Saturday, May 09, 2009

Pelosi being slippery on torture and her response to it

I see something of an analogy between Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Edwards - neither are responsible for the scandal that each knew about, but both knew about the scandal when it was a secret and didn't take the needed steps. Elizabeth should have killed her husband's campaign. Pelosi, it appears, did nothing at all.

TPM makes the excellent point that Pelosi's denying she actually knew waterboarding was used doesn't eliminate the fact that she knew it might be used, and did nothing. There's additional slipperiness going on, though:

  • A top aide was briefed about actual use of waterboarding in 2003, and it's hard to believe he never told Pelosi.
  • With the latest document release, Pelosi's spokesman Brendan Daly said, "As this document shows, the speaker was briefed only once, in September 2002. The briefers described these techniques, said they were legal, but said that waterboarding had not yet been used."
In fact, the document says the briefing included a "description of the particular EIT's [Enhanced Interrogation Techniques] that had been employed." Pelosi is challenging whether this document is accurate, but the spokesman's description of the document is flatout wrong - it does the opposite of absolving her.

  • Finally, there's this statement from Pelosi: "It was my understanding at that time that Congresswoman Harman filed a letter in early 2003 to the CIA to protest the use of such techniques, a protest with which I concurred." This one really bothers me - exactly how did you express your concurrence, Madam Speaker? She's using language that suggests she did something, when I believe she did exactly nothing.

Amazing that so many Republicans thinks this absolves the need for truth commissions and legal investigations. It does the exact opposite. There's no potential legal violation by the Democrats, but those who knew and did nothing need to take their lumps, and stop being slippery about it.

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