The Incredible Shrinking CIA/Pelosi Story
It's getting comical how much the traditional media has been bullied by the conservative noise machine on this Nancy Pelosi story, in the face of all kinds of evidence to the contrary. Today yet another member of Congress has disputed the veracity of the CIA's briefing records, which claimed that an Appropriations committee staffer was present at briefings when he was not. Leon Panetta's heavily lawyered, hedged rebuttal did not reject Pelosi's premise that the agency lied to her, and even today he will not dispute the charge. And Zachary Roth reports on yet another tidbit that starts to eat away at the official story as interpreted by the right:
Almost every briefing described in the document -- including the September 2002 Pelosi briefing that's directly at issue -- refers to "EITs," or enhanced interrogation techniques, as a subject that was discussed. But according to a former intelligence professional who has participated in such briefings, that term wasn't used until at least 2006.
That's not just an issue of semantics. The former intel professional said that by using the term in the recently compiled document, the CIA was being "disingenuous," trying to make it appear that the use of such techniques was part of a "formal and mechanical program." In fact, said the former intel pro, it wasn't until 2006 that -- amid growing concerns about the program among some in the Bush administration -- the EIT program was formalized, and the "enhanced interrogation techniques" were properly defined and given a name.
This argument is disintegrating. The Bush Administration, through the CIA, clearly did a pitiful job of following the law in informing members of Congress about their activities. And in the final analysis, that's a separate issue. The main issue continues to be the actions of the Bush Administration in assenting to and directing illegal torture, a violation of domestic and international law.
...Fox News really let their slip show yesterday, with a correspondent admitting that the right-wing goal here is to shift the discussion from prosecuting Bush officials to Pelosi.