What did Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., know about waterboarding and when did she know it? Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., says he seen the answers in briefing documents and they should be immediately disclosed to the American people, according to a report in The Hill.
Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, wants the CIA to declassify certain Memoranda for the Record — documents showing what members of Congress were briefed about the severe interrogation techniques used in the war on terrorism.
To that end, Hoekstra has written a letter to CIA Director Leon Panetta and National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair asking that the MFR he read last week be released.
The key memorandum is one concerning a briefing given to Pelosi and her GOP counterpart at the time, Porter Goss, on Sept. 4, 2002, according to a report by SF Gate.
Pelosi is firmly on the record saying that she was told only that so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” could be used — not that they would be. Furthermore, she has highlighted Panetta’s revelation that the briefing notes taken by CIA staff may not be accurate.
Justice Department documents show one terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002, the month before the briefing of Pelosi and Goss.
“The American people should be given the full picture on what was known and agreed to on Capitol Hill on a bipartisan basis about the enhanced interrogation program, Hoekstra said. “I think the administration should review the CIA notes and records from the briefings and, consistent with national security, make them available to the public.”
Hoekstra has stopped just short of calling Pelosi a liar.
That recalcitrance may come from listening to some of her defenders,
According to SF Gate, Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., who also received a briefing, said in a recent interview: “I cannot imagine her telling you something different from reality. And I can tell you that from what I’ve seen, [administration briefers] weren’t necessarily forthcoming on what they do or don’t do.”
Then there is the corroboration from former Florida Sen. Bob Graham. When the Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he received a briefing Sept. 27, 2002. In an interview with The Plumb Line, a Washington Post blog, Graham denied that he was briefed on the techniques.
“I do not have any recollection of being briefed on waterboarding or other forms of extraordinary interrogation techniques, or Abu Zubaydah being subjected to them,” Graham said.
Graham’s version contradicts a CIA timeline sent to the Senate Intelligence Committee last week.
The CIA report noted that Pelosi and Graham were told that harsh techniques “had been employed.”
In any event, Hoekstra wants the smoke cleared from the battlefield.
“I wouldn’t have a problem with the Intelligence Committee or the Judiciary Committee having hearings on this,” he said. “[House Judiciary Committee Chairman] John Conyers [Jr., D-Mich.,] wants to have hearings, they shouldn’t call in the Department of Justice attorneys as their first witnesses. The first people that should be called in and held
accountable ought to be Congress.”
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