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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pelosi May 2002 Statement Casts Further Doubt On Her Claims

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has denied being briefed in September 2002 about the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah. Pelosi claims she was told that the technique had not been used (when in fact it had been used a month earlier). Pelosi uses this September 2002 briefing, and the alleged concealment of waterboarding, to support her claim that the CIA misled Congress.

Pelosi says she first learned of the waterboarding in February 2003, when her aide was briefed on the issue, and relayed the information to her. CIA Director Leon Panetta states that CIA records show that Pelosi was in fact briefed on the techniques used on Zubaydah at the September 2002 briefing.

We do not know at this time what other records exist showing what was said at the September 2002 briefing, but this quotation from Pelosi in May 2002 lends credibility to the CIA's account. Pelosi clearly was being kept apprised of the specific details Zubaybah's interrogation and the difficulty of getting Zubaydah to give up all he knew.

In May 2002, the government announced a terror alert based in part on information Zubaydah had revealed about attacks on the Brooklyn Bridge and other landmarks, although Zubaydah was being evasive as to whether there was an active plan. Pelosi was quoted as being aware of the details of the interrogation (italics in quotation mine):
CNN.com, May 22, 2002: Last Monday night, the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force--a round-the-clock operation at the New York field office of the FBI--got a call from FBI headquarters. Abu Zubaydah, the highest al-Qaeda official to be captured by the U.S., had told interrogators that he had heard other Osama bin Laden loyalists discussing attacks on the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and other U.S. landmarks. But, a federal law-enforcement official told TIME, Abu Zubaydah had said the conversations took place a while back and claimed he knew of no particular plan. Since his capture in March, Abu Zubaydah has shared some valuable information, says a senior U.S. intelligence source. "He's not b.s.ing us on everything." Then again, says Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, "he is also very skilled at avoiding interrogation. He is an agent of disinformation."
So as of May 2002, Pelosi knew the details of the interrogation of Zubaydah, and the problems the CIA was encountering due to Zubaydah's evasiveness. It does not take any leap of imagination to believe that Pelosi, then the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, would have been kept informed of the progress of the interrogation, including the use of waterboarding months later.

It would take an incredible leap of imagination to believe that the CIA would tell Pelosi about all the problems with the interrogation of Zubaydah, but not tell her what was being done to solve those problems. Particularly when the waterboarding revealed that the plot against the Brooklyn Bridge, about which Pelosi publicly spoke, was revealed to be real based on information Zubaydah provided after being waterboarded.

A leap of imagination is exactly what Pelosi is asking us to do with her ever-changing explanations.

Related Posts:
►Pelosi Accuses CIA Of Lying
►Dems Lack Waterboarding Exit Strategy
►Pelosi Surrounds Herself With Herself

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  1. Why is it that when George Bush says "We do not torture" the majority of Republicans supported that stance, (The idea being, were better then them.) And now, some 9 years later when we find out Bush was lying, and he did indeed torture, those same republicans are saying "We have to torture for national security."

    Is it that republicans don't actually know what they think is right and wrong and simply follow their party leaders? It seems like, if I was a republican, I would have to be angry about one of the two very different sides of Bush.

    Anyways, as a christian, and a human being, I believe anyone who knew about torture, and condoned it should be prosecuted, including Nancy Pelosi, and George Bush. That's why I supported Bush when he made that statement, and that's why I am angry with him now that it turns out he was lying.

  2. It would take an incredible leap of imagination to believe that the CIA would tell Pelosi about all the problems with the interrogation of Zubaydah, but not tell her what was being done to solve those problems.Well, no it wouldn't, if the CIA was determined to keep their use of torture secret. The allegation is that the CIA was being less than truthful, so why wouldn't they simply fail to mention that they tried torture too?

    I don't see how this whole brouhaha gets past a he-said, she-said impasse. And it really doesn't matter; what matters in the end is that the Bush administration authorized torture in order to extract false confessions linking Iraq to al Qaeda and create a pretext to invade a sovereign nation that neither had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks, nor was an "imminent threat". Congratulations on getting distracted by the shiny object.

  3. The best defense is a good offense, and the media are all too happy to carry the Republican Party's water on the torture issue.

  4. I have trouble believing that Reign2020 and DWBH are as ignorant as they are pretending to be.

    Their games with semantics are transparent to anyone who is not half-brain dead. Simply calling something torture repeatedly does not make it torture.

    When Bush said we don't torture, it was because he did not consider water boarding torture. Those in favor of water boarding, have been in favor of it all along because they do not believe it is torture. That is a consistent principled position whether you agree with the premise or not.

