    May 10, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  4. Donnygull

    This coming from Mr. family values himself. Tells us puffy Newt, were you honest with your wife about your affair while you were at the time impeaching Clinton for the same thing? This man makes my skin crawl the same way that Delay, Barbour, Rove, and all other priveledged little loudmouth frat boys from the south do.

    May 10, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Tom Wilson

    In my opinion, it has been established beyond a reasonable doubt that Pelosi is a total, unmitigated liar, even by Congressional standards. That being the case, she would be obligated to be placed under oath whenever and where ever she speaks, on an subject.

    May 10, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. nick

    If you were not at those briefings yourself Mr. Gingrich, by what right do you have to call our Speaker of the House a lier?

    May 10, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. P from CA

    Newt is looking for a platform. He's just more of the GOP. His time has come and gone.

    May 10, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. jas

    I am discouraged that Pelosi lied to us.

    May 10, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. riteaidbob

    And the MSM with their liberal heads deep up the colon of the Democrat party will just continue to ignore Nancy's lies.

    May 10, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. Annie

    This coming from "Mr. Truth" himself.

    May 10, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. Paul

    So, the Republican defense of torture rests on the fact that a few Democrats might have known about it, but there's no actual evidence to support this? Any chance of them actually dealing with the torture authorized by the Republicans, or are we just going to get more of these distractions? I suspect the latter.

    May 10, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. Independent

    And we are suppose to believe him, the man of the truth...HA!!!!!

    May 10, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Sean

    I think it is pretty clear Pelosi is being evasive when questioned about EITs. Perhaps this will blow up on her similar to the banking crisis on Chris Dodd. I personally wouldn't be all that disappointed if that happened. Her views are too divisive to be the Speaker of the House. We need a Democrat that is more mainstream if we are going to see any bipartisan work done in the House.

    May 10, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. steve fielder

    Get serious, Newt. Nancy Pelosi "has a lot of explaining to do"!?! I think the people who signed off on legalized TORTURE need to explain THEIR actions. Hopefully, that will occur in a courtroom during a criminal trial.

    May 10, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. NotNowMooky

    If he thinks she is guilty of something then what does Newt think the consequences should be? That would be interesting because it would tell us what Cheney/Bush/Rummy/Yoo should face.

    How about it Newt?

    May 10, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. Jon

    Somene needs to explain to The Newt that the people with the "explaining to do" are the ones who ORDERED the torture, at the top–Gonzalez, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush. What Pelosi was told by others is IRREVELANT.

    May 10, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. wishing

    This man is dishonest and disloyal, who cares what he says?

    May 10, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. jennifer

    And Newt Gingrich should knows, after all he's a master of deception.. ask his first or was it his second wife. Hey ask all of them how truthful they think he is.

    Before the Repugs start complaining I also think Pelosi should be replaced as speaker of the house.

    May 10, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Alan

    Just like every other politician (Republican or Democrat), she's a filthy liar. If she get's re-elected, I will lose all of my respect for voters in her district...and CA in general (they keep voting in idiots like Pelosi, Harman, and Feinstein). There's no excuse for them to be re-elected to office knowing how corrupt these officials are.

    Until we start throwing incumbents from both parties out of office and into prison, we're not going to see any positive changes in this country.

    May 10, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. Bob

    Yes, Mr. Honesty, New Gingrich, is evidently going to try to hold Ms. Pelosi to a standard he himself has never considered worth achieving. The pot is certainly calling the kettle black here.

    Gingrich, go find a real live issue of your own. And some principles, while you're at it.

    May 10, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. KK

    Get with it Newt. The briefings Pelosi attended can not be discussed with ANYONE. Your just shooting out words instead of speaking the truth. I call it sensationalism.

    May 10, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. smiff

    Does this count the same as blaspheming Obama? Will it really matter in this "let them eat cake" society?

    May 10, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. Mike

    He's another one who should just go away.


    May 10, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Mark

    Why do we even care what "Mr. Newt" thinks? Has someone appointed him the Grand Inquisitor? He's not even in office....
    My guess is he's grooming himself to be the Repuglicans savior....yep, he's one place to find credibility.

    May 10, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  25. Tom

    Although I am not a big Nancy Pelosi supporter, I certainly don't feel she has any explaining to do for the torture policy of the Cheney/Rumsfeld/Yoo tenure. I mean this is a policy so messed up it causesd John Ashcroft to throw in the towel!

    It's just Newt being Newt, trying to stay in the limelight until his time to appear "refreshingly relevant" comes back around for the third of fourth decade.

    May 10, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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