Before you get too harsh on Pelosi, you might want to check this out:
Bob Graham just appeared on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show. In addition to repeating earlier reports that he was never briefed on waterboarding, Graham revealed that the first time he asked the CIA when he was briefed on torture, it claimed it had briefed him on two dates when no briefing took place.
I didn’t get Graham’s exact quotes (and the quotes below are rough approximations), but when asked to respond to Philip Zelikow’s assertion that members of Congress from both parties had been briefed on this program, Graham said that when he asked the CIA when he had been briefed on the program, the CIA gave him the dates of four briefings, two in April 2002 and two in September 2002, when they claimed they had briefed him about the program. But after Graham consulted his own records, he pointed out that on two of those dates, he had not attended any briefing. After Graham pointed this out to the CIA, they conceded their own dates were incorrect.
Does anyone have any faith in the CIA to get this right? Also note that Richard Shelby is now saying something very similar to Pelosi:
When asked whether Shelby was informed that waterboardbing was being used, Graffeo responded: “Waterboarding was one of the EITs the CIA briefed Sen. Shelby on.”
First, note that the waterboarding response does not indicate whether Shelby was told it was being USED.
Shelby was briefed on the “existence of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” [emphasis added] and was informed of the “need for these techniques and the value of the information being obtained from terrorists during questioning.” It’s unclear to me whether this means Shelby was told the techniques were actually being used.
Intelligence documents released last week (see here, via Greg Sargent) characterize the briefing with Shelby and Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) this way:
“Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of the particular EITs that had been employed.” [emphasis added]
This characterization is identical to how the CIA characterized the separate briefing with Pelosi and then-Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.)
Graham has said that he does not “have any recollection of being briefed on waterboarding or other forms of extraordinary interrogation techniques, or Abu Zubaydah being subjected to them.”
They were told the methods existed, but not that they were being used.
BTW- isn’t Bob Graham the fellow who has a journal of EVERYTHING he has done for the past 50 years or something? I vaguely remember a piece about that in something like 60 Minutes, but teh google is failing me. If I am remembering correctly, his obsession with keeping a journal is so fanatical I thought it was OCD. If I am right, then Bob Graham is the absolute worst person for the CIA to be playing these games.
Graham’s a straight shooter. If he says this, it’s probably true.
Just as a side note, for anybody unaware of what Graham’s records are like…
Is this incompetence a hangover from 8 years of Bush hires and appointees, or should Obama’s people have been able to get this kind of stuff under control by now? Seems like either way there is some serious housecleaning to be done.
No, but I’m sure they will be protected from any accountability whatsoever. They need to be able to take risks to protect us, even with Congress.
This is all a diversion. In the final analysis, Pelosi (and Shelby, and anyone else who was briefed) did not formulate the policy or approve it. Their knowledge, however deep, doesn’t give Bush et. al. a pass.
Do you mean to say that the CIA might be lying about illegal activities they were involved in, in order to save their own skins? Heavens!
Is the only way to get straight talk from the CIA to haul a bunch of the head wankers out and shoot them?
John, does this mean you concede that Pelosi, et. al., might be telling the truth, or would you still be:
I’m not being critical here, it just seems like a quick turnaround from your post earlier today, and wanted clarification on whether that’s the case or not.
Graham is, indeed, the compulsive journal keeper. Or at least he was.
@grimc: I was just adding that to the bottom of my post. Well done.
Obama is thinking to himself, “Mate in two”
And here’s a link to a story about his compulsion/obsession:
Story in 2003 about Graham’s journal keeping proclivities…
@JGabriel: No, I still think they were told, but I am open to the notion that they were merely told the techniques exist and that they had legal opinions saying they were legal. I don’t think it is unreasonable what I aid earlier- they were told the bare minimum and everyone involved was happy with it being kept to the bare minimum.
And none of it changes the fact that she isn’t responsible for formulating the policy.
Yes, Bob Graham compulsively wrote down every single thing that happened throughout his day. “Had turkey sandwich”, “took cab home”, “watched a re-run of M.A.S.H.”, that sort of thing forever.
CIA 0, OCD 1.
