22 May 2009

Rockefeller Figures in Pelosi v. CIA Torture Debate

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is featured in a widely-leaked "briefing chart" that emerged "after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed in April that the CIA failed to tell her at a September 2002 briefing that waterboarding had been used against a prisoner," The Associated Press reports.

As the article explains:

The CIA matrix also reported that Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., then the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, was briefed on Feb. 4, 2003. But it notes that Rockefeller received a "later individual briefing."

Rockefeller spokeswoman Jamie Smith said Wednesday that the senator was not briefed on the CIA interrogation program until Sept. 4, 2003.
CIA spokesman George Little told AP that "on the Rockefeller briefing, the chart plainly indicates that he wasn't there and was to be briefed individually later. That's in fact what our records show. The chart makes no claim as to if or when that briefing occurred."

AP counts three new errors in the CIA chart, "of 40 congressional briefings on so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. Those techniques include waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning, which President Barack Obama has called torture."

FactCheck.org has sought to wade through the dueling accusations from Pelosi and CIA officials.

"It is clear that Pelosi has contradicted herself, and that she knew as early as 2003 that waterboarding was in use, long before she raised any public or private objection," its analysis concludes. "But as to whether she was misled by CIA officials in a 2002 briefing, we can't say on the basis of evidence than is publicly available now. That judgment may have to wait for the history books."

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