Pete Hoekstra: Hearings on “who knew” might not be a bad idea
In light of the news this week of a report detailing how many times (40) select members of Congress – including Nancy Pelosi – had been briefed about the use of EITs, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee is suggesting that hearings might be in order:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is under renewed fire after the Obama administration released documents that critics say contradict her claim that she was never told that U.S. detainees were being waterboarded.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (Mich.), the top Republican on House Intelligence, in an interview Friday said the document proves that Pelosi knew waterboarding occurred but has denied is because of political pressure from the liberal base of her party.
“Clearly her left wing is outraged that waterboarding was used,” Hoekstra said. “The bottom line is she and her key staff, they all knew about it.”
Now that these documents have been released, Hoekstra is calling for additional CIA documents to be made public including some that he has read that provide a more complete account of what was discussed in lawmaker briefings.
He is also considering calling for congressional hearings on what members knew and when they knew it.
“I wouldn’t have a problem with the intelligence committee or the Judiciary Committee having hearings on this,” he said. “If [House Judiciary Chairman] John Conyers [D-Mich.] wants to have hearings, they shouldn’t call in the Department of Justice attorneys as their first witnesses. The first people that should be called in and held accountable ought to be Congress.”
Hoekstra also indicated he is considering sending Conyers a letter requesting such hearings.
“He now has a list of who should be the first witnesses,” Hoekstra said.
AllahPundit makes a great point here:
If Pelosi wants to stick by her story, she has no option left except to accuse DNI — in a report written seven years ago, which also mentioned Republican Porter Goss — of outright lying to frame her. The second, more nuanced excuse is that the report never says Pelosi was told about waterboarding specifically, only that she was briefed on certain unnamed enhanced interrogation techniques. HuffPo, in fact, has a source — anonymous, natch — swearing that this is the case, never mind that Porter Goss is on record as insisting that it most certainly isn’t. It would be sweet if it were true since it would force her defenders to distinguish “bad” EITs like waterboarding from the “not so bad” ones that she was briefed on, thereby cracking the left’s dopey absolutist position on this topic. But … it’s not true. From the NYT’s report last month on Zubaydah’s interrogation:
The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. Abu Zubaydah has been described as a Qaeda operative.
Consider the context of when the briefing was held — one week before 9/11/02, when fears of an anniversary attack were sky high — and ask yourself why the CIA wouldn’t have told Pelosi they had waterboarded Zubaydah. In the political climate of the time, the agency would have been more concerned with covering its ass by assuring Congress it was doing everything it could to stop a new attack than covering its ass by omitting information for fear of a speculative backlash against waterboarding years down the road. They had every reason to disclose.
Bring on the hearings.