Why GOP Efforts to Target Pelosi May Fail

Matthew Yglesias was on MSNBC yesterday to discuss his article at the Daily Beast, GOP's Torture Tricks Backfire.

The video is from Crooks and Liar's Video Cafe site -- I really like what they've done with that page.

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    How can the Right (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 19, 2009 at 01:36:28 PM EST
    claim with a straight face that the CIA has all this credibilty when:

    A) They just admitted literally within the last 5 days that they lied about Bob Graham attending certain briefings

    B)They've lied to congress on countless occasions (as Yglesias makes clear)

    C) The Right just got done spending 4+ years telling us the CIA was full of liberal liars due to the constant drip of information that discredited Bush Admin claims about the Middle East.

    How can the left (1.00 / 1) (#6)
    by jbindc on Tue May 19, 2009 at 01:58:28 PM EST
    think Nancy has completely clean hands in all of this when:

    a)She took impeachment off the table even before she was sworn in as Speaker

    b)Her own aide was briefed on these techniques

    c)She hasn't told the same story twice about what she knew about torture and when she knew it

    d)She accused the CIA of committing a federal crime and has done nothing except make excuses, instead of doing her job?


    The left can focus on the GOP (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by Slado on Tue May 19, 2009 at 02:08:01 PM EST
    all they want but the facts are Pelosi is lying.

    For what Pelosi is saying to be true it would require a CIA conspiracy more ridiculous then Oliver Stones theory that the CIA killed Kennedy.   Pannetta, Goss, Bush, Cheney and now Obama would all have to be in on it.  

    Pelosi should admit/lie that she just didn't feel politically powerfull enough to do anything then even though she knew (I think she didn't care) and throw herself on the mercy of the liberal toruture lynch mob.  

    They (most of you) don't care what Pelosi knew because the greater moral good in your minds is to haul Bush/Cheney in front of a judge (because Fitzmas was such a let down).

    It's not going to happen and the fact that Pelosi is making such a spectacle of herself and Obama is pretending like none of this is going on just proves it.


    Cheney and Tene were (none / 0) (#26)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 19, 2009 at 04:34:06 PM EST
    certainly in on it.  Goss wasn't there at the time.   All he knows is what he's been told and/or chooses to believe. Bush, who knows what Cheney told him or what he cared to know about.  He doesn't even matter in this.

    You're simply throwing Obama and Panetta in there because it looks better for your case.  There's not a hint of a hint they have any better idea of what happened back then than you do.

    As usual, you guys on the right insist on overkill in hopes that it will make your weak and pathetic arguments look less weak and pathetic.

    And if you think Dick Cheney didn't have total control of what the CIA told Congress, we can talk about that proverbial bridge for sale.


    Im actually kind of curious (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 19, 2009 at 06:43:51 PM EST
    what Panetta- who was a private citizen and Obama who was serving in Springfield in the Illinois legislature- have to do with Pelosi's argument of being lied to in 2002 and 2003.

    Totally (none / 0) (#33)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 19, 2009 at 06:49:37 PM EST
    it'd be just like Stone's theory about JFK- you know if Jim Garrison had actually convicted some of the people Stone implicates in the film- I mean if you look back at CIA directors during Republican Admins- it almost becomes more likely that they're lying about anything (including this):

    Nixon's CIA chief- convicted of lying to congress
    Reagan's CIA chief- in all likelihood would have been convicted if Bush I hadn't pardoned all Iran-Contra co-conspirators
    Bush II's CIA chief- lied and or severly misled both Congress and the American people about the threat posed by Saddam and the existence of WMD's


    Well, (5.00 / 0) (#9)
    by bocajeff on Tue May 19, 2009 at 02:09:21 PM EST
    This is really quite comical. Either Pelosi can defend herself or she can't. She hasn't been too convincing so far...

    I just saw an editorial cartoon of (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by JSN on Tue May 19, 2009 at 02:59:15 PM EST
    Pelosi with he pants on fire.

    Are we really arguing this? (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by ricosuave on Wed May 20, 2009 at 08:02:12 AM EST
    This was a humongous policy shift.  The United States began, as a matter of policy directed from the highest levels of authority, to use torture on prisoners to collect information.  Pelosi and others argue that the congress was not kept fully informed about this policy shift.  Now conservatives are arguing that the congress WAS fully informed because Pelosi may have been told about this once several ago.

