Top legislators knew of interrogations CIA held dozens of briefings on techniques By Kara Rowland (Contact) | Thursday, April 23, 2009 The CIA briefed top Democrats and Republicans on the congressional intelligence committees more than 30 times about enhanced interrogation techniques, according to intelligence sources who said the lawmakers tacitly approved the techniques that some Democrats in Congress now say should land Bush administration officials in jail. Between 2002 and 2006, the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees "each got complete, benchmark briefings on the program," said one of the intelligence sources who is familiar with the briefings. "If Congress wanted to kill this program, all it had to do was withhold funding," said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the closed-door briefings. Those who were briefed included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia and Rep. Jane Harman of California, all Democrats, and Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, all Republicans. The Democratic and Republican staff directors for both committees also were briefed, according to the intelligence source and to a declassified memo released Wednesday that detailed some of the Senate committee briefings. President Obama last week released a series of memos that were the basis for the CIA's program and that laid out specific tactics, such as sleep deprivation and waterboarding, and their release has pushed the issue of blame to the forefront of the political discussion. Some Democrats and liberal pressure groups have called for Bush administration officials who wrote the rules allowing enhanced techniques to be prosecuted, saying the tactics amounted to torture. Mr. Obama and Mrs. Pelosi have both left the door open for such prosecutions. Seeking the facts about congressional approval, Mr. Hoekstra, the ranking member of the House committee, sent a letter Monday asking National Intelligence Director Dennis C. Blair, a retired admiral, to provide an unclassified list of the dates, locations and names of all members of Congress who were briefed on the techniques. "I believe their response was probably, 'Well, that's OK,' or otherwise they wouldn't have signed off on it," Mr. Hoekstra said when asked about other members who received briefings. Members of Congress who were briefed have offered different recollections for what they were briefed on and what their responsibilities were for addressing the information. ..... From Washington Times.