    What is inconsistent is Democrat leadership, such as Nancy Pelosi, authorizing a technique, which they now claim is torture. Either it isn't torture, or they approved of torture. In order to maintain consistency they have to be wrong either then or now. But they are too arrogant and apparently foolish to just admit that they were wrong.

    Although to admit that they were wrong would also be to admit that they were playing politics with national security, either then or now. Whichever time it was, it is reprehensible.

    This issue is not the shiny object. It is what is exposing the fact that Pelosi and her ilk were putting their own political careers over the well being of our country.

    Professor Jacobson is absolutely right. She should resign immediately and apologize to her constituency for her duplicity.

  5. I... I didn't realize their was still a debate on the waterboarding=torture idea. I assumed common sense won that one.

    "Enhanced interrogations" is just word play, with no real definition. Torture, on the other hand, has a definition. Let me cite it for you.

    Torture: (verb) to afflict with severe pain of body or mind.

    Now, these terrorist... we wern't poking them in the arm over and over again saying "tell me" we were making them feel like they are drowning. which, if not physical pain, is mental pain. To claim waterboarding isn't torture is ignorance of the definition of the word. I mean, you would have to be a complete idiot not to-

    Wait.. I understand now. Bush didn't know what Torture meant. The word was to big for him.


  7. Reign2020: if you're going to argue this credibly then I think you ought to work it from the other direction. So fine, you believe waterboarding is torture. Can you give us an idea of the most aggressive form of interrogation that *doesn't* constitute torture? How harshly are we allowed to interrogate? What's the most severe thing you believe we should have been doing to Abu Zubadaiyah to convince him to talk?

  8. Erin, here is an amusing (and failed) attempt by Eric Holder to distinguish between SERE training and actual interrogation.

  9. Erin, you accidently hit caps lock there. It looks silly, so try typing it like a normal adult.

    mcg, All I'm saying is Bush said we didn't torture people, and the fact is, by the definition of torture, we did. It's like when Clinton said he did not have sex with Lewinsky. He obviously did, but "by his definition" he didn't. People shouldn't just "redefine" words to fit their point of view. All I'm saying is, go ahead, attack Nancy Pelosi. I will too. Just, remember, Bush authorized torture, and then said he didn't. Right or wrong, he lied.

    Also, as to how far would I go to interrogate someone? Well, that's a hard question. I can't make that kind of decision. I mean, not without consulting an ethics advisor, probably a religious figure. But really, I don't know. Whatever I did, I wouldn't hide it by playing semantics, and I would face my critic's like a man.

  10. Ah, how the reasoning is tortured.

    It is strange that the Laws of War and the Laws of Peace as given by Grotius have been known for centuries, and known any enemy that acts in a warlike fashion falls under them. That is well understood.

    Then under the Great Peace of Westphalia we see how State and Church are given separate domains, due to the high percentage killed doing otherwise being quite abhorrent to us all. From that we fall under the Law of Nations, which, indeed tells us what Nations are, how they act and what our responsibilities are. This, too, is known for centuries by now, though few read of the work itself.

    The modern Hague and Geneva Conventions rest on those understandings, and they do not cover such as those captured, and the direction of one of the greatest Presidents makes this clear and that clarity still exists... if we ever bothered to read the work involved.

    From that we can also gather that those who are called Pirates fall into the class of those who wage Private War, that is understood by Blackstone who gave us this:

    "LASTLY, the crime of piracy, or robbery and depredation upon the high seas, is an offense against the universal law of society; a pirate being, according to Sir Edward Coke,10 hostis humani generis [enemy to mankind]. As therefore he has renounced all the benefits of society and government, and has reduced himself afresh to the savage state of nature, by declaring war against all mankind, all mankind must declare war against him: so that every community has a right, by the rule of self-defense, to inflict that punishment upon him, which every individual would in a state of nature have been otherwise entitled to do, any invasion of his person or personal property."

    And while we take our Admiralty basis from William, who aptly Conquered, Sir Coke is given right approbrium in our Supreme Court from the earliest days as his reasoning is clean and clear on the matter. Thus as the good and enlightened Christians in Geneva were not castigated for going after those who took over their city, and they were quite brutal and vicious with them, we understand that those who revert to the Laws of Nature are those that have divorced themselves from society and wage war upon all mankind to their own end.

    At any time they can submit to civil law and face tribunal for their heinous actions. When they do not and are captured under the Laws of War, then the Law of Nations rightly puts them outside civil proceedings, save when we needs must make demonstration of them to discourage other savages or those becoming such. If they have information we need, then temporary continuance of their life is necessary.

    KSM, who disdains all laws and authority, tells us he tires of our games of rights and that we should do as we are bidden to do. And yet we quaver and do not. That is not civilized.

    Torture of savage man?

    Shall we prosecute under cruelty to animals?