    Whenever your conservative friends (yes...admit that you have them!) bring this up, just tell them that you will concede that Pelosi may have been told once if they will concede the following points which logically follow:

    • The Bush administration was torturing people

    • When the Bush administration told us they were not torturing people (on numerous occasions) they were lying to us (your friends will say they want to be lied to about this for national security reasons, but you can argue that one later)

    • Neither Pelosi nor any other member of congress--republican or democrat--voted to follow this torture policy or to rescind laws making torture illegal

    • If someone broke the law, it doesn't matter what fancy lawyer tricks they try and pull.  They don't get a pass on doing something illegal just because they argue about what the meaning of "is" is, right?  If my lawyer comes up with some fancy justification for my not paying taxes, it is not an automatic get out of jail card when I don't pay.

    If we weren't torturing anyone, then there was nothing for the CIA to inform Pelosi, and she can't have lied about it, right?

    They Don't Call Her Noron for Nothing n/t (1.00 / 1) (#29)
    by kaleidescope on Tue May 19, 2009 at 06:06:03 PM EST

    Who is it that calls her (none / 0) (#32)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 19, 2009 at 06:45:10 PM EST
    Noron? Is this a common phraseology on Talk Radio and the Wingnutosphere or something?

    I Believe Atrios Held a Contest to Name Her (none / 0) (#37)
    by kaleidescope on Thu May 21, 2009 at 09:58:14 PM EST
    And Noron won.

    Hmmm... (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Tue May 19, 2009 at 01:02:00 PM EST
    "Yes I am saying the CIA was misleading the Congress, and at the same time the (Bush) administration was misleading the Congress on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, to which I said that this intelligence doesn't support the imminent threat," Pelosi said at her weekly news conference on Thursday.

    If this is true, the as the Speaker of the House, she is bound to hold hearings.  Lying or misleading Congress is a criminal offense.

    Oddly enough, I don't see this happening. Makes you have to question that maybe she knows this isn't true.

    By all means - let's have hearings. (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Anne on Tue May 19, 2009 at 01:18:11 PM EST
    Marcy Wheeler - who's doing some excellent work on this subject:

    Now that we know of another problem with the CIA's briefing list, I thought I'd collect all the known problems with the list in one place so those trying to claim the CIA has any credibility on this issue can see just how wrong CIA has been on this issue.

    CIA has made errors on at least six different briefings, there are at least two briefings for which some of the attendees contest the CIA's version, and CIA claims to be unable to provide full details on seven other briefings. No wonder Leon Panetta continues to say that "it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened." The CIA's own version of when it briefed and whom is riddled with errors.  

    April 2002 (two briefings), September 2002: When Bob Graham first asked the CIA when they had briefed him on torture, they gave him a list of four dates, two in April 2002, and two in September 2002. However, when Graham reviewed his famously detailed notes, he discovered he had not attended any briefing on three of those dates (both April dates and one September date). The CIA conceded he was correct on the issue.

    September 4, 2002: According to the CIA, it briefed Nancy Pelosi and Porter Goss on the "use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah" and "the particular EITs that had been employed." While that description does not say clearly that the CIA told Pelosi and Goss they had already used these EITs, including waterboarding, on Abu Zubaydah, it implies it. However, both Pelosi's and Goss's description of the briefing indicates they were told torture might be used in the future, not that they were told it had already been used. And now Crazy Pete Hoekstra, after having reviewed the CIA notes, admits that, "when [those documents] are made public it won't be crystal clear as to exactly what went on in the briefing."

    September 27, 2002: According to the CIA, it briefed Bob Graham and Richard Shelby on the "use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah" and "the particular EITs that had been employed." Bob Graham does not remember anything like this and finds it implausible that they discussed torture techniques themselves, given that the briefing occured in the Hart Office Building, not the White House (where highly classified briefings occurred), and two staffers were included in the briefings. Richard Shelby, however, was less clear about what was said. In a formal statement, he says they were briefed on "what was purported to be a full account of the techniques." Only in a follow-up does Shelby say this included mention of waterboarding specifically. In addition, Graham says they were briefed by Stan Moskowitz of the Office of Congressional Affairs, rather than by the briefers from CounterTerrorism Center the CIA claims conducted the briefings.

    February 4, 2003: The CIA claims that, along with Pat Roberts and two staffers, it briefed John Rockefeller on EITs "in considerable detail" including "how the water board was used." Rockefeller says, however, that he "was not present and was not later briefed individually by anyone in the intelligence community."

    March 7, 2005; March 8, 2005; October 18, 2005; Late October 2005; November 1, 2005; November 8, 2005; September 19, 2006: CIA claims information on who briefed Congress for all seven of these briefings is "not available."  Public reporting suggests the "Late October, 2005" briefing of John McCain included Porter Goss (as Director of CIA) and Dick Cheney. And David Obey reports that Michael Hayden briefed on September 19, 2006.

