Charge Bush, Pelosi and the rest of Congress

Since the election of Barack Obama, the left portion of the blogosphere has been insistent on charging George Bush and Dick Cheney with criminal and civil lawsuits surrounding the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” in places like Gitmo.

The loud rumbling that was all over the airwaves have suddenly gone silent over the past few weeks. The outrage has simmered down because it has been reported that Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed by the Bush Administration on these issues as far back as 2002. Let me try to explain what this really means to our friends on the left… it means that your Congressional leaders (Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Democratic members of the Intelligence Committees) knew about and agreed to this method of interrogation.

The Executive Branch, through the C.I.A., briefs members of the Select Intelligence Committtees in the House and the Senate for two reasons; 1). For the purposes of Congressional oversight as mandated by the Constitution and 2). To maintain a working relationship with the Committees so that the C.I.A will receive their budget funding request for the next fiscal year. In other words, if the Intelligence Committees and the Congressional leadership was opposed to this type of interrogation, they had the means and the authority to stop it by not funding it through the Intelligence budget appropriations process.

Nancy Pelosi is not the only person on Capitol Hill who knew about and condoned these methods of gathering information. Congressional leaders in both parties are as culpable as the former President and Vice-President. If some on the left want to file charges against Bush and Cheney, fine… let’s make sure that we totally clean house and rid ourselves of everyone who had a part to play in this messy business.

Author: TONY CAMPBELL, Columnist

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9 Comments

  1. Punishment of crime is about reform. Obviously there are a lot of people involved with the torture issue from Dick Cheney's office down to the lowliest of military grunts. And everyone inbetween..

    I would say that the master of creating fear is guilty of coercion and possibly even blackmail [you'll lose your job, I'll see that you don't get re-elected, the country will fall to terrorism, etc.]. The one way to get at the segments of the tapeworm is to go after the head. See, more bucolic solutions to what otherwise seems like a sticky problem. Grant immunity to all those underlings who fell under the whip of sculpted fear-mongering and rat-out the masterminds. I'd be happy with like half- a dozen or so right at the top. Line up the witnesses, including Pelosi et al and strike a deal with them: immunity for testimony. Isn't this how it always is done with gangs? Not every gang member wanted to be in the group. Some joined out of fear and desperation. Give them protection and get those canaries to sing.

  2. From a practical standpoint what has Pelosi done that might be a criminal act she could receive immunity for? It sounds like she stood by silently when she heard about the “enhanced interrogation” – I don't see where that's a crime.

    The main risk to her would be to her reputation and the possibility of censure or impeachment, something I doubt would happen given the makeup of the House and Senate.

  3. Of course, practicality has nothing to do with honesty or any integrity whatsoever. Pelosi has repeatedly lied and tried to foster a retroactive indictment of policies that she was in on from the beginning. She is proven an outright liar, a hypocrite, and unworthy of any leadership post in Congress. No wonder she and earmark king Murtha get along so well. They both put Tom DeLay to shame. His duplicity was nowhere near their outright thievery and lying hypocrisy.

    She should resign. Steny Hoyer is a Democrat I know from my govt. days in DC and is actually an honest man in a senior position in the House. So is Jane Harman, although Pelosi tried to blacken her name using a CQ mole a few weeks ago. There are honest Democrats and honest Republicans in the House & Senate, just not that many and very few in senior leadership positions.

  4. “knew about and agreed to this method of interrogation.”

    To parry back the rather insulting tone of Tony's post “Let me explain” something to my friends on the right. Congress (both parties) were not included in an “advice and consent” context. That is a CRITICAL point, Tony. They were not asked for advice nor to give or withhold consent. This was exclusively an administration decision about which a select group of security cleared legislators were *briefed*. They were forbidden by law to speak to the press or their colleagues about it (look it up, Tony).

    I'm fine with the case being made to a grand jury on this issue. I guarantee that the limited role of these legislators does not constitute a crime. Indeed, if any of them had spoken out against it publicly, they could have been arrested. That, in this twisted BushCo era, would have been a crime.

  5. I've said before that I don't care who gets caught in this, but to be fair, has anyone on the right looked objectively to the infamous report that supposedly nails Pelosi? It is a compiled list of recollections drawn from CIA notes covering 2002 to the present.

    Leon Panetta's cover letter for this 'report' kind of shows the problem:

    “This letter presents the most thorough information we have on dates, locations, and names of all Members of Congress who were briefed by the CIA on enhanced interrogation techniques. This information, however, is drawn from the past files of the CIA and represents [memorandums for the record] completed at the time and notes that summarized the best recollections of those individuals. In the end, you and the Committee will have to determine whether this information is an accurate summary of what actually happened. We can make the MFRs available at CIA for staff review.”

    I know you guys want to spread the guilt across both parties, and maybe that is where guilt will eventually go; but recollections that the CIA itself refuses to validate certainly brings into question the authoritative conclusions everyone here is trying to make.

  6. DaGoat nails it. While Pelosi isn't criminally libel, she has much 'splainin to do…

  7. I know you guys want to spread the guilt across both parties, and maybe that is where guilt will eventually go; but recollections that the CIA itself refuses to validate certainly brings into question the authoritative conclusions everyone here is trying to make.

    The most appropriate thing to do would be to have an investigation where the MFRs are available for review and have the committee members decide on their reliability.

  8. I was initially against Senator Leahy's Truth Commission concept, but given the current bickering, that may be the right way to go. That would ensure that all responsible for planning, executing, or condoning these acts would be exposed in a public forum. The story line I'm seeing from most on the left is that torture is wrong and whoever was complicit must be exposed, while those in senior positions who committed crimes may be prosecuted. The story line I'm seeing on the right is that this wasn't really torture, and even if it was, it worked, and that the left is hypocritical in their approach to Democrats who may have been involved. Frankly, I'm inclined to believe that the left is being more honest here. I've seen no progressives who are backing off their positions because Pelosi and others may have been complicit. Some are trying to defend Pelosi, but none of them are saying that her possible involvement changes the underlying issue. The right's position is more about criticizing the left, than it is about maintaining a coherent position. If this truly wasn't torture, or if it was okay because it worked, then it matters not who was involved. Their position re Pelosi should be that she lied, but that it wasn't really torture and anyway, it worked.

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