Tags: hoekstra | pelosi | torture

Hoekstra Calls for Hearings on Pelosi 'Torture' Claims

Friday, 08 May 2009 04:09 PM

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Congressman Pete Hoekstra is calling for the release of more CIA documents, and perhaps even congressional hearings, to determine what fellow lawmakers such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew about CIA interrogation methods like waterboarding.

Hoekstra, R-Mich., the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, says the record is now clear that Pelosi lied when she said she knew nothing about the harsh interrogation techniques.

"Clearly her left wing is outraged that waterboarding was used," Hoekstra told The Hill. "The bottom line is she and her key staff, they all knew about it."

Hoekstra says he wants additional CIA documents made public, including several that give a more complete account of what was discussed in congressional briefings. He's also not ruling out hearings on what members knew and when they knew it.

"I wouldn't have a problem with the intelligence committee or the Judiciary Committee having hearings on this," he said. "If [House Judiciary Chairman] John Conyers [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."

Hoekstra also indicated he is considering sending Conyers a letter requesting such hearings.

"He now has a list of who should be the first witnesses," Hoekstra added.

Pelosi has been under fire since it was revealed late Thursday that she was thoroughly briefed in September 2002 that CIA interrogators were waterboarding terrorist Abu Zubaydah, according to report from the National Intelligence Director's Office that Fox News and other agencies obtained.

The revelations completely contradict Pelosi’s repeated assertions that she knew nothing about “harsh interrogation” measures being carried out on enemy combatants.

The 10-page report, submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee and other Capitol Hill officials Wednesday, refutes in considerable detail Pelosi’s statement last month that she was never told about the use of waterboarding or other special interrogation tactics.

According to the report, Pelosi was told of the techniques used against Zubaydah during a Sept. 4, 2002, meeting with intelligence officials, then-House intelligence committee chairman Porter Goss, and two aides. At the time, Pelosi was the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

See the National Intelligence report — Click Here Now

Pelosi has said repeatedly that she was told only that the Bush administration had legal opinions that would have supported the use of such techniques. But CIA leaders have maintained that Pelosi and other Democrats who have been protesting recently about the use of enhanced interrogation knew about it all along.

The section containing details about the meeting is titled, "Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of particular EITs that had been employed."

EITs stand for "enhanced interrogation techniques," a classification of special interrogation tactics that includes waterboarding.

According to the interrogation memos the Obama administration released last month, Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002.

The report also details 40 meetings with members of Congress — though not with Pelosi present — during which the use of waterboarding and other interrogation techniques was described, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s chairman and ranking member, Bob Graham and Richard Shelby, were given a briefing similar to the one with Pelosi and Goss on Sept. 27, 2002, according to the report.

Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly told The Hill Pelosi stands by her account of when she learned about waterboarding.

"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," said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly.

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