    March 8, 2005: CIA claims someone ("not available") briefed the following Members of Congress: Pat Roberts, Jay Rockfeller, Porter Goss, and Jane Harman. That's impossible. Porter Goss was not a member of Congress on that date. Rather, he was the Director of the CIA. In fact, Crazy Pete Hoekstra, who insists these records are accurate, was the Chair of HPSCI at the time, and so probably attended the briefing. I have called CIA three times to inquire whether they mistook the role Goss had in that briefing (that is, whether he was the briefer, rather than the briefee), but have received no response.

    September 6, 2006: After Michael Hayden first briefed the full Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Feingold wrote a letter to Hayden objecting to the program on several counts, including the inadequate briefing CIA had given the intelligence committees. A year later, however, Hayden claimed, "the techniques that we use have been fully disclosed to appropriate members of the United States Congress," even though Feingold had objected on precisely those grounds in his letter the year before.  

    September 19, 2006: CIA claims that, in addition to Bill Young and John Murtha the latter of whom did not stay for the torture part of the briefing), it also briefed Appropriations staffer Paul Juola. According to Appropriations Chair David Obey, however, Michael Hayden and "Mr. Walker" told Juola he could not attend the briefing.

    Whatever hearings are held, they need to be about a whole lot more than the half-truths and misstatements from the CIA on when and who was briefed.

    It isn't just Pelosi who's saying she was misled - and it isn't even just Democrats; at some point, one has to acknowledge that there may have been a concerted effort to mislead and withhold information, and that came from higher-up.


    and don't forget (none / 0) (#4)
    by lilburro on Tue May 19, 2009 at 01:20:50 PM EST
    the total bullsh*tting over the torture tapes.

    I agree (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Tue May 19, 2009 at 02:04:03 PM EST
    It isn't just Pelosi who's saying she was misled - and it isn't even just Democrats; at some point, one has to acknowledge that there may have been a concerted effort to mislead and withhold information, and that came from higher-up

    Bush and Cheney are responsible.  But Nancy has to fess up too.  IT's one thing to call for a Truth Commission, but then back away from it when you realize you may be caught up in it.  That's the problem here - everything must be found out - not just what hurts Republicans.  

    And right now with every day that passes, Nancy is looking more hypocritical and culpable, which will only hurt any future investigation.


    Who has Pelosi misled? (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Anne on Tue May 19, 2009 at 02:23:57 PM EST
    You keep harping on this - that she has to "fess up" - but I still don't know what it is she's confessing to.  Where is her culpability?  You keep saying she should have done something, but you still have never explained how she was supposed to do that and still be in compliance with the National Security Act.

    Has Nancy decided she does not want any investigations?  That's something I have not heard or seen anywhere.

    I have said from the beginning of this that we need the whole truth, regardless of who gets caught - but I don't think you realize that by keeping the focus on Pelosi, and by ragging on her non-stop, it is taking the heat off those who designed and implemented the whole thing.

    I think it is fair to say, at this stage, that there is a pretty virulent strain of PDS going around; it is mostly present in the mainstream media and on the right-wing blogs - as with CDS, I think at some point one has to ask why there is so much more noise about one person way down on the food chain than there is about the people - and there are some number of them - who are directly responsible for the torture of those detained under our government's control.


    PDS 2.0 (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 19, 2009 at 04:15:31 PM EST
    Afte CDS and before this PDS, there was Palin PDS.

    Anybody but me noticing a pattern here?


    Maybe it should be NDS, (none / 0) (#22)
    by Anne on Tue May 19, 2009 at 04:18:29 PM EST
    since I forgot PDS was already taken...

    And yes, I do see a pattern here.


    Anne, (none / 0) (#13)
    by dk on Tue May 19, 2009 at 02:40:53 PM EST
    Well, Obama has said that he doesn't want investigations (ok, then he backtracked a bit, but I think we all know that at this point he still doesn't want any), and I didn't see Pelosi, or anyone in the Democratic leadership, putting up too much of a fight, yet.

    My issue is this:  will this be something that will be handled according to the rule of law, or will it be political?  Yes, I know that inevitably there is some overlap, but it certainly can lean one way or the other.

    At this point, Obama and the rest of the Democratic leadership do not want this handled according to the rule of law.  Thus, the only arena left is politics.  While Republicans are obviously hypocrites in going after Pelosi, they are playing politics in the same way that Obama and Pelosi are playing politics.  

