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. Get Real

    Both Sides Lie all of you haters stop blaming one side.

    May 10, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Alex

    uh oh, I smell bit of DOUBLE standard.

    Newt is sorely mistaken about this since it is HIS party that allowed such practices to occur right here in our country. If anybody should be telling the truth, it should be Republican majority that started this. Don't use Pelosi as a scrapgoat, even though she isn't telling the whole story.

    May 10, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Kimberly

    How about it Newt?

    If you think any guilt is Mr. Pelosi's what should be done? And then if being briefed on classified security goings on – what then do you say about those that crafted, authorized and implemented the EIT's, i.e. TORTURE????

    May 10, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. Simon in BC

    If it can be proved that Nancy took "prosecution off the table" for Bush officials because she knew that she would be implicated, then after the Hague is done with her, bring her back and charge her with treason.

    May 10, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. Daniel

    Nancy, caught in a lie!!! It's only a slippery slope from here. Lies only lead to more lies.

    May 10, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. Chance

    Not totally in Love with the Obama administration over these issue of torture. President Obama, you just spent your first 100 days in office, rejoice, but eventhough I don't wish it but your dark days are coming, you will have to make rough decisions and that's what the presidency is all about, so don't slam your predecessor who did his best to achieve his task. I am not being an advocate of toturne but when we side with the responsibles of our sorrows, who will consolate the Victims? Oh, I forgot, Obama never does anything wrong, if anything goes wrong, then it is because it was already that way when he took office, if it goes well, the he is the hero.... When his days will come he certainly will say he wasn't aware, as much as he wasn't aware of his own service plane getting mother's day picture over Manhattan without any notice to the mayor......................

    May 10, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. Salvatore Paradise

    So now that we know the President was ordering these techniques be used, and that some congresspeople were being briefed on what the President was doing, let's blame the people who were told about it, and didn't do it, but were aware of it. Sure, that's fine. It isn't the President's fault, it was Nancy Pelosi, she's the one who did it. That makes perfect sense. Newt, your f-wad Party used it's legal team to suggest that these methods were legal. They are responsible for the lie that allowed Bush to continue using these immoral and illegal tactics. It is also likely that Bush used their knowledge of the use of these methods as a leash to keep them from removing him from office. Miserable failure. Torture is wrong in all ways, in all times, in all instances.

    May 10, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. pete S

    the hate from the left is staggering. A lie is a lie except when a lib lies.
    Please continue to spew your hate and support the libs .

    May 10, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. David

    This is just another shiny red bouncing ball from the Republican party to pull the attention of the mindless public from the FACT that George W Bush and Dick Cheney Approved Torture and violated our Constitution. A very weak and failed attempt to connect Pelosi with the Bush/Cheney torture campaign and Newts continued grab at the head of the republican evil empire. It's not going to work.

    May 10, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. R Wolf

    And you weren't truthful about being a cheat and a liar. Please just
    go away. You're time, such as it was, has come and gone. This
    administration does not need your short sightedness.

    May 10, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Mac

    People keep asking why what Pelosi knew is revelent and that we should just hold Bush, Cheny, etc accountable. WRONG. If you think waterboarding is torture then you have to clean out everybody that knew but did nothing about it. You can't have it both ways. Either hold everybody accountable or nobody.

    I believe that's all the Republican party is saying right now. Now saying that I believe that there are different measures of guilt and punishment that should be used and determined. But you have to be fair, just because you don't like one side, either Democrat or Republican, you can't say that we are only going after that side.

    May 10, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. M. Felder

    Regardless of whether or not Pelosi knew, is irrevalent. We still need to know the truth and be able to put this torture in its true context. It is illegal and it should be publicly declared illegal. If is it publicly declared illegal, then Cheney has given himself enough rope to hang himself.

    May 10, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. vincent

    This is coming from a member to the party of the last administration that would not swear under oath.

    May 10, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. Kelby In Houston Texas

    Pelosi is bound by law to keep her mouth shut when it comes to matters of national security and issues that are deemed classified. Based on how evil the Bush Admin was. I am more inclined to believe her. Until a report comes out that leaves no question how much she knew and what she did or did not do, Pelosi still has my support.

    Torture is wrong. and we should be bringing charges against the bush admin for their various crimes

    May 10, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. randall

    Why does this guy still have a voice in anything? His track record tells us the truth.... hypocrite at best. Time for the old school republicans to go home and be quiet.

    May 10, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. pete

    Just one more is a long line of Democrats who believe their constituents are dumb enough to believe their lies....and from the looks of some of the comments on this board, they are right. All hail the Dumbocrats!

    May 10, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. lovable liberal

    Why would anyone believe Newt Gingrich's opinion on Nancy Pelosi's truthfulness? Never mind his own struggles to be truthful or fair, he wasn't there and has no way whatsoever of telling whether she's telling the truth. But it's a good make-believe story that Fox will push and CNN will echo, and it feeds the conservatives' desire not to be accountable at all for the torture they have supported every step of the way.

    If Pelosi did lie about what she was told, is that really worse than the Bushists doing it in the first place? You'd have to be insane to think that.

    May 10, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. Mitch

    Gingrich.....when a liar like Gingrich accuses someone of being a liar, you can be sure that the liar is only covering his lies....sorry Newt, get a life.

    May 10, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. Kevin

    So what if Pelosi knew about? She didn't ORDER the waterboarding! And since the GOP seems to be making a stink about people being briefed on it, is that an admission that is was wrong to administer waterboarding?

    May 10, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    Now why should Pelosi or the Democrats tell the truth about anything? The Republicans have been lying and distorting everything for the past 16 years. Practice what you preach, Gingrich!

    May 10, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. Nick - West Hills (L.A.), CA

    How Ironic. The GOP is demaning the truth from Democrats.

    GOP: Start off with YOU guys being truthful. Look it up if you need a description. I know it's been a while....

    As for Pelosi, if it turns out she's lying, she should step down.

    This is what we should demand of ALL politicians, not just those with whom we disagree.

    May 10, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  22. Dwayne

    I swear I lose two IQ points everytime I listen to or read anything the republicans have to say.

    May 10, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. I laugh at Limbaugh daily

    Let the truth come out, and let them all hangout to dry or more.She seemed scared to bring Bush and Cheney up for impeachment ,this could be why.

    May 10, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  24. Randy, San Francisco

    In the interest of national security, war crimes charges should be filed against top ranking Bush administration officials, starting with Cheney.

    May 10, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. Richard L

    So Nancy Pelosi should get a lesson in honesty from Newt Gingrich who chastized Bill Clinton while Newt was having an affair?

    May 10, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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