House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) recently said the CIA had “misled” her about enhanced interrogations during a 2002 briefing, never telling her that waterboarding had already been used. Former Rep. Porter Goss — the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time and who sat in the same briefing as Pelosi — defended the CIA in a Washington Post op-ed recently. However, his spokesman refused to confirm to Greg Sargent that the CIA had, in fact, told them about waterboarding in the 2002 briefing:
I asked a spokesperson for Goss if he would confirm that he and Pelosi had been informed of the use of torture. Goss was out of town, so it took her a while to get back to me, but now she has: She declined to answer the question, saying that Goss would not elaborate beyond what he said in a Washington Post Op ed last month. […]
So I asked Goss’ spokesperson directly: Were he and Pelosi informed that EITs, including waterboarding, had already been used, and were they given a rough sense that Abu Zubaydah had been waterboarded more than 83 times the previous month?
Her answer: “He believes that his Op-ed makes it very clear and is not engaging beyond it at this time.” She declined repeated requests to elaborate.
Sargent points out that Goss’ “carefully-worded” op-ed never actually said that the CIA had informed Congress that waterboarding was being used, but only that Congress should have “understood” what “enhanced interrogation techniques” entailed. CIA Director Leon Panetta himself never confirmed the CIA’s record of the briefing, saying only that it is ultimately up to Congress “to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened.”