    The Democratic leadership can change the game by having the grand jury investigations and, when and where applicable, indictments.  They can decide whether torture is subject to the rule of law, or just becomes a political game.

    Also, you bring up the national security act.  Is that really foolproof?  I mean, if certain members of congress were aware that the Bush administration was breaking the law, and did not say anything, is the national security act an airtight defense?  I'm not familiar enough with that area of the law to know for certain.  I can imagine there are legal arguments on both sides.


    Nancy (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Tue May 19, 2009 at 02:56:37 PM EST
    Stood up on TV and accused the CIA of lying to Congress, which is a federal crime.  If she is telling the truth, and the CIA did actually lie to Congress, then as Speaker, she is duty-bound to investigate and prosecute those CIA employees. Since it has been almost a week, and nothing has happened, then it's easy to assume that she is just blowing smoke and cannot prove the CIA lied to her or any other member of Congress.  If they did not lie, then she is lying.

    You apparently don't get it.  Pelosi's actions hurt future investigations. Period.  Half the country already doesn't believe her (including many independents), and her poll numbers are in New Gingrich territory (and have dropped 15 points since January) so if any sort of Truth Commission were to be formed, it would be considered a kangaroo court, at best at this point. It's hard to stand up as the defender of what is right, when you are complicit in what was wrong to begin with.  Even if she didn't know exactly in 2002, she did know in February of 2003 - this is 2009, and just now she's outraged?

    Nancy's obfuscating on this matter is giving the Republicans their talking points, as you point out. This story has legs and it isn't going away, so that's the crux of the matter - her lying is hurting any possible investigation.  And that's why it's puzzling that so many here are defending her and trying the old Wizard of Oz trick -  "Pay no attention to the (wo)man behind the curtain."  While the left argues that this whole Pelosi thing is "nothing to see here, folks" it is in fact, a cover-up.


    Guess I don't agree (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by Steve M on Tue May 19, 2009 at 03:19:02 PM EST
    where is it written that the Speaker is duty-bound to investigate and prosecute every allegation of lying to Congress?  People lie and dissemble to Congress every day and, like every other case of criminal dishonesty, it falls well within the realm of prosecutorial discretion.

    You posit a false choice which provides that Pelosi isn't allowed to believe she was misled unless she opens up a full-blown criminal investigation.  That's surely not the case.  You're allowed to believe you were misled and just leave it at that.


    Maybe, maybe not (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Tue May 19, 2009 at 03:30:05 PM EST
    She is the Speaker of the House.  She accused someone (the CIA) of lying to her about illegal activity that was going on in our name and acted like she knew nothing about it.  She wants the previous administration investigated, but not her statements. Her actions are hindering future investigation into this matter because she is coming off as not credible.

    She needs to put up or shut up.


    Well (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Steve M on Tue May 19, 2009 at 03:52:22 PM EST
    her lack of credibility is a separate issue.  I agree it is highly unhelpful.

    But if the goal is full-blown investigations of torture, I suggest that Pelosi would not be moving the ball forward if she were to announce a major investigation of CIA employees and thereby convert the Pelosi vs. CIA sideshow into Congress' first order of business.  That is, indeed, exactly what the Republicans are trying to achieve at the moment - let's stop everything until we have determined whether Nancy Pelosi is a liar.


    Hello? (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 19, 2009 at 04:19:17 PM EST
    You want ironclad proof something didn't happen?  I'd say the CIA had better come up with ironclad proof that it did brief her fully.

    The likelihood that the Cheney-ridden CIA quietly and deliberately withheld the straight dope from Pelosi strikes me as a hell of a lot higher than that Pelosi would publicly proclaim a flat-out lie.


    I don't think anyone knew quite (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Anne on Tue May 19, 2009 at 04:16:24 PM EST
    the extent of what was going on in the time frame you have suggested; with all due respect, I think you are relying too heavily on the mainstream media's spin, Republican arguments and what we know to be false representations from the CIA as to who was briefed, when they were briefed and what they were briefed about.  Even Leon Panetta, in what you mischaracterize as his smack-down of Pelosi, said that it would be up to Congress to investigate and determine what happened.

    I fail to see how Pelosi's actions hurt future investigations - going public with her belief that she was misled by the CIA, together with the growing evidence that it is the CIA whose information as to briefings that keeps changing, and the growing list of people who have disputed the CIA's records on briefings, has served to highlight that investigations are more important, not less.

    What "most of the country" believes is not the measure by which I am judging Pelosi's truthfulness; most of those people only get heaping servings of media spin, so I don't know why you would take comfort or find support for your position there.

