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The Politics of Liberal Amnesia

  1. The Politics of Liberal Amnesia


    By BRET STEPHENS

    Nancy Pelosi is "pushing back" against charges that she was aware of -- and acquiesced in -- the CIA's harsh interrogations of terrorist detainees nearly from the moment the practice began, reports the Politico Web site. Maybe she's suffering from amnesia.
    [Global View] AP

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

    Maybe, for instance, the speaker doesn't remember that in September 2002, as ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, she was one of four members of Congress who were briefed by the CIA about the interrogation methods the agency was using on leading detainees. "For more than an hour," the Washington Post reported in 2007, "the bipartisan group . . . was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

    "Among the techniques described," the story continued, "was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder."

    Or maybe the speaker never heard what some of her Democratic colleagues were saying about legal niceties getting in the way of an effective counterterrorism strategy.

    "Unfortunately, we are not living in times in which lawyers can say no to an operation just to play it safe," said Democrat Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during the 2002 confirmation hearing of Scott Muller to be the CIA's general counsel. "We need excellent, aggressive lawyers who give sound, accurate legal advice, not lawyers who say no to an otherwise legal opinion just because it is easier to put on the brakes."

    Or maybe the speaker forgot that after 9/11, the operative question among Americans, including various media paladins, wasn't whether the Bush administration had gone overboard. On the contrary:

    "I asked the president whether he and the country had done enough for the war on terror," writes Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in his book "Bush at War." "The possibility of another major attack still loomed. . . . Was it not possible that he had undermobilized given the threat and the devastation of September 11?" (My emphases.)

    Or maybe the speaker missed what former CIA Director (and Bill Clinton appointee) George Tenet writes in his memoir, "At the Center of the Storm," about the CIA interrogation of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed:

    "I believe none of these successes [in foiling terrorist plots] would have happened if we had had to treat KSM like a white-collar criminal -- read him his Miranda rights and get him a lawyer who surely would have insisted his client simply shut up. In his initial interrogation by CIA officers, KSM was defiant. 'I'll talk to you guys,' he said, 'after I get to New York and see my lawyer.' Apparently he thought he would be immediately shipped to the United States and indicted in the Southern District of New York. Had that happened, I am confident that we would have obtained none of the information he had in his head about imminent threats to the American people."

    Mr. Tenet continues: "From our interrogation of KSM and other senior al Qaeda members . . . we learned many things -- not just tactical information leading to the next capture. For example, more than 20 plots had been put in motion by al Qaeda against U.S. infrastructure targets, including communications nodes, nuclear power plants, dams, bridges and tunnels."

    Maybe, too, the speaker no longer recalls what she knew, and when, about the Bush administration's other much-reviled counterterrorist program, the warrantless wiretaps.

    "Within weeks of the program's inception," writes Mr. Tenet, "senior congressional leaders were called to the White House and briefed on it. . . . At one point in 2004 there was even a discussion with the congressional leadership in the White House Situation Room with regard to whether new legislation should be introduced to amend the FISA statute, to put the program on a broader legal foundation. The view that day on the part of members of Congress was that this could not be done without jeopardizing the program."

    Maybe, finally, the speaker has forgotten the role that previous grand congressional inquisitions played in gutting U.S. intelligence.

    "After the Watergate era," the bipartisan 9/11 Commission reported, "Congress established oversight committees to ensure that the CIA did not undertake covert action contrary to basic American law. . . . During the 1990s, tension sometimes arose, as it did in the effort against al Qaeda, between policy makers who wanted the CIA to undertake more aggressive covert action and wary CIA leaders who counseled prudence and making sure that the legal basis and presidential authorization for their actions were undeniably clear."

    The speaker and her partisans are the current beneficiaries of this politics of amnesia. It won't be so forever. And when the time comes to pay the price for their forgetfulness, it will not be small.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124087384453961191.html#printMode
     
  2. When you go after your political enemies it is often funny how the course changes and you end up being the one on the defensive. Ask Newt.
     
