WaPo’s Partisan Press Release Service

The front page of the WaPo website features what amounts to a press release from John Boehner, attempting to continue blaming Nancy Pelosi because Dick Cheney tortured.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) "ought to either present the evidence or apologize’" in the wake of her comments that CIA officials misled her about the use of controversial interrogation techniques on terrorist suspects.

"Lying to the Congress of the United States is a crime," Boehner said yesterday on CNN’s "State of the Union." "And if the speaker is accusing the CIA and other intelligence officials of lying or misleading the Congress, then she should come forward with evidence and turn that over to the Justice Department so they can be prosecuted."

He added: "And if that’s not the case, I think she ought to apologize to our intelligence professionals around the world."

The story doesn’t report that two out of three of the other members of Congress who were "briefed" in September 2002 (including the hyper-anal Bob Graham) back Pelosi’s claim. Here’s Graham:

The CIA when I asked them, what were the dates these briefings took place, gave me four dates. And I went back to my spiral notebooks and a daily schedule that I keep and found, and the CIA concurred, that in three of those four dates, there was no briefing held. That raises some questions about the bookkeeping of the CIA. Under the rules of clandestine information, I was prohibited from keeping notes of what was actually said during that briefing other than a brief summation that it had to do with the interrogation of detainees.

And here’s Goss, speaking of the torture techniques prospectively (and therefore revealing that he was not briefed they had already been used, which is precisely what Pelosi has claimed):

the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed

And for good measure, here’s Jello Jay, pointing out that the CIA also got its briefing schedule wrong with him, as they did with Graham.

As for Richard Shelby, it took him two tries to make the assertion that CIA briefed them fully, having first left all discussion of timing out of his description.

As Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2002, Senator Shelby was briefed by the CIA on the Agency’s interrogation program and the existence of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs). To his recollection, not only did the CIA briefers provide what was purported to be a full account of the techniques, they also described the need for these techniques and the value of the information being obtained from terrorists during questioning. The Senate briefing also included an explanation of how these techniques were consistent with the law and with the national security interests of the U.S. To his recollection, while there was a great deal of discussion, there were no objections raised during the Senate briefing he attended.

And only then claimed CIA told them the techniques had already been used.

To Senator Shelby’s recollection of the Senate briefing, waterboarding was one the EITs the CIA said it had used.

So we’ve got three people who side with Pelosi and only one refuting it–and in two of those cases, the CIA admitted they had erred! But the WaPo prints Boehner’s challenge uncritically without pointing out that Boehner has no fucking idea what went on in the briefings, and that the people who do, generally side with Pelosi.

But then it gets worse. The WaPo appears not to understand what Pelosi’s claims are (which is that she was not told the techniques briefed had already been used).

The CIA says its records show Pelosi was briefed on the tactics in 2002, which the speaker has adamantly denied.

And claims Panetta–in a statement that once again reaffirmed Congress’ role in determining precisely what went on in the briefings–rebutted Pelosi.

an assertion that CIA Director Leon Panetta, a former Democratic congressman from California, rebutted on Friday

Finally, the WaPo lets the Boehner suggest that Pelosi accused all CIA officers, rather than the four who briefed her on September 4, 2002, of misleading Congress.

All in all, a pretty signature piece of hackery. But I’m sure it was cheap to produce.

45 replies
  1. BayStateLibrul says:

    The WAPO wants to burn Nancy at the stake.
    Flagrant foul, piling on, and chin music all at once.

  2. drational says:

    This is the same post you have been forced to make almost daily for the past two weeks. Maybe you can email Maureen Dowd and hope that her plagiarism will lead to someone in the MSM finally getting the story right.

  3. james says:

    If Boehner really wants to push the “Lying to Congress is a crime” meme, maybe we should start talking about prosecuting Bush and Cheney for lying to Congress. God knows there are plenty of examples of that behavior.

  4. wavpeac says:

    It seems to me that part of why this story works so well is because she is a woman. (Let’s say this is my worry that this is part of something more subconscious than conscious. I have never really understood this part of the American psych…but I have seen it a million times. A woman comes in battered, broken ribs, hospital stay, and the cops are literally furious with her because she refuses to press charges. So much so, that they throw up their hands as if the beating never occurred. Sometimes they will refuse to drive by her house to protect her.