    For the last several days, I have tried to point you to some places where there is information that is not media spin, along with analysis of what is in the record, but it is clear to me that you are not interested in learning anything on this issue that might change your mind about Pelosi.  That is certainly your right, but I think you do a disservice to the whole issue by digging in your heels.

    We'll see what happens - if Pelosi is as dirty and culpable as you think she is, then she deserves whatever comes her way.


    She hasn't backed away from it (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 19, 2009 at 04:13:37 PM EST
    Where do you get these ideas?  Rush Limbaugh?

    Oh, Idon't know (none / 0) (#27)
    by jbindc on Tue May 19, 2009 at 04:44:00 PM EST
    From the horse's mouth maybe, when the horse changes her story multiple times in a week?

    In fact, the non-partisan blog Politifact.com says the CIA timeline, which is based on contemporaneous notes and calendars, as opposed to Pelosi playing CYA,is more believable right now.

    New acronym - WPRM - What Pelosi Really Meant.

    No PDS here, except that Pelosi has been a terrible Speaker and a huge disappointment since before she took office.

    But again - amazed at all the pearl-clutching going on that "Oh No!  A Dem wouldn't do something wrong!"

    It's not a mutually exclusive proposition that because Bush-Cheney did something wrong, that Pelosi could not have been complicit in their wrong doing and did nothing because (she claims) she couldn't.



    There is a big difference (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by Steve M on Tue May 19, 2009 at 06:39:23 PM EST
    between insisting Pelosi is innocent and refraining from rushing to judgment that she's guilty.  Like with the Iraqi WMDs, I see plenty of fair-minded folks pushing back against the conventional wisdom by quietly noting that they simply haven't seen the evidence of guilt just yet.

    "no real choice . . . (none / 0) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue May 19, 2009 at 01:03:47 PM EST
    . . . other than to have a thorough investigation"

    I think thats right.

    in spite of Norons perfect performance as a village idiot insisting there will be no investigation.
    it seems to me when you have a former Speaker saying the present Speaker is unqualified to do  her job because of an allegation she seems unwilling to retract, something probably has to give.

    Really? Gingrich is so (none / 0) (#24)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 19, 2009 at 04:20:51 PM EST
    credible, his word moves mountains and brings the whole thing tumbling down?

    Don't think so, Cap'n.


    I think you misunderstand me (none / 0) (#28)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue May 19, 2009 at 05:30:30 PM EST
    I, at this point at least, am on her side.
    and the side of investigation.

    Me, too, but (none / 0) (#36)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed May 20, 2009 at 04:10:55 PM EST
    what Gingrich chooses to spew on the situation has no effect one way or the other on whether it will happen.  That's what I was objecting to in your comment.  Gingrich is a ridiculous figure whose comments are so predictable that he has no discernible impact on anything.

    Well then it's unanimous. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Bemused on Tue May 19, 2009 at 02:09:44 PM EST
     anyone would be foolish to trust what any of these dissemblers and liars have said about any of this.

      That irrefutable truth would seem to be precisely the reason a thorough investigation is necessary. The bigger question is how doe we constitute an investigatory body we can trust.

    Oversight?? (none / 0) (#11)
    by coast on Tue May 19, 2009 at 02:13:12 PM EST
    I'm trying to understand what the congressional definition of "oversight" is.  Based on the "oversight" of both the financial sector and black ops, I believe the term has been diluted.  These meetings would appear to be fairly important, at least to those of us outside the Beltway.  However it seems commonplace to send underlings to the meeting and sufficient notes are not kept to the point we can't not even get an accurate accounting of who attended the meetings.  I have better notes from a local leads group that I attend than these jokers seem to have for performing one of the more important functions of their jobs.  Makes one wonder why we have them at all.

    Regardless of whether or not Pelosi knew (none / 0) (#34)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue May 19, 2009 at 09:18:18 PM EST
    about the torture, we have a systemic problem.  CIA staff can't remember for sure but they think they told her they were using torture?  Sure, the biggest military policy reversal in our lifetimes, a change that not only taints our great country but is also clearly against signed treaties and international law, and no one can say for sure if it actually was properly reported to Congress' Intelligence Committees, the final watchdogs on the CIA and military?  Why aren't these meetings recorded?  

    If Cheney et. al. were able to get the individual CIA staff who briefed the House Select Committee on Intelligence to say torture was deemed legal but wasn't in use yet, then they've easily bypassed the checks and balances we put in place in the 1970s to prevent intelligence agency abuses.  

    I say we drop this back and forth discussion of whether or not Pelosi knew and start focusing on how to change the process so it can't be subverted again.