In an explosive memoir released today
, former CIA counterterrorism chief Jose Rodriguez provides new evidence that Rep. Nancy Pelosi lied when she declared she had not been briefed about the use of waterboarding.
Recall that in a Capitol Hill news conference three years ago, Pelosi (D-Calif.) vehemently denied
being told about the use of waterboarding at a CIA briefing in September 2002. “We were not — I repeat — were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used,” Pelosi said. She later changed her story, telling reporters, “We were told explicitly that waterboarding was not
being used.” She claimed she learned about the use of waterboarding the following year, only after other lawmakers were told by the CIA. “I wasn’t briefed, I was informed
that somebody else had been briefed about it,” she said...
In his new book, “Hard Measures
,” Rodriguez reveals that he led a CIA briefing of Pelosi, where the techniques being used in the interrogation of senior al-Qaeda facilitator Abu Zubaida
were described in detail. Her claim that she was not told about waterboarding at that briefing, he writes, “is untrue.”
“We explained that as a result of the techniques, Abu Zubaydah was compliant and providing good intelligence. We made crystal clear that authorized techniques, including waterboarding, had by then been used on Zubaydah.” Rodriguez writes that he told Pelosi everything, adding, “We held back nothing.”....
Rodriguez asks, “So Pelosi was another member of Congress reinventing the truth. What’s the big deal?” The big deal, he explains, is “the message they are sending to the men and women of the intelligence community who to this day are being asked to undertake dangerous and sometimes controversial actions on behalf of their government. They are told that the administration and Congress ‘have their back.’ You will forgive CIA officers if they are not filled with confidence.”
It is a big deal for another reason. If Rodriguez is right, it means that Pelosi stood up in a Capitol Hill news conference and lied with a straight face to the American people; that she falsely accused a dedicated civil servant of lying to Congress as part of a political cover-up
There is a simple way to settle this once and for all. Pelosi should formally request that the Obama administration declassify the cable that was sent from headquarters to the field reporting on the details of her Sept. 4, 2002, briefing. If she refuses to do so, it should be taken as an admission by Pelosi that her account of events is a fabrication.