Nancy Pelosi just held a stunning press conference and its ramifications will be felt for a long time. Here's what we know. First, the so called debate over torture, as the left refers to it, or EIT's, as the right refers to it, has now focused squarely on the Speaker. She will be the focus of this debate for the indefinite period of time. Second, someone is in huge trouble. Nancy Pelosi accused a yet unidentified CIA briefer of lying to her in a late 2002 briefing on EIT's. That briefing took place months after we now know that Abu Zubaydah was in fact waterboarded. Pelosi claims that the briefing only said that waterboarding was found to be legal and the CIA was thinking of using it.
As you can see, someone either isn't or wasn't telling the truth. Of course, Pelosi's problem is that this is her fifth or sixth story. Second of all, even if you take what she says at face value, she faces both a credibility, opportunistic, and hypocritical issue. Pelosi never really did anything because she felt it wasn't her place to do anything at the time. At her first briefing, she was told that EIT's were found to be legal. She didn't ever question or ask for any sort of clarification on this issue.
Then, when she found out about another briefing in February of 2003, she was told that waterboarding was in fact used by her own staffer. (that meeting, according to Pelosi, was attended by a member of her staff) Again, Pelosi did nothing. She felt the proper channels were for the ranking member, then Jane Harman, to send the letter that Harman sent. That's the extent of Pelosi's involvement in stopping these EIT's. It certainly doesn't seem as though she was very aggressive in stopping them when they were happening. It's only now years after they have been ended that she is gung ho to find out everything.
When everything was fresh and happening, she acted as a passive observer. Now that it is years later, with political gain in sight, she is far more aggressive in wanting to find out "the truth". All of this is very typical of everything we hate about politicians.
The CIA has already, weeks ago, released memos that contradict what Pelosi said this morning. It's unknown, to me at least, if they have anything more to prove their side. Reporters everywhere are reporting that CIA staffers have already begun to speak to them off the record on background in response to Pelosi's press conference. That's rather remarkable since all of this happened less than two hours ago.
You can bet this story isn't over. It's also possible that Pelosi's office itself has its own notes that could add to this story. It's likely there will be more leaks. Make no mistake...Nancy Pelosi is in the crosshairs. If she lied, and that is my opinion, she's in huge trouble. Politically, there's no way for her to maintain her leadership position if she did. Furthermore, Harry Reid is vulnerable in his own reelection. As such, President Obama could be dealing with two new leaders come 2011.
Nancy Pelosi looks like she is proving again that it's not the crime but the cover up.