    That is not asked in jest, but in all seriousness as the Christian foundation of the modern Westphalian Nation State and its directives under the Laws developed by good Christians over centuries, abided by our forefathers at the Founding, by Lincoln and onwards all adhered to them, read their Blackstone and Vattel and understood their duties. The military orders under Lincoln continued on over 30 years past the end of the Civil War... Yet I never thought of him as uncivilized, no matter how brutal the war was that had to be fought.

    How could a good Christian walk away from centuries of understanding, indeed understanding and wisdom that goes back at least as far as the late Bronze Age? Further, actually, if we can read the movements of the ancients correctly. Confronting savage man to protect our society is the basis of our society: disdain it and we are on the road to savagery ourselves.

    I do worry about the impact of getting such information has upon our men and women who must get it. Given the brutal savagery our enemies revert to, I cannot afford them niceness of civil law... unless our reason for putting them on such display is so compelling as to over-rule our good sense and adhering to the civilized laws of war that we know and enjoy for centuries. Our enemies certainly know them... and want nothing of them, which tells me exactly what they are.

  11. Well, Reign2020, you've exposed yourself as the moral coward I thought you were. For goodness' sake, I wasn't expecting something so definitive you'd stake your immortal soul on it. But if you're not willing to concede that it would be permissible to cause some pain and discomfort in order to elicit information from an Abu Zubadaiya, then frankly you have no grounds to make any pronouncements as to what is torture and what is not.

    The fact of the matter is that the definition of torture you have provided is necessarily subjective. What, exactly, constitutes "severe"? If you're not willing to offer an example of what constitutes pain and suffering that doesn't rise to the level of torture, why should you be offered any credibility when you so categorically claim that waterboarding is torture? You're unwilling to participate in the actual debate, only to offer unsupported judgements. And yet the people who were actually involved in these decisions went through considerable deliberation and analysis to arrive at their conclusions. We're supposed to take your word over theirs?

  12. As a disabled veteran having served in Iraq, and with 12 years in the military this whole thing makes me laugh. We are not talking about criminals here, we are talking about religious zealots/fanatics that want to kill anyone who doesn't convert to their beliefs. There is no negotiations or middle ground with them, it is either kill them to the last or they will continue to spew their hate filled message and try to rebuild their ranks.

    So they got a little water poured on them, and it scared them. If it saved one innocent life then it is worth it. They are not soldiers and they didn't sign the Geneva Convention, so they are entitled to no protection under it. They are not citizens of this country, so to my thinking they have no constitutional rights.

    You have our military that are stretched to the limits doing multiple tours in combat zones, but all the liberal whiners can do is worry about these scumbags? What about our troops and their families that have kids who barely know their father/mother because they have been deployed multiple times over the past 8 years? How about picking up a weapon and standing a post, so they can stand down? Maybe then any of democrats will earn some of my respect, and see how they enjoy the media's Monday morning quarterbacking when a mission goes wrong.

    Maybe it is time that people really rethink our priorities? Try caring about our own instead of these vermin, and we might be started on the right track.

  13. Reign2020, like I said before. I have trouble believing that you are as ignorant as you pretend to be. Simply stating you definition of torture, interpreted as you think it should be interpreted, demonstrates an incredible lack of intellectual curiosity. Why even bother stating your point when it is so weak. Why join a discussion that you have no intentions of contributing anything meaningful to?

    The fact is that your definition and interpretation of torture are not the legal definition or interpretation. Professor Jacobson has already discussed and disposed of this issue, in his post:


    the legal definition of torture is found in:

    18 U.S.C. sec. 2340

    As used in this chapter--

    (1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

    (2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from--
    (A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
    (B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
    (C) the threat of imminent death; or
    (D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and

    (3) “United States” means the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States.

    If you read that post you will notice that not only is your definition inaccurate, but the interpretation is hardly clear or settled. Specifically, the legal definition of torture requires the person to intentionally inflict SEVERE pain and suffering of a PROLONGED nature. Seeing as we subject our own soldiers to this treatment, it is doubtful that it would have such effects. Therefore, water boarding is far from a resolved issue. The fact that YOU have resolved the issue in YOUR own intellectually incurious mind, does not mean the rest of this country has.

    The fact remains that those who authorized water boarding and maintain that is not torture are making an intellectually consistent argument whether you agree with the premise behind it or not. However, Speaker Pelosi who authorized what she apparently thinks is torture has a lot of explaining to do.

  14. The two naive kids who first posted have the same rationale as ThinkProgress (which I posted on). We think it is, so it is, now do what we want.

    That just doesn't work in the real world, kiddos.

  15. Grinder, how often do you smoke crack? One thing the MSM has never done is carry the water for Republicans. Maybe Pelois, Reid et.al, but not Republicans.