  3. Excellent post. It will undoubtedly be ignored by the moonbats, or they will attempt to come up with a feeble excuse for Pelosi's sudden memory lapses.
     
  4. This is just another example of why you cannot trust liberals with national security issues.
     
  5. but you can trust guys who presented false pretenses for war and then fkd it up for 7 yrs and cost taxpayers 2 trillion dollars unable to find a 6'6 guy in the mideast!Who do you trust again?
     
  6. This is just another example of why you cannot trust liberals with national security issues.

    CIA Says Pelosi Was Briefed on Use of 'Enhanced Interrogations'

    By Paul Kane
    Intelligence officials released documents this evening saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was briefed in September 2002 about the use of harsh interrogation tactics against al-Qaeda prisoners, seemingly contradicting her repeated statements over the past 18 months that she was never told that these techniques were actually being used.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitol-briefing/2009/05/cia_says_pelosi_was_briefed_on.html
     
  7. Good of the washington post to bury the story on their website.

    I suspect the CIA will provide a steady stream of information on the scumbag-idiot leftists, and the storyline will strangely change to what a prudent strategy it is was to extract information from these terrorists without doing any physical harm.

    Has anyone, anywhere seen an opposing view about global warming in the MSM? Answer, NO. Why bother, its only a tool to impose a tax on literally everything, everywhere.
     
  8. blah,blah...more idiocy from a hillbilly drunk on stupidity...
    Do you also protest for having the opposing view that the earth is round or that cigarettes cause cancer?
    You give dumb a good name.
     

  9. the earth is clearly round... cigarettes do cause cancer. BUT THEY ARE NOT "ADDICTIVE"... (i smoked for ten years, and quit easily, so fuck off)



    as for being a hillbilly.... well, lets just see where the "Torture" trials go from here. Me suspects the same place the idiotic global warming theory will become.... A Laughingstock Of Liberal Stupidity.
     
  10. I don't believe you actually read what you quoted. Nancy Pelosi wasn't even the minority leader let alone the majority leader in September, 2002, when she was briefed. The briefing was a description of EIT and it claimed that water boarding was legal but not used.

     
  11.  
  12. Pelosi keeps digging a deeper hole.

    Pelosi: Torture protest improper in '03
    By: Glenn Thrush and John Bresnahan
    May 11, 2009 08:14 PM EST

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi learned in early 2003 that the Bush administration was waterboarding terror detainees but didn’t protest directly out of respect for “appropriate” legislative channels, a person familiar with the situation said Monday.

    The Pelosi camp’s version of events is intended to answer two key questions posed by her critics: When, precisely, did she first learn about waterboarding? And why didn’t she do more to stop it?

    Pelosi has disputed a CIA document, released last week, that shows she was briefed in September 2002 on the “particular” interrogation techniques the United States had used on Al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah. Pelosi has said she was told then only that the Bush administration was considering using certain techniques in the future — and that it had the legal authority to do so.

    But there’s no dispute that on Feb. 4, 2003 — five months after Pelosi’s September meeting — CIA officials briefed Pelosi aide Michael Sheehy and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), then the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, on the specific techniques that had been used on Zubaydah — including waterboarding.

    Harman was so alarmed by what she had heard, she drafted a short letter to the CIA’s general counsel to express “profound” concerns with the tactic — going so far as to ask if waterboarding had been personally “approved by the president.”

    According to the Pelosi confidant, Sheehy told Pelosi about the briefing — and later informed Pelosi, the newly elected minority leader, that Harman was drafting a protest letter. Pelosi told Sheehy to tell Harman that she agreed with the letter, the Pelosi insider said. But she did not ask to be listed as a signatory on the letter, the source said, and there is no reference to her in it.

    Pelosi and Harman, sometimes bitter rivals, have still not discussed the controversy since it broke three weeks ago, according to Democratic insiders.

