Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pelosi in Trouble? Or Just Going to Blow Over?

Republicans opposing efforts to pursue legal action against government lawyers who signed off on waterboarding and other controversial interrogation techniques used in the wake of 9/11 have settled on a high profile target - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In the latest game of "What did she know and when?", Republicans claim Democrats' outrage is hypocritical because Pelosi and other Democrats were briefed on waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" back in 2002 and 2003 and did not raise objections.

In an April 23, 2009 press conference, Pelosi was asked if, during the fall of 2002, she and other key members of the Intelligence Committee, were briefed on interrogation methods, including waterboarding.


At PolitiFact, we normally would be reluctant to make a Truth-O-Meter ruling in a he-said, she-said situation, but in this case, the evidence goes beyond the competing accounts from Pelosi and Goss. We are persuaded by the CIA timeline, which the agency says is based on "an extensive review of (the CIA's) electronic and hardcopy files."

It's also important to note that the timeline that contradicts Pelosi was put together at the behest of an administration controlled by her own party. That document provides compelling -- albeit sparsely worded -- evidence that Pelosi's recollection is incorrect. There may be further evidence on this that emerges in the future. Rep, Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, has asked Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and CIA Director Leon Panetta to release the CIA briefing notes that the timeline is based on. We reserve the right to change our ruling if new information emerges that contradicts the CIA timeline, but for now, we rule Pelosi's statement False.

Will this actually blow up on Pelosi or is it just some hot air? I've not heard much in the Bay about it either way except on TV...and not on any local channels. Not that I watch local news much.

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