Well, according to that CNN piece it took Bob Graham a full fifteen minutes to rewind Ace Ventura. Either Bob Graham rewinds his movies by hand or his “journal” isn’t worth much.
This is all very slowly(just how Barack likes it, BTW) unfolding in to a prosecution for lying to Congress.
And yes, I would bet money that these people are going to throw Cheney under several Greyhounds.
An important point to keep in mind is that there was a time during the Bush administration when the national security apparatus briefed Democratic congresspeople separately from Republican congresspeople.
As I don’t see a policy/process reason this should be so, I suspect it was political. Also note how the Village and the right act as though this is a BIG.FUCKING.DEAL. but that the actual implementers of the torture policy are really not important. They don’t get to have it both ways. If this is not such a big deal, then Pelosi isn’t particularly compromised. If it is a big deal, certainly accessory after the fact isn’t as bad as being the actual perpetrator of the crime.
From Graham’s wiki page:
“He has a quirky habit of keeping a detailed log of his daily activities on color-coded notebooks, which some say may have cost him a spot on past vice-presidential tickets. He keeps all of these notes in a file cabinet arranged by month and year.”
Wow. The CIA screwed that one up, indeed.
Still, this is a huge distraction. The real culprits are the people who ordered the torture, not the schmoes who, from the helplessness of the minority party, were “briefed” on it. (And I’m betting the “briefing” was brief indeed, and almost certainly done in the Top Secret Cone Of Silence where if you so much as breathe a word of what you’ve heard, you’re run up on espionage charges.)
Dick Cheney is in a big fix, whether he knows it or not. Given his history of crapping all over the CIA, I can’t imagine that the boys at Langley are going to go all the way to the mat for him if Congress starts pushing for an investigation.
@grimc: Looks like Graham has been twittering to himself for 50 years.
I hope Graham finds another source of notebooks. I have this thought of him dropping stone dead the moment he fills out the last page.
Or like many old people, he can’t use a VCR without the owner’s manual.
The CIA, the NSA, the DOD intelligence agency and any other intelligence agency that exists need to be torn down and reconstituted into one organization that knows what the hell it is doing and follows the law.
Small nit, sorry…
you want to end the post with “with”
@The Sphynx: Bigger nit…
My preference would be:
“If I am right, then Bob Graham is the worst person in the world with whom the CIA should be playing these games.”
Or you never rewound a movie on an old VCR.
Or he had an older VCR. 15 minutes for a full length movie would have been fast on my old VCR.
@JoshA: “which some say may have cost him a spot on past vice-presidential tickets”
I bet it’s not so much that the Presidential campaigns were afraid of what would be found during vetting, but that they sure as hell didn’t want to have to go through all the damn things.
Colbert had a little bit on that too a while ago.
Ah. We’re pretty much on the same page then. The only point of difference I have – and it’s perhaps just as much semantic as meaningful – is that I believe they were told, not nothing, but less than the bare (i.e. legal) minimum.
Sort-of unrelated, but have to share this anecdote… when I was in DC for the Inauguration, I walked out of my hotel bear Union Station, and standing on the sidewalk right in front of me was Bob Graham. I couldn’t resist, so I walked up, shook his hand and began singing “You’ve got a friend in Bob Graham, that’s what everybody’s sayin’!” from his 2004 campaign. Next thing I know, the former Senator is grinning ear to ear and joins in for a hearty chorus, and then proceeded to teach me the second verse! We then talked for about 20 minutes, and he couldn’t stop saying how proud he was of his country that it had elected Barack Obama. He was as gracious and kind as anyone could possibly be to a complete stranger.
I’ve always thought he was just great, and when I met him I liked him even more. You’re right, John, he’s the last person they’re going to want to tangle with. He’s a good, honest, patriotic man and now that he is centrally involved, this is going to get very interesting, very fast. I’d take Sen. Graham’s word over just about anybody in Washington these days.
Update to Wingnut Logic, V. 7.4 (Luntz Edition).
Yeah….I wouldn’t be surprised if the admin deliberately kept them in the dark, or some junior grade flunky thought it would please Bush for them to tell Democrats even less than that bare minimum.
There is no excuse for not knowing about practices that were used after the first revelations of torture.
