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. Hoosier X

    - it has been established beyond a reasonable doubt that Pelosi is a total, unmitigated liar -

    Why are statements like this never followed by anything remotely resembling evidence or examples?

    Liberals, like all sane, honest, decent people, like examples.

    May 10, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Ben

    Pelosi and Obama are both liars, distorting the truth to get more votes. They have put their own democRAT party above the nation. Shame on them !!!

    May 10, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. Danny B

    Is Gingridge really trying to say "It wasn't torture and if it was she knew about it too" Sounds a bit adolescent.

    May 10, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. Larry of Massachusetts

    Pelosi is incapable of telling the truth. She is a liability to the country and ought to be tossed.

    May 10, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    You don't have to believe Newt. Just open your eyes and ears. Our country is not a football game with teams that we are supporting. The problem with extremists on both sides is that they would destroy our country just to be on what they consider the winning team. Think about where we are all heading and try to act like adults who care.

    May 10, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. Dave of the mountains

    If Pelosi went along she is just as bad as Cheney. This isn't a partisan thing this is crime and if she was part she should suffer the same consequences. Torture is illegal and immoral.

    May 10, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. Andrew

    Not surprising. Pelosi is ridiculous. There's a reason Congress approval was less than Bush's only a year or two ago before Obama came into office.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has denied she was ever told "EXPLICITLY" that waterboarding had been used on terrorist suspects.

    Explicitly. She's a fool.

    May 10, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. Todd in Austin

    Wow, people actually defending another politician who has been caught lying in front of the nation... just another example of what is wrong with this country.

    May 10, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. Danny B

    Sounds like Newt is speaking out of both sides of his mouth....This is what I am hering... "It's not torture, but if it is then she knew about it too".... sounds a bit adolescent

    May 10, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. dhampton100

    Of all the people to complain about someone telling the truth Newt is not even on the list. If you could find a more proficient liar in politics you’d have to look a long time to find someone able to outlie Newt. His rank hypocrisy staggers me. Republicans think the country is just supposed to forget all of the lying, fornicating and adultery committing they do and allow them to all of a sudden mount a platform of moral arbiter. It would be OK if the media would hold them responsible for their actions. I do not understand why Newt or Cheney have the unmitigated gall to get in front of camera and say anything to anybody.

    May 10, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. Roger

    It's not the crime – or the lie – it's the cover up that always get pols in trouble. She seems to be tripping on her tongue a lot about this. Parsing words about whether Abu Zubaydah had already been waterboarded or was about to be, harkens back to 'what the meaning of the word "is" is.'

    May 10, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  12. WBN

    Hey, don't get mad at Gingrich for Pelosi's outright untruths! It's documented, man. Of course, "postmodern" libs believe the truth is whatever they want it to be.

    May 10, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  13. Theo from Memphis

    Who was responsible for waterboarding and who was in charge of it and said we do not torture??

    Why do you publish such statements from people as Newt who defend lyers and deceive the american public. How about some real news.

    May 10, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. Beverly in NC

    Maybe Republicans should just tell the truth – that they authorized and committed torture- which broke international law and the moral foundation America holds dear.

    Torturers are criminals and should be prosecuted as such.

    Trying to divert attention from Republican criminal acts, by making up fake stories about others, does not make the wrong and illegal list of crimes you committed against our Constitution and the World any less disgusting or shameful.

    Republicans should be apologizing and stop blaming and criticizing everyone else for their failings! And you wonder why none of you have any credibility with Americans?

    May 10, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. roger

    I don't have a party, Gingrich was great when he turned the Republicans around but has fallen out of favor with many. As much as i don't trust POLS either party , Pelosi Reid i see them on the news i shut the volume off. They ALL LIE for the sake of themselves or their party IT'S ALL ABOUT THEM BOTTOM LINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 10, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. Tanya

    In defense of Pelosi, during the Republicans' tyrannical reign, no one, Republican or Democrat, was allowed to question their tactics without being smeared. The Republicans, the Bush administration are responsible for the war in Iraq, failure to capture Osama bin Laden, the economic collapse, the Katrina debacle, the implementation of torture techniques, etc.

    The Republicans are now trying to shift this blame to the Democrats. Gingrich, you, Cheney, Bush, Rove are liars, failures, but one thing you are good at-aggressively destroying anyone who disagrees with you. Find a rock, any rock, crawl under it and stay there for the rest of your days.

    May 10, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. Rick

    You "lefties" are so confused... what happened to "change and transparancy"...?? Guess what... Military Tribunals are starting up again at GiTMO!! you guys don't get it. "The One" lied to you! Just like Pelosi and the others. At least Bush was being honest. The Main Stream Media can keep feeding you the propaganda, but in the end, you'll be disappointed.

    May 10, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. Steven - SC


    Most of the posters on this site are very hateful and confused against some clear and simple facts, regardless of who pointed them out.

    Newt is the 1000th person to make this statement.

    May 10, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  19. Tiff of lithia springs

    Newt is just playing GOP politics. He should just sit down and shut-up. The nerve of him to talk about someone else lying. Adulterous weasel.

    May 10, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  20. Trust No Politician

    All politicians lie, that is why any incumbent should be voted out. How many thousands of elections will it take for people to finally believe this?
    Newt is a crook and a traitor to our country. Nancy is a wicked woman who deserves to be thrown out of office. ALL OF THEM ARE LIARS! It is time for a new party to emerge in this country that comes from the working people, not the rich arrogant idiots. Then we can TAX THE RICH so that we can then pay off the national debt. YES there is enought in their pockets to do this.

    May 10, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  21. Julia

    This may be true, however, this happened in 2002 - before we had captured combatants and before Gitmo was in use. This was also pre- Iraq war. I would imagine these people are briefed on many different subjects. It's 2009. I wouldn't imagine that after this amount of time had passed and with as much as happened since then, that I wouldn't remember something that was not an issue. Gingrich remembers because war and torture is near and dear to conservative hearts - they can't tell us how many civilians have been killed or how many people have lost their homes or jobs, or how many public schools are without current books or how many neighborhoods and communities are without emergency service personnel or how cities have had police forces and EMT services cut to maintain the Buh budget - you know, the one we're all paying for now. They won't discuss the non-existent regulations of banks and Wall Street. But they CAN remember having mentioned something about plans to torture other human beings are far back as 2002. Pelosi has nothing to explain to you or anyone else, Gingrich. She has a job. Perhaps you should get one as well.

    May 10, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  22. Simmy

    Gingrich is not being truthful about Spkr. Pelosi....She said that she was told interrogations would take place, but the extent of it was vague....The president (Bush) was to get back to her and other members of Congress regarding the type of interrogation methods; waterboarding, etc.......The president (Bush) and associates never got back to her.....How quickly many listen to the Republicans and believe their words.......I would step back and take their words with a grain of salt, considering how they jumped to the conclusion that Palin was a qualified choice for VP....Just saying.....

    May 10, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. Hot dog

    Newt is simply pathetic. He is trying all he knows how to position him self for a run at the Presidental election in 2012. Who in their right mind would vote for this closw? Give me a break.

    May 10, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  24. Doug in New Mexico

    And Mr. Gingrich knows all about the truth! He tells the truth and has always told the truth. And have I got a deal on a really great bridge that you can buy for almost nothing.

    May 10, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. Trollmaster

    And if she's in error with this issue, the best thing would be to replace her as speaker with Dennis Kunich. I'm sure Newt and the GOP would love that. It would do wonders for their constant partsian attacks.

    May 10, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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