Having been definitively contradicted by the CIA, Pelosi is now accusing the CIA of lying. This is very much the pot calling the kettle black, since we now know that Pelosi was indeed told about waterboarding, despite her claims to the contrary. She’s clearly hoping that by counterattacking she’ll be able to distract the press from her own lies.
UPDATE: On Pelosi’s press conference, Charles Krauthammer comments:
Well, her news conference today was an utter disaster. She was nervous. She was shifty. Her syntax was incomprehensible. And there were times when she had had to refer to her original statement because she couldn’t remember what the current truth — her current truth was.
It reminds me of a line in a Graham Greene novel in which a spy says “I prefer to tell the truth. It’s easier to memorize.” Well, she didn’t have it memorized. You had a sense that if you’d attached a lie detector to her in that news conference, it would have short circuited.
Look, her problem was this. She was internally contradictory with one point. Within 30 seconds she contradicted her own statement on what she had heard from her staff in February ’03. She was contradicted by the evidence of others like Porter Goss.
Her charge of the CIA lying to her is utterly implausible. Why would it lie to her and tell all the others the truth? It makes no sense at all.
UPDATE: Steny Hoyer won’t back Pelosi’s allegations.
UPDATE: Leon Panetta backs the CIA:
Panetta, President Obama’s pick to run the clandestine agency and President Clinton’s former chief of staff, wrote in a memo to CIA employees Friday that “CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing ‘the enhanced techniques that had been employed,'” according to CIA records.
UPDATE: The WSJ comments:
On the merits, it seems highly implausible that the CIA would have lied to Mrs. Pelosi. Briefings are attended by more than one agency official, and a legislative liaison typically writes up a summary memo describing significant exchanges. Agency careerists hardly loved the Bush Administration after the Iraq WMD fiasco, and the controversy over “torture” has raged for years. If the CIA had misled Congress on a matter that was so politicized, surely someone in the agency would have leaked it long before now, if only to deflect blame onto the unpopular (and soon to depart) Republicans.
Mrs. Pelosi is now caught in a humiliation of her own design that will only escalate if she insists on an interrogation “truth commission.” To adapt a famous phrase, we’re not sure her reputation can handle the truth.