The more I think of it, this is looking more like the repubs shooting themselves in the foot again. What, at most, are they accusing Pelosi of? Being aware that they tortured Zubaydah and not publicly objecting at the time? That is not a crime, period. On the flip side, however, we now have an open admission of torture and a clear intent to do so, and evidence that it was done before they told Pelosi and others in Congress.
This is the campaign all over again, like Sarah Palin calling Obama a social1st and thinking that has any traction. Cheney et al must really believe that Americans really do support torture per se, because anything is justified to “keep us safe.” The thing is, a lot of Americans don’t support it under any circumstances, and even ones who don’t categorically rule it out probably believe it is excusable only under certain exigent circumstances, e.g., the old ticking bomb. But only a very few nutjobs would support torture to gain evidence ex post facto to justify a war. It’s not only horrible on moral grounds, it’s horribly shitty judgement because of the likelihood of being wrong and the cost that entails.
Wingnuts consider this a feature, not a bug.
Rapture Now, Bitches!
The Cat Who Would Be Tunch
I find this extremely amusing, especially since I received the following recruiting letter in my email this week.
“Masters at putting pieces of information together”? “Free of any political bias”? Righto then. I guess this brief would be very persuasive to those with short-term memories.
Anyways, all of this back and forth about who was briefed on what and when could be useful to know but it still doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t matter which party’s members knew and/or sanctioned torture. I honestly don’t care (and I assume most Dem voters who are against torture are in the same camp) if a bunch of Democrats get prosecuted. All this finger pointing to the Democratic politicians is equivalent to firing a warning shot: Pass the blame around to enough Democrats so that the Democratic majority in Congress won’t be willing to investigate. I just hope public pressure and perhaps unseating Democratic candidates that continually obstruct investigations will work against this.
I keep hearing people talk about how naive it is to require that intelligence agencies be overseen. When did intelligence gathering become a synonym for using coercive methods on whoever is in your custody?
Silly me, I thought intelligence gathering was about examining many sources (written mostly), maybe interviewing some people, and THEN trying to construct a coherent picture of the matter being investigated. Of course developing some human sources is a good idea, too. But most of this is rather mundane, detail-oriented work.
Yet these days the answer to all intelligence questions seems to be “let’s waterboard someone and find out.”
which is a shame, because putting bob graham on a ticket gets you florida. i’m from there, and, seriously, we love that guy.
and yeah, he’s definitely not the guy the cia wants to be messing with when it comes to what happened when.
Cause it takes smart people to do that, and there were far too many stupid people in the Bush Administration to pull that kind of analysis off?
How good id the CIA now if they are fouling up when they did briefings, esp. about such a sensitive topic.
Wouldn’t you think that the CIA, the agency tasked to gather information would know that Bob Graham takes notes that puts them to shame. They tried to pull a fast one with a man who tracks events like a bloodhound tracks a scent.
Hopefully Graham will not now experience a mysterious fire that just happens to burn his 2002-2006 filing cabinets …
To be honest, I’m really curious as to how Graham’s meticulous habit will be used to show how untrustworthy his notes are. Maybe #17’s post was a preview.
They tried to Dijon Mustard Obama; will it be as simple as Ace Ventura-ing Graham?
I dunno. I can’t shake the feeling that Pelosi’s the bait. Cantor, Boehner and the rest can’t resist a “what did she know and when did she know it” pile on, but hey! if waterboarding isn’t torture and none of this was illegal then what the hell does it matter what she knew or when she knew it?
Perfect bait, because Pelosi derangement syndrome is common among wingnuts and it plays into their weakness toward facile false equivalence — knowing about and not publicly objecting to torture is not equivalent to performing the actual torture, and any sane person knows that. For the meagre political capital that might be gleaned from these “revelations,” the wingnuts now can’t obfuscate “enhanced interrogation techniques” so easily, especially if what Wilkerson says about trying to use torture to get evidence of an Iraq/al Queda link pans out. People instinctively know how fucked up that scenario is. Jesse Ventura nailed that one with his “let me waterboard Dick Cheney and I’ll get him to confess to the Sharon Tate murders.”
@jenniebee: But it is not bait set Democrats, but by Republicans.
