Yesterday I wrote that all three other accounts of the September 2002 CIA briefings on EITs (Goss, Shelby, Graham) seemed to support Speaker Pelosi’s statement that they were not informed that the practices had already been used. I stand corrected. Apparently Senator Richard Shelby’s office put out a clarification to his original statement:
To his recollection, while there was a great deal of discussion, there were no objections raised during the Senate briefing he attended. To Senator Shelby’s recollection of the Senate briefing, waterboarding was one the EITs the CIA said it had used. As he also recalls, the CIA described the valuable intelligence it obtained using EITs, including waterboarding.
So to recap: Bob Graham was purportedly briefed four times. In referencing his notebooks his disputed three of those sessions, which the CIA conceded. Graham and said in the fourth session he was not briefed EITs at all — this was the same briefing that Shelby attended, amazingly. Goss and Pelosi seem more inline with their recollections — that they were both briefed on EITs but not, necessarily, that they had already been employed.
Meanwhile, Rep. Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican, today introduced a privileged resolution in the House to form a bipartisan select Intelligence subcommittee “to investigate the allegation that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) professionals lied to the Speaker of the House during a September 4, 2002 briefing on its interrogation program.” The motion, which was tabled 252-172, was supported by House Minority Leader John Boehner, who added:
Accusing our intelligence professionals of lying to Congress is a very serious charge. This institution has an obligation to examine the Speaker’s allegations in a thorough and deliberate manner, and do so in a bipartisan way. The American people place their trust in our intelligence professionals to help keep them safe every day, and they deserve answers on this matter as quickly as possible.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer hit back (Pelosi was off campus speaking at Johns Hopkins University’s graduation), holding a press conference slamming the Republicans for the “distraction.”
This is a serious battle and it’s not being treated seriously—it’s being treated politically by the minority party. I would hope that they would focus on the substance and not on who said what when.
All of which is to say, the torture(d) debate is alive and well on the Hill and sets Pelosi up for another potentially contentious press conference tomorrow morning.