In the Wall Street Journal this morning, Karl Rove declared that House Speaker Nancy Pelsoi (D-CA) was “an accomplice to ‘torture,’” repeating the right wing’s latest talking point that Pelosi is responsible for Bush’s torture program and should be demonized — even as Rove insists it wasn’t really “torture” and actually was a really great program.
This morning, Pelosi held a press conference to address these allegations. Reading a statement, she said that the CIA had told her in September 2002 — falsely — that waterboarding was not being used:
PELOSI: The CIA briefed me only once on enhanced interrogation techniques in September 2002, in my capacity as ranking member of the intelligence committee. I was informed then that the Department of Justice opinions had concluded that the use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques were legal. The only mention of waterboarding at that briefing was that it was not being employed. [...]
We also now know that techniques including waterboarding had already been employed and that those briefing me had given me inaccurate and incomplete information. At the same time the Bush administration…was misleading the American people about the threat of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Indeed, we now know that the CIA had waterboarded Abu Zubaydah 83 times in August, 2002, after receiving approval from Condoleezza Rice in July.
Pelosi also accused the CIA and the Bush administration of repeatedly misleading Congress and the American people, and repeated her call for a truth commission to examine the issue:
PELOSI: So on the subject of what’s happening in Iraq, when it’s talking about the techniques used by the intelligence community on those they’re interrogating, at every step of the way, the administration was misleading the Congress. And that is the issue. And that is why we need a truth commission to look into the issue.
REPORTER: So Madame Speaker, just to be clear, you’re accusing the CIA of lying to you in September of 2002?
PELOSI: Yes. Misleading the Congress of the United States.
In a press conference immediately after Pelosi’s finished, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) insisted that intelligence officials would never mislead any member of Congress:
It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone in our intelligence area would ever mislead a member of Congress. They come to the Hill to brief us because they’re required to under the law, and I don’t know what motivation they would have to mislead anyone. And I don’t believe, and don’t feel, that in the briefings I’ve had that I’ve been mislead at any one point in time.