    I have never understood why her reluctance to report (while it says lots of things la, la, la…and could be failure to protect where kids are involved) makes the behavior of the beating null and void. Evidence shows that if he’s not beating this one he will beat the next. Evidence shows this person who beats a spouse to be a risk to society in many different ways. And yet…this battle was waged for years across America trying to get a coordinated community response that would REFUSE to get distracted and hold the batterer accountable.

    It stands out to me because it was and still is a difficult battle. One I don’t understand, but I wonder if some of the same techniques we used to keep the focus on the batterer could be applied here.

    It would be really nice if the dems would make a coordinated community response and do exactly this. We need Obama to lead and not allow this shift in focus. If he won’t do it we need some other strong democrat to remind us of the gravity of the crimes at hand.

    My understanding of the fight to get a coordinated community response that put accountability for the batterer first was all about numbers. It took educating lots of lots of people about the dynamic of blaming the victim. Continuously pointing out, in conversation after conversation when they wanted to talk about why she didn’t report, and shifting the focus back to the criminal behavior. I understand it was her job. I understand the gravity of her behavior. I wonder seriously why in the hell she took impeachment off the table. But none of that changes the fact that they tortured people illegally.

    It’s just going to be imperative that we all keep our eye on the ball. And keep talking. Thank you E.W…I hope all those who see what we see here, continue to follow your lead. My worry is that this is a bigger psychological “issue” for America than we might realize. It’s as if too many of us, have internalized minimize, deny and blame.

    • NorskeFlamethrower says:

      Citizen wavpeac:

      The “they’re doing this because she’s female” line is old and tired and only irrelevantly true. Pelosi has been set up since the beginning as the “liberal” weak link in the Democratic Party leadership and this has been forwarded by the best intentioned “progressives” who have been screamin bloody murder at her (and not Harry Reid) for coverin’ up for Bush, takin impeachment off the table and being a closet war supporter. No dear heart, Ms. Pelosi is gettin hit with this stuff because progressive Democrats have left her out twisting in the wind while Rahm Tiny Dancer Emmanuel prepares to get the Speakership in 2012.

      • Nell says:

        Norske, I’m not sure what universe/blogiverse you’ve been living in, but in mine there’s been just as much if not more screaming at/about Harry Reid as there has been at/about Pelosi, with the exception of the impeachment issue, which has been directed at Pelosi for the simple and sufficient reason that impeachment can only begin in the House.

        I would call what Marcy and Laura Rozen are doing quite the opposite of leaving her out twisting in the wind, and a parade of members of Congress are backing her up, too.

        The ones who could but aren’t are in the Hoyer/Emanuel camp.

    • NorskeFlamethrower says:

      P.S. There is no excuse for the professional citizens who like to think of themselves as the anchors of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, like Salon’s Mr. Greenwald, not to be out in front of Pelosi and demand that the Reid-Emmanuel junta call for hearings immediately on the “lying to Congress” meme.

  5. Nell says:

    What a surprise: it’s by Perry Bacon, Jr., Mr. “Some say Barack Obama is a Muslim.” He is as dumb as a sack of rocks and willing to write any old trash, which keeps being put on the front page.

    This is non-news and factually wrong and incomplete, so I’d have a word with the editor.

    This is the same story that was at the site two days ago, unchanged; I guess it’s the place-holder they want until some real news happens.

    • nadezhda says:

      Nell, you’re right that it’s an editor problem. The WaPo has had a confused mix of reporters on this coverage — so far including Finn, Kane, Balz, Pincus and now the clueless Bacon (and probably some others I’ve forgotten) — and they’re coming from different beats, which means different sources (spin) and different background knowledge/context.

      There’s no single reporter who has actually mastered the issues and texts that are the subject of debate. And whoever is in charge on the editing side — and it may be multiple editors since it’s got Hill, old White House and national security — the editor(s) haven’t mastered the basics either.

      Really unprofessional.

  6. Nell says:

    We need Obama to lead and not allow this shift in focus.

    Don’t hold your breath; he wants everyone to be quiet about this, and Netanyahu’s in town.

    @EW: That is a mighty handy and concise “deck of cards” (just one suit).

    • BooRadley says:

      @EW: That is a mighty handy and concise “deck of cards” (just one suit).


  7. radiofreewill says:

    EW – Excellent Salon Article!

    So far, or at least it seems to me, every time that Cheney opens his big mouth to defend himself or BushCo, somebody floats a trump card down to the table and thoroughly discredits him (like Cheney’s ‘Torture worked’ getting trumped by Wilkerson’s ‘al-Libi Falsely Confessed’.)

