Human Rights Watch: Pelosi Has Some 'Splaining To Do About Torture Briefing

Oh, that waterboarding...
Oh, for a return to the days when a troupe of miscreants breaking into Democratic Party headquarters was the source of our national angst -- and not nightmarish, government-sanctioned torture techniques.

A memo released yesterday by the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA reveals that Nancy Pelosi was explicitly briefed -- in 2002 -- that "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" (i.e. "torture") was being used against specific terror suspects such as Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein. Pelosi's office issued a statement explaining she flunked that drug test because of prescription medicine obtained from a Florida doctor ... whoops! Wrong delicately worded statement. Actually, Pelosi claims she was only informed that waterboarding et al. were techniques the government felt it could use, not that it was actively using them.

A representative of the organization Human Rights Watch tells SF Weekly that Pelosi's waterboarding explanation doesn't hold water.

"It doesn't sound like a very good defense," says Stacy Sullivan, a counter-terrorism adviser at the human rights organization.

Sullivan reiterated HRW's call for an independent commission to get to the bottom of who was waterboarding whom -- and who knew about it when.

In this call, Sullivan has an unlikely ally -- Nancy Pelosi.

"To her credit, she is one of the few people calling for this," notes Sullivan. "It's her and Sen. Patrick Leahy [D-Vermont]. No one else."

If such a commission were formed -- and don't hold your breath -- it could, interestingly, call Pelosi onto the carpet and demand to know all the particulars about when she became aware the United States was torturing suspects.

"It could put [Pelosi] in an embarrassing position," confirms Sullivan. "Yet she's still calling for [an independent commission] even though most of the Democratic leadership is opposed to it."
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