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. Tom Upstate NY

    What does this really matter.. who is watching and waiting for newt to speak .. No one I know lol .. we really need to start pushing our constitutional rights as americans. The more and more we sit back and allow our goverment to overtake every aspect of out lives is it any better then iraq or iran ? the only difference is we voted for the person who is controlling us .....

    May 10, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. John in Dallas

    If it saved one American life, it was worth it. They are our enemies and fight without the protection of the Geneva Conventions and also target women and children. I wouldn't care if they tortured them a great deal more than they did if we needed.
    As for Pelosi, it's clear she is lying as most politicians do. I'm certain Newt isn't any better over his career.

    What's truly scary to me are the number of you who live under the liberty that our soliders, CIA agents and others provide, but don't want to see the dirty side of it.

    Just keep eating that boneless skinless chicken pretending God sent it down to you that way.

    Most of you on here should just start a coop/commune and see how that works out for you weak freaks.

    May 10, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Amanda

    Pelosi may not be completely truthful but Oh the Hollier than thou Gingrich who supported these awful policies all along !

    May 10, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  4. jason

    I hate newt,but hes right on this, and I hate pelosi even more.

    May 10, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Sam I Am

    The big thing that is missing here is that Pelosi was cleared for classified briefings. The waterboard and other "innovative techniques" discussion was in a classified briefing that Pelosi couldn't have said anything about without risk of prosecution.

    At the time this was all taking place, the "legal opinions" were written by lawyers who were told how their opinions should read. They had to write that these activities were "legal" to keep their jobs and comply with security concerns created by the Bush aministration. Pelosi and others couldn't do anything if the Attorney General and his team viewed this as legal, no matter what they thought in their own opinions.

    The Bush administration was trying to cover their tracks by first having tainted opinions written, then by briefing a large number of Congressional representatives in general terms about what was going on, then classifying the whole thing. It put anyone who wanted to protest at odds with their own government.

    Now, in hindsight, everyone is ready to jump Pelosi for not doing anything. Let's jump the correct people. There are a significant number of Bush administration folks (Rice, Cheney, Hassert, Libby, many more names do you need?) who were right in the middle of this. It's time to go get them and have them face the full force of the Constitution they so willingly violated.

    May 10, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |

    Did anyone stop to think that when the CIA told the members about the "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" – they didn't tell anyone what these techniques consisted of ! It would sort of be like what Bush and Cheney told the American Public what Sadam had in his possession.

    May 10, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  7. Jeff of Peoria

    Pelosi lie? – A politician lie? Nooooo – I can't believe it!!!

    May 10, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Dean

    Who the hell cares what this has-been thinks. He's a bitter old man who would rather constantly criticize everything that the democrats do than talk about how republicans could do it better... or even differently. He's a pompous windbag and I truly wonder why the media even covers him. Like the other pompous windbags–Limbaugh and Beck–let him blow away for good.

    May 10, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Rick

    If waterboarding is no big thing, as the Repugs claim, what difference does it make what the Speaker new and when she knew it?

    May 10, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. Dave - motorcycle enthusiast

    If Newt wants to play the blame game – lets get this ball rolling and start a full fledged investigation of war crimes, with prosecution of those found to be involed being the end game. NO ONE SHALL BE EXCLUDED from the bottom to the top. This democrat was taught right AND wrong. My family values are to take full responsibility for my actions good or bad. Lets see which MEN in the former administration step up and take the hit!!!!! They're a bunch of gutless money grubbing punks. Thats my opinion.

    May 10, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. JonDie

    As much as I hate to admit it, Gingrich probably is actually right about something, perhaps for the first time in his life.

    May 10, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. Cali J

    I can't believe the Libs on this board. Saying anything to deflect the fact that the Democrat who holds the 3rd highest seat in our country, has just told a huge lie and all the Dems and Libs on this board are more about attcking Newt. People, stop with the nonsense and realize that your party is not above the integrity and honesty that should be in play in the position she holds. Because you hate Bush and Cheney and the Republicans is no reason to allow this woman to get away with this. Demand the truth from all of our leaders and hold them accountable. The post on this board display how pathetic partisian politics have become in this country.

    May 10, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  13. Richard A. Spomer, Alexandria, VA

    The Speaker of the House
    MS Nancy Pelosi,

    She is one candidate forth wit lies between her teeth; on top of these different issues, one would wonder if she doesn't lead a double sort of life styles. She has attained the mantel of men; so now she needs to contact Snap-on tools to complete the mission wouldn't you all agree?

    May 10, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  14. Dakota, Lake Stevens, WA


    Newton is a political hack, and a has been. His advice stinks.

    His chances of being elected again, to anything, are about the exact same as him becoming the next Pope or Czar of Russia.

    He needs to fade away quietly, and take Cheney, Limbaugh and Palin with him!

    As a Republican, since 1964, I find that quartet absolutely disgusting.

    May 10, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  15. Jayden,FL

    I dont like Pelosi or Newt both of them should just get lost!

    May 10, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  16. Funny People

    Why attack Newt and not the issue? Her silence on waterboarding when she was briefed means she approved of the measure. When it became politically beneficial it became torture. That is the point Newt is trying to make, I think. However attacking him does not answer the issue – why has she changed her story so often and what does she know. I thought DEMS were supposed to be honest with the American people 🙂

    May 10, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. Jeff E.

    I don't think any of us need lessons in telling the truth from one of the biggest gas bags in the history of the Congress. As GOP Speaker, he and his pals dealt more in platitudes than progress. Why can't the GOP come up any new ideas? Because the old white guys won't get out of the way.

    May 10, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  18. change has arrived

    I don't trust pelosi, but I don't trust newt either.

    May 10, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  19. Linda

    Way to go Liberals-attack Newt in your attempt to minimize the lying.

    May 10, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. Gene

    Congress... the new high school. He said, she said, blame him, blame her, she called me names, he called me names...

    Anyone else feel like the mentality of congress has now completely come back to grade school? Lets give them all snack packs and cookies so they can go back to work.

    May 10, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. WillWalker

    Maybe she didn't read the memos and didn't know what's going on. I have heard that when it came to the stimulus package that only a few copies were made available for our elected officials and that no one read it in its entirety. think...we need to elect people who really care what is going on and read what comes across their desks?

    May 10, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  22. boaz

    For the Liberaly Demented: Stay focused, it's not about the messenger, it's the message.
    Pelosi is a liar as are most politicians. She needs to find or be given a hole to crawl, slither or slime her way into.
    Term Limits – the only way back to a REPRESENTATIVE government.

    May 10, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. Chenna Benna

    Why are we now trying to make Nancy Pelosi into a scapegoat? Whether or not she knew about waterboarding, does that change the fact that waterboarding is torture? Does that change the fact that torture is a crime? Does that change the fact that we have prosecuted our enemies in the past for this crime? The answer is no. Wanda Sykes gave the best analogy for defending torture last night. It is like robbing a bank and telling the judge that you may have robbed a bank, but look at all these bills that got paid.

    May 10, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  24. me

    Hypocrisy is alive and well in the Democratic Party. They can't even admit Pelosi lied. After all the liberal agenda is paramount. Lying is ok within the dem party, but called out on the conservative end. Torture is ok if your a liberal

    May 10, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  25. Denise

    And Cheney, Bush, Rice, Rummsfield, & Co are?

    May 10, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
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