I’m a bit worried about the wingnuts. I just don’t think they are sufficiently knowledgeable of history or sophisticated enough about the ways of the world to hold public office.

John Boehner "could not imagine intelligence officials lying to Congress."

And Kit Bond says "I think it is outrageous for the speaker to call our terror fighters liars."

Joe Lieberman parses his words a bit more carefully — every once in a while he has to go back to Connecticut and face constituents who don’t view flaying liberals as a strict virtue, and think lying your face off gets you bonus points. But he "totally disagrees" with Pelosi.

And now, there’s Newt Gingrich, who doesn’t parse quite as much:

I think this is the most despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort I’ve seen in my lifetime. She is a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes, and she dishonors the Congress by her behavior. Speaker Pelosi’s the big loser, because she either comes across as incompetent, or dishonest.  Those are the only two defenses.

But let’s review:

1. Abu Zubaydah waterboarded for a month in August, 2002.

2. Nancy Pelosi, Porter Goss and Bob Graham briefed by the CIA in September 2002:

  • Pelosi says the only time waterboarding was mentioned was when the CIA said it was not being used, and that she was not informed that Abu Zubaydah had been waterboarded.
  • Goss "refutes" Pelosi by saying that he was "slack jawed" to read Pelosi’s claim that "waterboarding" was never mentioned (she didn’t), or that the CIA didn’t imply that the technique would "actually be employed." He specifically never says that they were told Zubaydah had already been waterboarded.
  • Bob Graham’s notes indicate the CIA just made up two briefings that never occured. He also says that when he was briefed, there were staff members present, and procedure dictates that they would not have been anyone there but "authorized personnel" if "sensitive programs" such as waterboarding were being discused.

So, Pelosi’s not the only one who refutes the CIA’s claims — both Porter Goss and Bob Graham back her up.

As Spencer notes, the right-wing demagogues on their fainting couches seem to be unfamiliar with the case of Richard Helms, the CIA intelligence officer convicted of lying to congress in 1977. I’m worried that with their rose-colored glasses, people like Bond, Lieberman and Boehner just don’t have an appropriately skeptical view of human nature to be making decisions about things as critical to our national safety as terrorism.

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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