Tags: CIA Torture Report | George W. Bush | | torture | CIA | techniques | terrorism

CIA's John Rizzo: Pelosi Briefed Before Bush on Terror Techniques

By    |   Friday, 12 Dec 2014 11:11 AM

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was briefed early on about the CIA's enhanced interrogation procedures, despite her claims to the contrary, said former CIA Acting General Counsel John Rizzo.

Pelosi was in the group of officials who were told about the program even before George Tenet, the former director of the CIA, briefed former President George W. Bush, he said Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Story continues below video.

Rizzo said West Virginia Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who has been critical of the torture tactics, also knew about the program soon after it began in the months after the 9/11 attacks.

"There was a procedure called the Gang of Eight, which under extraordinary covert operations, the president can direct that only the leadership, basically, of the Congress, including the heads of the two intelligence committees, are briefed on very sensitive, extraordinarily sensitive operations. And, so that was done," Rizzo said.

Rizzo answered "correct" when asked if Pelosi, a California Democrat, was included among the officials who were told about the interrogation procedures,  and mentioned Rockefeller as well.

"I know Sen. Rockefeller has been out there decrying the morality of the program. He was briefed. He was part of that original Gang of Eight," he said.

Pelosi originally said she was "never" told about the enhanced interrogation techniques, but then claimed that she was told but at the time they first began, according to factcheck.org.

Rizzo said "none of them expressed any concern" about the interrogation procedures, adding that the lawmakers even asked if the CIA needed to do more.

"The sense from all of them in those early, halcyon days was, 'Is this all you're doing? Is this all you need?'" he said.

Rizzo said Bush administration officials initially briefed included Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, but not initially President Bush himself.

He said he would have been "surprised if one or more of them had not told the president about the techniques personally."

The atmosphere at the time was that the Bush administration was getting "hammered, hammered by Congress for having been too risk averse, too timid in the years up to 9/11," Rizzo said.

"We weren't doing what needed to be done. That was at that point in our country's history. That's what we were getting killed for," he said.

Rizzo said while the CIA could have used techniques employed by the FBI called "rapport building," where an investigator tries to get a suspect to "come around and you're his friend," but he wasn't sure that would have worked with "a bunch of psychopathic, unrepentant, lunatic killers."

"How long would it have taken to build rapport with KSM, with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

"And, even if it could have been done, how the hell long would that have taken before he says, 'Oh, geez, I like you guys, I'm going to tell you everything.' It's crazy. It's crazy," Rizzo said.

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was briefed early on about the CIA's enhanced interrogation procedures — even before then President George W. Bush — despite her claims to the contrary, said former CIA Acting General Counsel John Rizzo.
torture, CIA, techniques, terrorism, Congress, Bush
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2014-11-12
Friday, 12 Dec 2014 11:11 AM
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