House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) held a torturous press conference today to address charges that she raised no objections when informed in 2002 and 2003 about the Bush administration's use of waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorist detainees. Pelosi was out of the country last week, so perhaps she can be forgiven for not realizing that the narrative on this story had been set in her absence. It has been pretty conclusively established by records of the briefings she received that Pelosi has been fibbing since the first day she claimed not to have known about the interrogations – probably sometime during the 2006 campaign. But Pelosi acted today like she still has some shred of credibility left on the issue.
"I am telling you they told me they approved these [interrogation methods] and said they wanted to use them but said they were not using waterboarding"
Yes, I am saying that the CIA was misleading the Congress, and at the same time the [Bush] administration was misleading the Congress on waepons of mass destruction in Iraq...Every step of the way the administration was misleading the Congress...and that's why we need a truth commission."
Not true. But the kicker comes in her answer to the question of what she actually did once she knew about the techniques. Incredibly, Pelosi essentially blamed President Bush for her Speakership.
When Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), then ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee had an objection to briefings he received on the terrorist surveillance program, he wrote a handwritten letter to Vice President Dick Cheney and placed it in the committee's secure vault. Rockefeller, like Pelosi, did nothing public about his objections, and there is no record of his raising concerns with the Bush administration. Yet Rockefeller is a paragon of principle compared to Pelosi, who tried to claim that running for Congress was her response to what she supposedly thought was illegal and immoral behavior by the administration.
"[N]o letter or anything else is going to stop them from doing what they're going to do. My job was to change the majority in Congress and to change -- to fight to have a new president, because what was happening was not consistent with our values, certainly not true, and -- and something that had to be changed....
So are we to believe now that Pelosi would not have run for Congress in 2004 or 2006 if not for the Bush Administration's interrogations? Does Pelosi seriously expect people to give her credit for standing up for her alleged convictions by seeking to do nothing but gain power for herself?
Under these circumstances, and with adversaries this pathetic, Republicans should welcome Nancy Pelosi's truth commission. Half of the commission's time will be spent trying to untie Pelosi from her own statements about what she knew and when. That's a bargain Republicans should be willing to take. And the American people will get a fuller picture both of the lives that were saved by enhanced interrogations, and of the Democrats' willingness to say and do anything to gain power.