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Pro-con on Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi TortureThe most salient — and most widely ignored — point in judging the competing claims of Nancy Pelosi and the CIA is that regardless of what Pelosi was informed of, whether in a quiet hint or in a full briefing behind closed doors, it wouldn't make torture any less illegal or any more acceptable. That's why the Pentagon and the FBI, which apparently did know what was happening in Dick Cheney's dungeons, refused to participate in this wholesale breach of American and international law. The rush to arraign Pelosi is a transparent attempt to divert attention from that paramount fact — the real crime. Pelosi made the mistake of saying out loud what everyone knows (if not in this instance, then in many others): that the CIA "misled" the Congress. It is hardly beyond belief that the Bush-Cheney regime and its compliant CIA Director George Tenet offered the congressional leaders little more than euphemisms such as "enhanced interrogation techniques"— and never owned up to what was actually going on. — Robert Shrum, the Week

We need a get-some-truth-from-the-speaker commission. Pelosi has offered several carefully parsed and ever-shifting explanations on what she knew about harsh techniques and when she knew it. She accused the CIA and the Bush administration of lying to Congress about what was actually happening with the suspects. That accusation rightfully drew a sharp rebuke from CIA Director Leon Panetta, a former Democratic member of the House. Pelosi apparently didn't have a problem after Sept. 11 with harsh methods that were used on some suspects when the threat of repeat attacks seemed most acute. But now she would like to rewrite history, and extend a political war that voters thought they settled with the last presidential election. Confidence in Pelosi has been eroded by this episode. And, inconvenient for her, that's the truth. — Chicago Tribune editorial

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