    With Dick giving his Apology (defense of himself) on Thursday, I expect he’ll get handed some Hemlock between now and then.

  8. marksb says:

    LA Times prints the WaPost story on A15, second page of the Nation section. Ugh. Well, when you’ve laid off all your reporters ’cause your owner bought the paper with 90% leverage and now can’t pay the loans, I guess you just act like a small-town paper and print other paper’s bad articles. Nice front page story on beetle-hunting molecular biologists, though. Priorities.

    Great article on Salon, EW. Thanks again!

  9. Nell says:

    Glad you liked that. ;>

    The suit is clubs.
    Cheney:Ace, Bush:King, Rice:Queen, Rumsfeld:Jack, Addington:10…

    after that I have to put some thought into it. Suggestions welcome.

  10. Arbusto says:

    So Shelby states he was briefed on EIT including water torture. I wonder if a Spanish Judge may want more info on that, since our system of justice doesn’t include investigating or prosecuting oligarchs for crimes against humanity.

    • cinnamonape says:

      Actually it was his Press Secretary that said that statement…so it’s second hand. He’ll blame it on his PR person “mishearing”.The first statement, where he refers to the “purportedly complete” list of EITs (cited at length by Marci, above) was his official, written one. It’s mealy-mouthed and vague…doesn’t mention water boarding of AZ at all.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Yes, Virginia, there used to be an elite press that would challenge the self-serving, provably wrong statements of senior national politicians. They were bought out and having been in business for years.

  12. financialtools1 says:

    Senator Bob Graham , ex-Chairman of the Intelligence Committee , this morning on http://www.c-span.org/ clearly stated that he was briefed by a CIA operative called Moskowitz in September 2002 and they never told him anything about water boarding or torture, and later the CIA said that he had been briefed 3 times, and when he look-up his records and saw that he had not been briefed 3 times, the CIA said : Sorry Senator , we made a mistake with our records.

    Senator Graham is the second Congress member that says that he was never told about torture,and that the CIA did made an error with their records, so why not get this Moskowitz out and explain ?

    by the way, the c-span.org/ page does not show up anymore,here is the npr.org/ page before it also goes down, wonder why ?


    Here the key is the wife of Dick Cheney, she was and is a huge AIPAC and neocon intelligence operative fan , she was the direct link between AIPAC and the Cheney-Libby-Abrams-Uhlman-Feith-Wolfowitz-Moskowitz group at the White House and the old CIA , the American People and Taxpayers have a right to know all the links, meetings, parties , etc., at the White House and at AIPAC between the Cheney’s and them and the Mukasey’s and Bernard Madoff,since the son of Michael Mukasey is the lawyer of the top partner of Bernard Madoff , America needs the whole story.

  13. pmorlan says:

    It Gets worse –

    The Post also left out key information, in all of their weekend reporting, from a former CIA Deputy Inspector General who also accused the CIA of lying to Congress back in 2006. This former CIA official just so happens to also be one of the Post’s OWN SOURCES for their Pulitzer Prize Winning CIA Black Site story.

  14. Prairie Sunshine says:

    Kudos to Markos for his cogent commentary just now on MSNBC about the MoDo flap….and kudos to FDL’s own shining star, Marcy, your reporting is outstanding and you’re setting a gold standard for investigative journalism that transcends the blogosphere.

  15. Prairie Sunshine says:

    Oh, and, Newt Gingrich is a POS for his distortions against Pelosi.

    With the stellar reporting growing ever more in the blogosphere, no matter how the tradmed and anachronistic media types keep up their ReThug hardwiring, truth still will out.

    • Leen says:

      Neutered his really kicking up the Pelosi dust

      Let’s see what MSNBC does with all of this tonight. Will they bring it back to the who ordered laws to be re-written, who re-wrote the laws, who “basically” authorized the torturing, and who did the torturing.

  16. BearCountry says:

    pelosi is probably right on this cia briefing flap. I think that she is being attacked because she is a woman so that if she fights back she is too much like a man, not a real woman, and if she doesn’t fight back, it’s because her accusers are right and she should be impeached. neither obama nor any real progressives are putting up a fight for her in this case. It will eventually work against them because if they (obama and any real progressives) roll over for the repugs there will be nothing accomplished for anyone except more tax cuts for the rich. This is another case of harry reid not being worth anything. Progressives may not look back at LBJ with any love, but the rethugs and blue dogs would not have such an easy time as they do now.

