Nancy Pelosi is truly in a defensive crouch these days on the interrogation memos. She pleads her case in a CNN interview, insisting that she was told waterboarding wasn’t being used (which is dubious and illogical, as she was told of the legal opinion obtained to support that practice). She then suggests she was powerless to do more:
“You’re really a hostage if you’re notified that something has happened. They’re not asking for your thoughts. They are notifying you that this is their opinion. They later may have notified, I don’t know, because I wasn’t part of any of those briefings, of what they were doing, but they notify you that they have an opinion.
If you want to take it to another place, who do you call, the chief justice of the Supreme Court? The president of the United States whose policies these are? You have no recourse or else you are breaking the law.”
Crowley then asked why she didn’t raise objections to the briefers, which riled up the Speaker.
PELOSI: To what end? To what end? No, we’re not — they didn’t say they were doing it. But you know what, I’m not getting into that. The fact is, is that I know what they told us and I know that they did not share our values.
Huh? They didn’t share her values because they were waterboarding? But didn’t she say that. . . Listen, a third rate prosecutor would have no problem taking apart that testimony.
But it is the feigned passivity that is breathtaking. No power of the purse, has she? No follow-up with the CIA or with members of the administration was possible? It’s rather cringe-inducing to hear the Speaker of the House admit she couldn’t figure out any procedural or rhetorical response to something she found so objectionable. Really, it’s hard to imagine a seasoned pol so lacking in guile and imagination. But, of course, she in all likelihood didn’t find anything horribly objectionable. There wasn’t any outrage at the time. She is now forced to pretend there was, to avoid the ire of her base and the accusations of rank hypocrisy. But to pull that off she must plead guilty to her own extreme incompetence.
It’s quite a display, one which the public will no doubt find enlightening if we get around to the Truth Commission. And with the aid of contemporaneous notes and additional witnesses it will make for quite a show.