House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is accusing the CIA of deliberately misleading Congress about the torture of foreign prisoners. Pelosi made the charge Thursday in acknowledging she first learned of the waterboarding of CIA prisoners in 2003. Republicans have pointed to Pelosi’s involvement in torture briefings to deflect scrutiny of Bush administration officials. This week, the CIA released documents showing Pelosi was briefed on CIA waterboarding in September 2002. But Pelosi insisted she was told waterboarding wasn’t being used then and said secrecy rules forced her to remain silent when she learned more details several months later.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “The CIA briefed me only once on enhanced interrogation techniques in September 2002 in my capacity as ranking member of the Intelligence Committee. I was informed then that the Department of Justice opinions had concluded that the use of enhanced interrogation techniques were legal. The only mention of waterboarding at that briefing was that it was not being employed.”
Pelosi has called on the CIA to release detailed records of her 2002 briefing. The CIA, meanwhile, has denied a request from former Vice President Dick Cheney to release full records of prisoner interrogations to prove Bush administration torture tactics yielded valuable intelligence. Critics have dismissed Cheney’s call as political posturing because of the likelihood the CIA would reject his request.