Thursday, May 21, 2009
Factchecking Pelosi and the CIA
by Larry Geller
It’s confusing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did change her story and is contradicted by a CIA memo. But parts of that memo were discovered to be incorrect. It wouldn’t be the first time that the CIA lied.
Through the narrow window of short newspaper articles it’s hard to get the full picture of this confusing situation. Through the tinted glass of Fox News little truth is likely to be discernable either. So this analysis by factcheck.org is very welcome. Snipped from the middle:
So whose story should we believe? The politician who has changed her story already? Or the government agency with its specific time line supported by one of the lawmakers it briefed and also by Panetta? Normally we'd say that's a pretty easy call. But things aren't quite so simple. There are reasons for thinking that the CIA memos aren't all that reliable either.
For one thing, while Panetta says the CIA's 10-page summary of briefings is "the most thorough information we have," he also admits the possibility that it may not be entirely correct.
And sure enough, three different legislators have disputed various details in the CIA's account of the briefings. Former Sen. Bob Graham, a Democrat who in September 2002 served as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in an interview with the Huffington Post that prior to the release of the memo, the CIA initially told him that CIA records indicated he'd been briefed four times on torture policies. Graham, however, has rather famously chronicled pretty much every aspect of his life (right down to, say, what he puts in his pockets each day) since his first run for governor of Florida in 1977. Graham checked his notebooks and discovered that, in fact, he was briefed only once, on Sept. 27, 2002. Graham said he informed CIA officials of the discrepancy, telling NPR that after the agency reviewed its records "they indicated that I was correct. Their information was in error. There was no briefing on the first three of four dates."
So what is the conclusion? Normally, factcheck.org is able to tell us, but this time, it’s up to Congress and to us.
Should Pelosi resign? Only if all the Republican insiders who had knowledge of waterboarding and the torture program go first, IMHO.
That's fair. The Republicans were in charge of the torture, not the Democrats. My preference would be to work on those folks first. But I'll go along with your comment. Anyone in government who knew and who failed to speak out at least is complicit.
I suppose the issue is accountability, regardless of party. Also issues of justice. Pelosi is complicated. She said that impeachment wasn't on the table. Did she know Bush was torturing at the time? If so, Bush and Pelosi could be tried side-by-side, that's fine with me.