2002 statement by Pelosi casts further doubt on her claims
Nacny Pelosi said at her press conference last week that the first she heard of waterboarding by the CIA was when a staffer informed her in February of 2003. The CIA says they told her much earlier - in the fall of 2002.
William Jacobsen of Legal Insurrection did a little digging and came up with this curious CNN report from as far back as May, 2002 that seems to indicate Pelosi was in the know about the difficulty that Abu Zubaydah was giving our interrogators:
CNN.com, May 22, 2002: Last Monday night, the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force--a round-the-clock operation at the New York field office of the FBI--got a call from FBI headquarters. Abu Zubaydah, the highest al-Qaeda official to be captured by the U.S., had told interrogators that he had heard other Osama bin Laden loyalists discussing attacks on the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and other U.S. landmarks. But, a federal law-enforcement official told TIME, Abu Zubaydah had said the conversations took place a while back and claimed he knew of no particular plan. Since his capture in March, Abu Zubaydah has shared some valuable information, says a senior U.S. intelligence source. "He's not b.s.ing us on everything." Then again, says Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, "he is also very skilled at avoiding interrogation. He is an agent of disinformation."
Jacobsen points out the obvious:
So as of May 2002, Pelosi knew the details of the interrogation of Zubaydah, and the problems the CIA was encountering due to Zubaydah's evasiveness. It does not take any leap of imagination to believe that Pelosi, then the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, would have been kept informed of the progress of the interrogation, including the use of waterboarding months later.
It would take an incredible leap of imagination to believe that the CIA would tell Pelosi about all the problems with the interrogation of Zubaydah, but not tell her what was being done to solve those problems. Particularly when the waterboarding revealed that the plot against the Brooklyn Bridge, about which Pelosi publicly spoke, was revealed to be real based on information Zubaydah provided after being waterboarded.
Pelosi is avoiding the Sunday shows today, obviously not wanting to be confronted with her ever shifting story about when she knew that the CIA was using waterboarding on detainees. But she can't avoid the press forever. It should be interesting to see what happens the next time she holds a press conference - something she normally does almost every day the House is in session.