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May 22, 2009
Speaker Pelosi Can’t Have It Both Ways
The debate concerning
what Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) knew about the CIA’s enhanced
interrogation techniques, and when she knew it, makes great political
theater, but simultaneously erodes the nation’s ability to defend itself.
At the heart of the
argument between Speaker Pelosi and the CIA is if she was told specifically
that waterboarding had been used against several high-value terrorist
detainees, or that it was merely a Justice Department-cleared technique that
could be used in the future. In an awkward news conference last week, she
attempted to distance herself from a CIA memorandum that made it clear she
was briefed that waterboarding had been performed. In a desperate act of
self-preservation, she lashed out at the CIA and accused it of lying, and
said that the agency had “misled the Congress of the United States.” This is
a serious criminal allegation.
Whether she was told
that waterboarding either had or could be used on detainees is completely
irrelevant. Both sides agree that she knew the technique was now in an
interrogator’s tool box to use, and she did not voice any objection to it at
Fast forward several
years. The Speaker knew that waterboarding had provided the government with
valuable intelligence about the leadership of the Al Qaeda network and had
prevented or disrupted several potentially devastating attacks on America.
Now she, along with other liberals, seeks to ensure that waterboarding is
never used again simply because it was proven to be effective.
Why couldn’t the
Speaker just say that she abhorred waterboarding, but because many in the
Intelligence Community thought a second attack was imminent, it was
necessary for the security of the country? But she, along with other
liberals, never let national security get in the way of partisan politics.
Instead, Speaker Pelosi
wants it both ways. Now that her tacit approval of the techniques has come
out, she insists she did not know that waterboarding had already been
employed, as if that makes a difference. In an effort to continue
dismantling all effective national security programs, she insists that the
CIA deceived her and misled Congress. Whether she realizes it or not,
constantly bashing the CIA does nothing to enhance the agency’s morale or
effectiveness. It only serves to embolden our enemies when they see the
nation’s intelligence collectors handcuffed and demoralized.
In another attempt to
have it both ways, she said in a press release, “We all share great respect
for the dedicated men and women of the intelligence community who are deeply
committed to the safety and security of the American people. My criticism of
the manner in which the Bush Administration did not appropriately inform
Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community
who work to keep our country safe.” I think it’s obvious to the judges on
American Idol that the Speaker is singing a different tune since briefed
on waterboarding, by claiming the CIA and George W. Bush misled her. Who is
CIA Director and fellow
Monterey County resident Leon Panetta released a statement backing up the
claim that his agency briefed her that waterboarding had taken place. He’s
one of the few Democrats in the Obama Administration who has shown adult
leadership. Is the Speaker going to accuse him of a cover up?
actions have forfeited her right to be Speaker of the House. Her statements
raise legitimate questions about her integrity and validate the stereotype
that most Democrats are consistently soft on national defense. She needs to
step down and reflect on why a power-hungry politician should not seek
political cover by attacking the country’s defenders.
Gregory D. Lee is a nationally syndicated columnist for North
Star Writers Group. Readers can contact him at email@example.com.
© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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