Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CIA did tell 68 lawmakers on interrogation program

Now its a question of how big of a lie did Nancy Pelosi and others say about not being told what the CIA was doing at the time.

CIA officials briefed at least 68 U.S. lawmakers between 2001 and 2007 on enhanced interrogation methods like simulated drowning that were being considered or used against captured al Qaeda members, according to declassified documents released on Tuesday.

The once-secret CIA papers, obtained in a lawsuit by the conservative legal foundation Judicial Watch, shed new light on which lawmakers knew the details of the controversial interrogation program and when.

Human rights groups have argued the harsh interrogation methods were forms of torture and violated U.S. obligations under the Geneva Conventions on treatment of war prisoners. President Barack Obama banned the techniques shortly after taking office in January 2009.

The declassified memos show the program began after the capture of al Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi-born Palestinian who was the group's operations director, in the city of Faisalabad in central Pakistan in March 2002.

.....The CIA did not begin using the interrogation techniques until after receiving legal guidance from the Department of Justice in August 2002.

Pelosi, who became House Democratic leader in late 2002, said at a news conference in April last year that she was never told at the time that simulated drowning -- or waterboarding -- and other harsh interrogation techniques were being used. She said she was only told the CIA had legal opinions that approved harsh interrogation methods.

Hayden, in his 2007 statement for the Senate Select Committee, said as the CIA began implementing the interrogation program in 2002 "the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, the speaker, and the minority leader of the House, and the chairs and ranking members of the intelligence committees were fully briefed on the interrogation procedures."

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