May 7, 2009 / by emptywheel


Pelosi’s Advisory On Abu Zubaydah And Torture

As Marcy noted back on April 29th, the issue of Nancy Pelosi’s briefing back in 2002 on the Bush/Cheney torture program, whether or not it was being applied to Abu Zubaydah and, if so, to what extent, has really turned into a he said-she said game. (See also here regarding the Porter Goss offensive against Pelosi and Harman).

So, it should not come as any surprise that yet another missive has been launched in this little passion play. Today’s strike comes courtesy of Rick Klein at ABC News:

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah in September 2002, according to a report prepared by the Director of National Intelligence’s office and obtained by ABC News.

The report, submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee and other Capitol Hill officials Wednesday, appears to contradict Pelosi’s statement last month that she was never told about the use of waterboarding or other special interrogation tactics. Instead, she has said, she was told only that the Bush administration had legal opinions that would have supported the use of such techniques.

MadDog has slithered into the depths of Human to find what they claim is "the report". He has also given us a hand glossary for the abbreviations. The Washington Post seems to think it is "the report" as well, for what it is worth:

In a 10-page memo outlining an almost seven-year history of classified briefings, intelligence officials said that Pelosi and then-Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) were the first two members of Congress briefed on the tactics. Then the ranking member and chairman of the House intelligence committee, respectively, Pelosi and Goss were briefed Sept. 4, 2002, one week before the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Pelosi has already, of course, issued a denial through a spokesman. More he said-she said. Quite frankly, without more, today’s play should be taken with a grain of salt. Multiple major news organizations have this hot off the press info right after Congress receives it and right wing hit rag Human Events (Jed Babbin) is pitching it as a slam on Pelosi. How very convenient. As further evidence of the need for grains of salt listen to Leon Panetta in his own cover letter transmitted with "the report":

“This letter presents the most thorough information we have on dates, locations, and names of all Members of Congress who were briefed by the CIA on enhanced interrogation techniques. This information, however, is drawn from the past files of the CIA and represents [memorandums for the record] completed at the time and notes that summarized the best recollections of those individuals. In the end, you and the Committee will have to determine whether this information is an accurate summary of what actually happened. We can make the MFRs available at CIA for staff review.” (Emphasis added)

As should be crystal clear by now, "those individuals" that worked on the "past files of the CIA" "at the time" were not necessarily the most even handed and/or disinterested arbiters of the truth. The CIA has a big bone in this fight, and it rests completely in implicating Pelosi, Harman and other members of Congress in their bad acts.

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