    Sheehy has not responded to several calls and e-mails seeking comment on what he told Pelosi during this period. But the Pelosi confidant — who spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity — insisted that Pelosi did all that she could have done.

    “She felt that the appropriate response was the letter from Harman, because Jane was the one who was briefed,” said the person. Pelosi “never got briefed on it personally, and when Harman got a ‘no response’ from the CIA, there was nothing more that could be done.”

    Republicans aren’t buying it.

    “If Nancy was so concerned about the waterboarding, why did she let someone else write the letter?” asked Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the intelligence committee. “If she was so upset, why did she let someone else raise objections?”

    Hoekstra has asked the CIA for documents on its congressional briefings, and he told POLITICO Monday that he has made a request for e-mails from agency staffers detailing their interactions with Pelosi and other House and Senate members. Steve Elmendorf, who served as chief of staff to former Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), said that coming so soon after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it would have been difficult politically for Pelosi to do more to protest interrogation techniques the Bush administration was using.

    “You have to remember, in the 2002 period, the whole atmospherics, it was all about scaring people every day,” said Elmendorf. “People were legitimately concerned that we were going to be attacked again, and there was a constant drumbeat coming from the Bush administration of, ‘Bad things could happen, bad things could happen.’ Nobody wants it to happen on their watch.”

    Republicans have found a rare avenue of attack against Pelosi over the waterboarding briefing, at a time when the speaker is ramming through paradigm-shifting legislative proposals on behalf of the Obama administration. That grilling is likely to continue today when the speaker returns from a grueling weekend trip to Baghdad.

    Still, Democrats are rallying to the speaker — and questioning the accuracy of the CIA’s description of its congressional briefings.

    An aide to former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) took issue Monday with the entry for a Feb. 4, 2003, briefing in which a Rockefeller staffer was reportedly told “how the water board was used.”

    “We are not in a position to vouch for the accuracy of the document,” a Rockefeller spokeswoman said. He “has repeatedly stated he was not told critical information that would have cast significant doubt on the program’s legality and effectiveness.”

    Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time Pelosi was briefed, told The Washington Post’s PlumLine blog that he wasn’t told of waterboarding then, either — despite a Sept. 27, 2002, briefing entry indicating he was given details of Zubaydah’s interrogation.

    “I do not have any recollection of being briefed on waterboarding or other forms of extraordinary interrogation techniques, or Abu Zubaydah being subjected to them,” said Graham, adding: “Something as unexpected and dramatic as that would be the kind of thing that you would normally expect to recall even years later.”

    Even so, Democratic insiders acknowledge that Pelosi has not handled the media furor surrounding the interrogation briefings — and what she was told and when — in a timely or aggressive manner.

    “I don’t know whether the story is overplayed or they’re misjudging it,” said a Democratic leadership aide. “I don’t know, maybe they haven’t been aggressive enough.”

    This aide added: “I think they’re good at walking and chewing gum — that’s not the problem. I don’t think they recognized that this issue has the legs that it does.”

    http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=32281678-18FE-70B2-A8A73217F610D179
     

  13. as for being a hillbilly.... well, lets just see where the "Torture" trials go from here. Me suspects the same place the idiotic global warming theory will become.... A Laughingstock Of Liberal Stupidit


    Just read today Australia dropped plans for "cap and trade" (guess why?). Europe has so many exceptions in their "cap and trade scheme" that it doesn't make any difference (guess why?).

    Our POTUS is a dogmatic imbecil so it will take a while before he figures out WHY.
    But then again, so far, everything suggests that mullato never heard of the word COST.
     
  14. "This aide added: “I think they’re good at walking and chewing gum — that’s not the problem. I don’t think they recognized that this issue has the legs that it does.” "

    What he is trying to say is that Pelosi expected the democrats media allies to deep six any mention of her being briefed. Make it a non-story, like they have done embarrassing stuff for the Kennedys and Clintons over the years.