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|An inconvenient truth|
Sometimes in Washington politicians fail to realize when the time has arrived to shut up.
That obviously was the case last week when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a long-winded news conference, claiming Central Intelligence Agency officials misled her. According to Pelosi, CIA misled her some seven years ago when she was briefed about interrogation tactics the agency employed to obtain information from individuals suspected of being involved in terrorist activities. We have since learned the interrogation tactics involved torture.
Pelosi supposedly was "misled" at a meeting among her, one of her aides, former Congressman Peter Goss, one of Goss' aides and officials from CIA. Goss, who later became director at CIA, chaired the House Intelligence Committee at the time. Pelosi was the ranking minority member of the committee.
As is the norm when CIA is involved in affairs it feels its oversight committees in the Congress need to know about, the chairmen and ranking minority members of the committees in the House and Senate are brought up to speed on the affairs in question. In the case concerning Goss and Pelosi, CIA briefed them about the agency's efforts to gleam information from people who possibly could shed some light on any potential threats to the United States, its citizens and the U.S. military. Remember, the briefing occurred not long after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. The briefing also occurred while the U.S. military was already conducting covert activities in Afghanistan and was prepping to do battle in Iraq as the war on terror picked up steam.
Goss and his aide say they vividly recall CIA officials informing them that CIA was torturing suspected terrorists.
Pelosi claims she does not recall torture being discussed at the meeting. Her aide, who was present at the so-called "misleading" briefing, has been unavailable to give us his side of the story.
How convenient for Pelosi.
What was not convenient for Pelosi was a rebuttal offered by Leon Panetta, the current director at CIA. Panetta, who was appointed by President Obama, says he stands by CIA's assessment that Pelosi was made well aware some seven years ago that CIA tortured suspected terrorists. She apparently approved of the torture tactics, too.
Questions of whether Pelosi was aware some seven years ago that CIA was torturing suspected terrorists surfaced as some Democrats in the Congress demanded that former Bush administration officials be prosecuted for their involvement in torturing people suspected of terrorist activities. Let us recall that it has become chic as of late in Washington to denounce tactics the Bush administration used to combat terror following 9/11.
It does not surprise us that some Democrats in the Congress now claim torture is unacceptable. They have a long and storied track record of losing their edge, so to speak, when the mood of the country becomes a bit soft.
Yet, Democrats would do well to drop any efforts to prosecute former Bush administration officials for doing what they felt was needed to ensure the country's national security in the wake of 9/11. After all, besides Pelosi, how many Democrats were aware of the torture tactics CIA used to obtain information from terrorists?
We suspect that Democrats who may have been aware of CIA operatives using torture tactics have no desire to stand before the American people to answer that question, especially since Democrats would have us believe now that they are above all of those nasty activities in the intelligence business such as waterboarding and the like.
That brings us back to Pelosi.
While we appreciate the House Speaker's commitment to stand tall as a leader for liberals from sea to shining to sea, she needs to come clean and acknowledge what it obvious to us—she was well aware long ago that CIA tortured suspected terrorists and other enemy combatants.
If she continues to deny it, we are left to wonder whether she's hard of hearing or stupid or just a bald-faced liar.