Nancy Pelosi reportedly has been one of the best Speakers of the House, if the standard is keeping members in line. Lasting power, however, requires more than an up vote on a particular piece of legislation. Being a powerful Speaker requires someone who has credibility and can think two steps ahead. On both counts, Pelosi’s hold on power is weak.
The new chart of briefings, prepared by the Office of the Director of National intelligence and the first full listing of briefings, appears to call into question the assertion of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she was never told that waterboarding and other methods were used, only that the Central Intelligence Agency believed they were legal and could be used.
The chart says that at the first briefing, on Sept. 4, 2002, Ms. Pelosi, then the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and Representative Porter J. Goss, then the committee’s Republican chairman, were given a “description” of the interrogation methods that “had been employed” against a prisoner, Abu Zubaydah.
Where are we now, was it she was in the room but on the telephone when the technique was described, or was in the room but not listening, or in the room but thought it was just hypothetical, or was in the room but was told she wouldn’t be tested on the material. Maybe the dog ate her homework, so she was excused from class that day. At this point, it is hard to keep her story straight.
Pelosi has lost any measure of credibility on the issue of waterboarding. She would be credible if she said, “I knew about it but given the threat assessment and the need to protect the country, I went along.” Or, “I knew about it and made a mistake.” Almost anything other than the stories she is telling would have preserved Pelosi’s credibility.
And that gets me to the second point, thinking two steps ahead. Pelosi, over the objections of Obama and Harry Reid, has been pushing for a “truth commission” to find out who knew what and when about waterboarding. Huh? Pelosi already knows the answer. She was in the room. So she is demanding an investigation which likely will prove her to be less than wholly truthful with the truth. Brilliant.
Admittedly, I’ve never been good at chess. Thinking two steps ahead is more a checkers kind of analysis. Chess requires that one think at least several steps ahead. But one thing I do know, because I was a Yes fan as a teenager, is that you should not surround yourself with yourself, which is exactly what Pelosi has done.
UPDATE: The Other McCain links and thinks Roundabout is superior. You be the judge.
UPDATE No. 2: A more important question: Why Doesn’t the Left Call for Pelosi’s Resignation? and now this: Pelosi’s amnesia – Either that or she slept through CIA briefings
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted Friday that she was briefed only once about the “enhanced” interrogation techniques being used on terrorism suspects and that she was assured by lawyers with the CIA and the Department of Justice that the methods were legal.
UPDATE No. 4: And version at least no. 4:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi learned in early 2003 that the Bush administration was waterboarding terror detainees but didn’t protest directly out of respect for “appropriate” legislative channels, a person familiar with the situation said Monday.