Commentary Magazine


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Re: What a Tangled Web

Minority Leader John Boehner is asking the Obama administration to release the CIA’s notes briefing Nancy Pelosi. Whether the Obama team does so or not seems irrelevant. It is enough for the public now to know that Pelosi and others were briefed and that no meaningful objections and steps to halt the CIA (e.g. cutting off funding) were ever raised. The GOP, with moves like this and in interviews such as the one Sen. Kit Bond gave today, is trying to make Pelosi the story now. To the extent that “Pelosi Plays Defense on Torture” is the top story on Politico (for a good part of the day) they are succeeding. And what does that do?

Well, it might slow the witch hunt down a bit. But more importantly it reminds the voters that until it became politically expedient there was bipartisan consensus for enhanced interrogation techniques. The existence of those briefings (and the notes which will document them) suggest that everyone — the lawyers, Congress, and the CIA — were operating in good faith, as best they could, to prevent the unimaginable, namely another attack on America. That, it seems, goes to the heart of the “defense” of Bush officials who may be dragooned before a Truth Commission.