Tue, 19 May 2009 20:36:03 +0000 – By Alice Stewart
The quarterback of the Central Intelligence Agency says he doesn't want his agency to be a pawn in a game of political football; it's too late, Democrats have been tackling the CIA for months and President Obama is not willing to toss a penalty flag.
It's difficult to say which is more troubling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi playing a game of CYA at the expense of the CIA, or President Obama's continued support as she calls members of the intelligence agency liars. Either way, Republicans say it's time for Nancy Pelosi to put up or shut up, after she apologizes of course.
The primary mission of the CIA is "to collect, evaluate, and disseminate foreign intelligence to assist the president and senior US government policymakers in making decisions relating to the national security."
CIA Director Leon Panetta said it's against the laws and values of the agency to lie to Congress. On Monday, he urged lawmakers (including Pelosi) to keep the CIA out of their partisan political battles, or run the risk of jeopardizing our national security.
"If they start to use these issues as political clubs to beat each other up with, then that's when we not only pay a price, but this country pays a price," Panetta said.
Speaker Pelosi has long called for a "truth commission" to look into the investigation techniques of terror suspects after 9-11. In her recent train wreck of a news conference, Pelosi tried to clear up inconsistencies about what she knew and when she knew it. The problem is, she just made matters worse for herself, and the country.
As ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, Pelosi told reporters she was briefed by the CIA in September, 2002, saying, "the only mention of waterboarding at that briefing was that it was not being employed." She goes on to say, "I was informed then that the Department of Justice opinions had concluded that the use of enhanced interrogation techniques were legal."
In February of 2003, Pelosi said she was informed by a member of her staff that waterboarding was being conducted.
The Speaker wrapped up her statement by saying the CIA not only gave her inaccurate and incomplete information, they lied to her and Congress repeatedly.
Careful Madam Speaker, as Abraham Lincoln said, "truth is generally the best vindication for slander."
The truth is just what the media wanted from Pelosi, and they pushed her to explain previous claims that the CIA never told her about the use of waterboarding.
As Pelosi lost her place on her notes, her credibility went right along with it. Her story went from "I wasn't briefed" to "I was told" to "I was informed from someone who was briefed" to "I was just briefed that they were informed." What?
It makes me think of Bill Clinton's grand jury testimony on the Lewinsky affair when he said "it depends on what your definition of the word 'is' is." In Pelosi's case, it depends on what your definition of the word "briefed" is.
And when the media stripped Pelosi down to her briefs, she resorted to calling the CIA, and the Bush administration a bunch of liars.
From all indications, Pelosi and "The Gang of Four" were told about the interrogation techniques. If they weren't told specifically, they were told enough to ask the tough questions, but they chose not to, so as to avoid the appearance of being soft on terror.
Instead of raising objections when she was first briefed seven years ago, the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee said she was busy "doing her job" of changing leadership in congress and the White House. Excuse me? The dust was still settling on 9/11, Americans were afraid of airplanes, anthrax, and Al Qaeda; and Nancy Pelosi believed electing a Democratic president took precedent over our national security?
When Rep. Jane Harman wrote a letter to the Bush Administration with concerns about the interrogation techniques, Pelosi supported the letter.
If Pelosi believes the CIA lied to Congress, that's a crime, take it to the Justice Department.
If she really believes the enhanced interrogation techniques were unlawful, we now know she was aware of it and did nothing to stop it. That makes her an accessory to a crime.
Speaker Pelosi, you have the right to remain silent.
Alice Stewart is a Media Consultant, Political Commentator, and Journalist. To read more, please go to: www.alicestewart.com