What Did Pelosi Know About Interrogations? Show Us the Records, Republican Says
April 24, 2009 - 8:29 AMIt would be easy enough to prove what Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders knew about waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" used on America's enemies – as long as records of the briefings are not destroyed, a Republican congressman says.
“This doesn’t have to be a debate,” Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) said on Friday. “The documents exist. The records of the meeting exist” and should have been retained, he said.
Hoekstra, speaking on “Fox & Friends” Friday, said the goal now “is to make sure that none of those documents now appear to be missing or that any of those documents are destroyed.”
With those concerns in mind, Hoekstra told Fox he is sending a letter – and making a phone call -- to the Director of National Intelligence on Friday: “I want to make sure these documents are not destroyed, that they are there for the public record, for everybody to review,” he said.
Republicans, including Hoekstra and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), insist that Pelosi and congressional leaders from both parties were told about the “enhanced interrogation techniques” as far back as 2002.
“We believed it was something that had to be done in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to keep our nation safe,” Hoekstra wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
Pelosi denies knowing what was going on: "We were not -- I repeat -- were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used,” she told reporters earlier this week. “What they did tell us is that they had…the Office of Legal Counsel opinions -- that they (the interrogation techniques) could be used, but not that they would," Pelosi said.
Two years ago, The Washington Post reported that four members of Congress, including Pelosi, were briefing in September 2002 on “a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody.”
According to the Post report, the lawmakers got a “virtual tour” of overseas detentions sites – “and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.” Waterboarding was among those techniques, the report said. “But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.”
Hoekstra says Pelosi was a leader -- accountable to her colleagues and to the American people: “If you see something that you have a problem with, then stand up and say something.” He added that there were “all kinds of avenues and ways” for Pelosi to air her concerns, but “it appears she didn’t use any of them.”
Pelosi is among the Democrats backing a “truth commission” to investigate the Bush administration anti-terrorism policies – with an eye to possible prosecution of those who sanctioned the use of harsh interrogation techniques.