Friday, January 29, 2010

Misspeaker of the House?

Marc Thiessen has been rivaling President Obama recently for his media ubiquity. He’s everywhere. In fact, I’m reading his book right now, Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack.

But his message is better for America than Obama’s. Today Thiessen had an article in the Washington Post explaining how Nancy Pelosi was full of it when she said last May in a news conference “that she had opposed CIA waterboarding but was powerless to stop it.” (“Pelosi stopped one CIA operation. So why not waterboarding?”).

Thiessen writes:
A former senior intelligence official told me in 2009 that he was shocked by Pelosi's claim because, he said, "Speaker Pelosi herself has stopped covert action programs that she has been briefed on by going to the White House. In that very same time frame [after she learned about waterboarding] Pelosi had gone back to the White House [over] a separate covert action program, expressed strong opposition to it. And the remarkable part to me, the White House backed off the program, changed one aspect of the program . . . she was particularly opposed to. And literally, the finding was pulled back and revised." If Pelosi had truly opposed waterboarding, he said, she had numerous ways to stop it -- but she didn't try.
Pelosi tried to disguise her own complicity in the enhanced interrogation techniques she was briefed on by claiming the CIA had lied to her about it. (“Nancy Pelosi: CIA Lied To Me”).

Thiessen writes that later on,
Journalists did not question Pelosi's claims -- and then they stopped questioning her. Pelosi announced that she would not take more questions on the topic, and the media complied. Reporters who relentlessly chased the Valerie Plame leak let the story drop. Pelosi's role in stopping another covert operation gives lie to her claims that she was powerless to stop waterboarding -- but the Washington press corps failed to "connect the dots." Now that the truth is out, will they continue to let her get away with not answering questions? We'll learn the answer at her next press briefing.

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