Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been a leading critic of the Bush administration for authorizing the "torture" (waterboarding) of three captured al-Qaida leaders, despite the fact that former Vice President Dick Cheney says the interrogation methods yielded valuable information from men who had not previously been forthcoming, leading the terrorists to spill the beans on planned attacks that could have killed thousands more Americans.
Now it appears Ms. Pelosi knew all about the methods being used, and raised not a peep of objection. Unless she wants to argue she was dozing during CIA briefings.
Congressional leaders were briefed dozens of times on the CIA's use of severe interrogation methods on al-Qaida suspects, according to new information released by the Obama administration Thursday.
A chart compiled by the CIA shows that Ms. Pelosi, D-Calif., was briefed on Sept. 4, 2002, on the agency's interrogation of alleged al-Qaida operative Abu Zubaydah, and that the session covered "the particular (enhanced interrogation techniques) that had been employed."
As recently as a week ago, Ms. Pelosi contended, "We were not -- I repeat were not -- told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used."
Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi, said Thursday that "the briefers described these techniques, said they were legal, but said that waterboarding had not been used."
So ... they described tactics they claimed they weren't using? Why would they do that?
Overall, the chart describes 40 briefings over a seven-year period at which CIA and other U.S. intelligence officials described the agency's interrogation program to senior lawmakers.
The records were requested by congressional Republicans, who have accused Democrats on Capitol Hill of hypocrisy as majority partisans express outrage over the CIA's use of the interrogation methods.
Former House Republican and CIA Director Porter J. Goss -- who attended the 2002 briefing of Ms. Pelosi -- wrote last month in an opinion piece that he was "slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as 'waterboarding' were never mentioned." Mr. Goss described the lawmakers' claims as "a disturbing epidemic of amnesia."
Here's resounding evidence that Democrats' haughty accusations that only Republicans knew about or condoned waterboarding of the three captured al-Qaida leaders amount to political posturing, and little more.