  17. oldnslow says:

    Why hasn’t ANYBODY told boner to shut his fucking pie hole yet? Honest to god and no shit. Why can’t news people ask a serious question? And when they don’t get an answer, follow up?

    I jumped all over a little republican at work for spewing that Pelosi shit today. If it wasn’t for the brilliant Marcy Wheeler I would have had no ammo. As it was he was an easy, uninformed mark.

    I don’t agree that Pelosi is the target because she is a woman. I think she is singled out to deflect the dick admitted torture and rush is the leader of the republican party talk. Just my 2 cents.

  18. PJ70 says:

    I’m still looking for the story from the MSM about the “crusade” literature put out by Rumsfield early in the Iraq War. I don’t think we’ll ever see it, even though it was classified because it could be perceived as “bad as Abu Grahib. This country is sick!

  19. oldnslow says:

    Oh yeah! Where the hell did that troll go?

    can I play with the troll this time?

  20. semiot says:

    I was at my father-in-law’s house Sunday morning in the DC suburbs. This was the first time in a while I read the dead trees version of the Post. I said to my wife later on the ride home, “The Post has become a right-wing newspaper – from the op-ed pages to the front page, and including a special cluck-clucking over Pelosi by David Ignatius – the whole thing is totally owned by the right.”

    Katherine Graham ought to haunt her son and the rest of these clowns for eternity.

  21. oldtree says:

    The Washington Post is fighting hard to keep itself newsworthy. Suicide is after all, a news story.

  22. Prairie Sunshine says:

    There’s an orchestrated “coup” against Pelosi in progress. Matalin talked about it this morning on Imus. Josh notes that Fox and MSNBC have had scheiss about it. From a Politico article?

    Or the ol’ WHIG group getting together again to provide cover for ol’ scratch Cheney?

  23. cinnamonape says:

    BTW If Moskowitz was the one that was giving these briefings, as suggested by Grahams notes, and he is now dead…just who are the informants that Pannetta is relying upon to “recall” what was said at these briefings?

    Marci has pointed out that there are two prospects. One is Joe Rodriguez, the head of the CTC (Clandestine Services) infamous for destroying the videotaped records of the torture-interrogations. The other is “Torture to the precipice of death” Fredman. Either, or both, of these sources would have ulterior motives for producing a less than accurate account of what was actually said at those meetings.

  24. cinnamonape says:

    It’s also very interesting that most of the Republicans don’t want this to leave the enclosed corners of the Intelligence Committees. After all, it might be embarassing for them to have been caught lying before the public.

    “McConnell, R-Ky., told “FOX News Sunday” that he personally questions the need to hold inquiries to find out “who knew what when,” but acknowledged that the disagreement between Pelosi and the CIA could warrant one…”The best way to resolve the dispute if it needs to be resolved is through the (House and Senate) intelligence committees.”

    Keep in indoors, where they can play politics, release a “minority view” and actually play politics when the exonerating report is released.

    Of course the problem is that the Intelligence Committees would be investigating THEMSELVES…most of these characters are still skulking the halls. So that’s why they want an internal investigation…but they dread having an independent investigation. Yet they are calling on Pelosi to “prove” that she was lied to, by evidence she can’t obtain since it’s classified.

    How about an independent prosecutor?

  25. rdwdkw says:

    Marci, how come spitting on the sidewalk is a crime, but waterboarding shouldn’t be? Do these people really think we are that fucking stupid? Thank you so much for the effort you have put into this and please keep on the ignorant bastards.

  26. DrZen says:

    rdwkw, yes, they think you’re stupid. They think that they can convince you tha if the issue is Nancy Pelosi knew about it and didn’t stop it (because of course Democratic politicians had a long record of reining Bush in) then torture will stop being a crime.

  27. Zorba66 says:

    Nancy “Impeachment is Off the Table” Pelosi is not my favorite person, but come on. The CIA is an intelligence agency- they’re professional liars. We’re to believe them? And Boehner is a bonehead- how is Nancy supposed to “prove” anything when they were not allowed by law to take full notes, make recordings, or even discuss what they were told at the time? (And if they had, the Republicans would have been baying and salivating to have them arrested for treason.) I would tend to believe Bob Graham- he was always nothing if not thorough. As for the Washington Post– Katherine Graham, publisher during the Watergate era, must be turning over in her grave. It has become nothing but a regurgitator of the MSM right-wing talking points.

