Things may be getting a bit thornier in the push to prosecute Bush administration officials for interrogation techniques. After denials from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she knew nothing about waterboarding, more attention is being paid to a 2007 Washington Post article indicating she and other Congressional leaders received a briefing in 2002 about potential interrogation techniques. Pelosi’s office is now claiming that the meeting didn’t go into much detail, but the statement is without a doubt backtracking on her previous position that she was oblivious.
It gets even dicier when the ranking Republican member on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, says that many in Congress knew more about the interrogation techniques than they would have you believe. He’s pushing for names and dates to be released with information regarding the Congressional briefings on CIA interrogation.
All of this is a good reason why the show trials of former Bush administration officials shouldn’t even be considered. I think it’s perfectly logical to assume that many members of Congress were fully aware of what the CIA was doing and had no problem with it until it could be used against their political rivals. I am reminded of the many in Congress claiming that President Bush “lied” to them about Iraq when in truth they had much of the same intelligence he did.
If it is proven that high-ranking Democrats knew and approved of the CIA interrogation techniques, it will be a stunning display of hypocrisy for political ends. It’s why President Obama’s first reaction to simply move forward was the correct one, and why his subsequent green-light to open up Pandora’s box is a major fumble.