Posted by Curt on 14 May, 2009 at 5:29 pm. 37 comments already!


Charles Krauthammer demolishes Nancy Pelosi today over her new assertion that the CIA lied and didn’t brief her….as Charles said, she is now at war with the CIA and she will lose. (full video of her embarrassing press conference here)

Even Hoyer wouldn’t back her:

Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, panned the recent criticism of Pelosi as a “distraction” during a verbal tangle with Republican Whip Eric Cantor on the House floor.

But when asked directly whether he shares Pelosi’s belief that the CIA misled Congress, he backed off.

“I have no idea of that. I don’t have a belief of that nature because I have no basis on which to base such a belief,” Hoyer said. “And I certainly hope that’s not the case. And I don’t draw that conclusion.”

Of course those who tend to believe her want justice:

Democrats on the House intelligence committee said Thursday that CIA officers broke the law in 2002 if they told Nancy Pelosi then that they had not yet engaged in waterboarding.

“If they make a false report, absolutely it’s illegal,” said Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “If they fail to make a report when they’re obligated to that is also illegal — a violation of the National Security Act.”

But Andy McCarthy believes that whether the water games started before or after Pelosi was briefed matters not:

…Pelosi ups the ante big-time by alleging that, in 2002, she was “told explicitly that waterboarding was not being used,” and, therefore, that the agency is lying when it claims to have told her it was. But — though I acknowledge she is confusing and at times incoherent — Pelosi does not appear to disclaim knowledge that waterboarding was at least in the CIA’s gameplan. And, indeed, she now says she learned waterboarding was being used from other lawmakers who attended other briefings in the ensuing months.

Now, back to the torture statute. I won’t rehash the now familiar provisions that explain what torture is. But I do want to focus our attention on a prong of the torture statute, Section 2340A(c), that hasn’t gotten much notice to this point:

Conspiracy.— A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.

So I ask myself, “Self, what difference does it make whether Speaker Pelosi knew the CIA was waterboarding suspects or merely knew the CIA was planning to use waterboarding?” Answer: None.

Unless a victim is killed by torture such that the death penalty comes into play (which is not alleged here), American law regards conspiracy to commit torture as something exactly as serious, punished exactly as severely, as actual torture. As it happens, I don’t think waterboarding as administered by the CIA was torture. But Pelosi says she does. If that’s where you’re coming from, how do you get off the hook by saying you only knew about a plan to torture but not actual torture?


Finally, on the “did nothing about it” score, the lamest part of Pelosi’s defense is the claim that she didn’t need to register her dissent because she agreed with Rep. Jane Harman’s letter, purportedly “objecting to” the enhanced interrogation tactics. Here’s Harman’s letter. It contains no objection whatsoever to the tactics.

Lindsey Graham says the same thing as Andy:

She can change her story but if she believes waterboarding to be illegal and wants people hung and quartered over it she is first in line, whichever story of her’s is true.

But the sad part of all this is if this story involved a Republican the MSM would be all over this….she’s obviously incriminating other lawmakers by saying others were briefed. So why are they not asking who these others are? You know, the who, what, when questions taught in journalism school. Who knew about it and what was told to them by the CIA? I mean if these yahoo’s actually believe waterboarding is torture then the MSM should be screaming the question, as they would with a Republican, why did they not object to it?

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