  28. Dalybean says:

    There is also an orchestrated coup to take out National Security Advisor Jim Jones. I think the true reason for the agitation against Pelosi and Jones is about Iran. Does anyone else find this as scary as I do?

  29. x174 says:

    Yeah MT!

    You got under Justin Raimondo’s skin:

    “If the definitive history of ideological blindness and partisanship is ever written, then surely Wheeler will figure prominently: her prose epitomizes what happens to the English language and logic itself when they are forced into the procrustean bed of a predetermined conclusion.”

    With some matters, Raimondo’s prose exemplifies clarity and rhetorical prowess. His essay “The torturous logic of Nancy Pelosi” is Justin at his worst: opinionated, fact-free, and blatantly partisan.

    i don’t know what Nancy was or wasn’t told and i don’t really know who to believe in this matter of he said she said but one thing that i do know is that the CIA has fabricated evidence on the gravest of matters: wars of aggression–so what they say (especially when it comes to their defense of their purported actions during the unjustifiable “war”) should not been accepted as credible, or trustworthy unless other independent sources can be used to verify their statements.

    Poor Justin. Such a magnificent essayist put to shame by his own increasingly fact-free tirades and incessant whining.

    Go Dick!

  30. JohnEly says:

    David Ignatius and the Jacobins; Fred Hiatt and the ‘Central Asian Battlefield’ in the WaPo’s Sunday editorial.

    Ignatius, who just defended torture on Charlie Rose, had a column a couple years back about a George Mason Univ conference on Iran in which it was clear that the State Dept leadership (Rice & co.) at the time were using the model of defeating the revolutionary states rather than containing them.

    The background here is the defense of ‘terror’ as this term arose during the French Revolution, and the question of whether one is to contain or defeat a revolutionary regime viewed as hostile to the free-market hegemon in the world system. Prime Minister Pitt was for containment, and Edmund Burke, the founder of modern conservative thought and the major model here for the Straussians (’neo-conservatives’), was a flip-flopper on the subject.

    The question of torturing ‘terrorists’ in this regard is tied to the larger question of whether the US is ‘at war’, or involved in policing and peacekeeping. Should US policy in Central Asia, and elsewhere (e.g. Iran, PM Netanyahu) be based on a legal model such as that applied during the Korean War, or an ‘exceptional’ model? Is the US attempting to be ‘normal’ or ‘exceptional’, legal or decisionist, vis-a-vis the international order in the terms of Carl Schmitt.

    Ignatius is clearly pointing out more and more that he is an advocate of the latter, a very dangerous position now being trumpeted by the Washington Post as a whole.

    The Post is attempting to oppose a percieved new direction of US foreign policy by an administration which is on record for reigning in the attempt to use the term ‘war’ both legally and metaphorically. In March 2009 the Defense Department officially changed the name of its present operations from ‘Global War on Terror’ to ‘Overseas Contingency Operation’ (OCO).

    The most dangerous element in this approach is the attribution of collective guilt to the members of an entire world religion, which makes this new so-called ‘long war’ against Islam[ic radicalism] so different from the attempt to contain/defeat either the French Revolution or the Soviet Union. The declared ‘enemy’, from the point of view of the members of the religion in question, are an entire world religion, not a ’secular’ heresy (Jacobins, Leninists) of a ‘Western’ world religion (Christendom). However politically conservative the historical politics of this world religion are, it is many centuries old and institutionally embedded in a manner in which the old foes of the hegemon from its right wing perspective – the Jacobins and their terrorist ‘direct’ democracy, the Leninists and their ‘totalitarian democracy’ – were not. (These are the ’socialist democrats’ of the past.)

    The WaPo is presently on the losing side of the argument; but Ignatius mouthing off to Charlie Rose about the virtues of torture is just the tip of their ice berg. Hiatt in the Sunday editorial fulminating about the danger of ‘abandoning the central Asian battlefield’ is much more worrisome, as this ‘battlefield’ is a ready source of thousands more ‘enemy combatants’ for an international and national ‘justice system’ which, to paraphrase Jim Webb on the talk shows this weekend, ‘can’t handle them.’ Thus, in his view, the US needs an exception military based justice system as prescribed by the Military Commisions Act.

    [As long as the US is spending 50 billion USD a year in Afghanistan, and 1/2 a billion on the Pakistani military, it has the whole policy there, as my friend Andy Bennett put in brilliantly, ‘af-pac-wards.’]

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