Hoekstra: Congress 'Knew in Detail' of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 23, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And tonight in "Your America," now when Democrats got wind that the Bush torture memos were there, they howled in outrage. But it turns out that none of the information contained in those memos should have come as much of a surprise. Because according to Congressman Peter Hoekstra, Congress was briefed on all of the enhanced interrogation techniques that were outlined in the memos.

But apparently, leading House Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, well, she remembers things, well, let's say, differently.


NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We were not, I repeat, we were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used.


HANNITY: And joining me now to sort out what really happened is Michigan congressman Peter Hoekstra.

Congressman, thanks for being with us.

Video: Watch Sean's interview

PETE HOEKSTRA (R-MI): Hey, it's good to be with you, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. Before I get to your Wall Street Journal article from earlier today, I have the Washington Post from December — I'm sorry, from — yes, December 9, 2007 and in this article they go through details.

There were as many as 30 very specific briefings, including very specific details about waterboarding and all the techniques that would be used. Pelosi was there. Jane Harman was there. Rockefeller was there. Bob Graham was there. A lot of Democrats were there.

And quote, "The reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement." Is Nancy Pelosi lying?

HOEKSTRA: I believe — and I don't want to be disrespectful to the speaker of the House, but if she wasn't — if she believes she wasn't briefed or wasn't informed on these issues, it's clear she just wasn't paying attention.

You know there were a tremendous number of briefings. I hope that records and the documents come out to show that, you know, this is an issue about policy. This is not a legal issue about, you know, whether the lawyers or the CIA folks did the right thing.

This policy was developed at the highest levels of government. It involved Republicans and Democrats in Congress as part of the policy formulation.

HANNITY: All right. Let's take her out of this. Is there any way that the Democrats in Congress did not know specifically that these enhanced interrogation techniques would be used?

HOEKSTRA: I don't believe so. I believe with the records that I have seen, my own personal experience on the briefings, I believe that they knew and they knew in detail exactly what was going on.

HANNITY: All right. The most important thing is they have selectively edited what it is the American people are seeing. And I think it's very important we clarify for them tonight.

And Dick Cheney, in his interview with me earlier this week, he called upon the president to release the — if we're going to tell the American people what techniques were used, what were the results of those enhanced interrogations? Did they benefit and keep America safe?

HOEKSTRA: I think there's been a consistent record going all the way back to George Tenet, the previous director of the CIA, all the way to the current director of National Intelligence, they have all acknowledged that these enhanced interrogation techniques gave America valuable information, insights into Al Qaeda.

These interrogations made America safer.

HANNITY: Well, all right. We can specifically then confirm what the CIA confirmed back in May of 2005? And that is that the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed resulted in preventing the second wave of attacks? That it also identified a terror cell that was here in America and prevented Los Angeles from being hit the way that New York was hit on September 11? Can we confirm that?

HOEKSTRA: Well, Sean, I can't confirm that for you today, but I believe that the materials are available that could either confirm or deny that information. That's why I agree with the vice president, this information should all be made public so that the American people can see how we benefited from these enhanced interrogation techniques.

HANNITY: All right. Now Michael Hayden, who's also a former CIA director, confirmed what we know other CIA directors like George Tenet have said, and that is we got more intelligence from the interrogations than the FBI, CIA, and NSA combined.

Is that true? Can we confirm that?

HOEKSTRA: I think without a doubt you can confirm that there was a lot of valuable information that was obtained.

HANNITY: All right. So the bottom line is, are the Democrats then politicizing the national security of this country, Congressman? Now this is a serious charge. In other words, do they want to make themselves look good and deny that they knew about and approved of specific interrogation techniques?

Are they selectively giving the American people information so that they'll draw a conclusion the benefits them? Are they playing politics with national security?

HOEKSTRA: Sean, I don't know whether it's neglect, whether it's not paying attention. They will regret the day that they moved in this direction because I think the record will clearly show that the Bush administration reached out to Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill to develop this policy.

It was an American policy to keep America safe, it was not a President Bush policy.

HANNITY: Then why, in fact, did they do this?

HOEKSTRA: Now I think t was ready, fire, aim. It's the same thing that happened when the president announced that he — was going to close Gitmo. He said we're going to close it with no plan as to what to do with the 250 people.

Now he said we're going to, you know, release these memos. He had no idea as to the consequences of what would happen — what would happen when he made that decision. You know that he would send a chill through the CIA and our operatives. That our foreign partners in intelligence would have second thoughts about doing business.


HOEKSTRA: They're just shooting from the hip. I hate to describe it as this, but I think there's only one word you can use. It was reckless.

HANNITY: All right, Congressman. Thank you for being with us. We appreciate it tonight.

HOEKSTRA: Yes. Thank you, Sean.

HANNITY: And by the way, if you want to read these CIA memos, you can find them on "Our Great American Blog" right now at FOXNews.com/Hannity.

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