I wonder if they have a death wish, or if their guilt is so great and their internal cognitive dissonance is so harsh that they are being compulsively self destructive. Cheney is pretty much volunteering that he commits war crimes… does he desire vindication, or just the relief of being prosecuted?
You are a fucking idiot. I googled Bob Graham and the first Wikipedia entry makes mention of his color coded journal.
Still love how you think the first Bush, who pardoned his own crimes through Casper Weinberger’s Pardon, is someone you admire.
You are a fucking idiot.
the first google result
Trouble with teh google huh?
It’s called Hypergraphia you fucking dolt.
Wikipedia may not be the most accurate, but god damn you are a functioning retard.
@Jim Coffey: I was googling the 60 Minutes episode with Graham, jackass.
You really might want to consider decaf.
There is an added element that adds to Bob Graham’s credibility in this case. The man is out of politics, retired if you will. He is not anticipating the next election, and thus making his statements through the political lens. He is at this point, simply a citizen with no other motive than to set the record straight and tell the whole truth. The fact that he is a compulsive note taker is just the cream on top of the milk.
Gee, everybody’s coming around to my idea that this was a Republican and CIA setup of Pelosi from the get-go. Amazing. I guess that makes me a premature anti-fascist, huh?
Graham has been on this since day one.
“Local agencies have been denied information which would help them be more effective first responders, and the American people do not have the information upon which they can hold the administration and responsible agencies accountable,” he said. “I call that a coverup.”
When pressed on what the administration knew before September 11, Graham said he could not be specific because the information is still classified. He said the administration is labeling much information as such because it is “embarrassing” to the White House.
U.S. Sen. Bob Graham of Florida said this week that the failure to find banned weapons in Iraq will raise “a serious question as to the credibility of the United States in the world and undercutting of confidence of the American people in the veracity of their government.”
“The classification had more to do with [any given] agency wishing to avoid embarrassment by the disclosure of their actions or inactions rather than the protection of some national security interest,” Graham said on CBS’s “Face The Nation
Graham also charged that Bush “knowingly” misled the American people about the reasons for going to war in Iraq — both by claiming that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Africa and by withholding information about the length, danger and expense of postwar reconstruction.
“Clearly, if the standard is now what the House of Representatives did in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the actions of this president [are] much more serious in terms of dereliction of duty,” the Florida Democrat said on Fox News Sunday
All above from cnn.com archives.
@TenguPhule: Or he skipped mentioning the 12.5 minutes where the “prunes finally started working”. Cuz the man has his limits.
@Jim Coffey, and by the by, google’s results do change over time as people start searching for stuff, and more importantly, clicking on it. Your results WILL vary over the course of a day as an issue hits the mass consciousness.
Pelosi isn’t bait, she’s toast:
Now, if she doesn’t recall, she doesn’t recall. But she did admit she attended the briefing.
Senator Graham is a great man, but Speaker Pelosi? I’m sorry, but you’re no Bob Graham. We’re talking about apples and oranges here in terms of personal credibility and culpability. I don’t know how Graham exonerates her when she admitted that she was at the briefing where they actually did explain things to her.
If she can weasel out of this, she deserves to be Obama’s VP in 2012.
But you guys keep saying that torturing prisoners was no big deal, and besides it was perfectly legal. So why should Pelosi be forced out because she knew about the CIA’s little fraternity pranks?
I really am waiting for the explanation. If the torture was perfectly legal, why does it matter if Pelosi knew all about it?
Sorry, but this doesn’t make a lick of sense.
Perhaps we are entering the stage where the story is changing so fast that the lies can’t keep up. That’s always the downside of choosing to hide and cover up stuff. But somehow people never seem to remember that.
Best advice I ever got: Tell the truth and shame the devil.
Various people have posted interesting links regarding Graham’s reputation as a note-taker. A few hours ago James Fallows at the the Atlantic also remarked about this.
You seem to be behind the curve on this one–the last I heard, she wasn’t denying that she attended the briefing (it was another, later briefing that was debated), but claimed that that she was not accurately informed about the use of waterboarding.
In any case, as has been pointed out over and over again, she’s not the one responsible for Cheney’s walk on the wild side. It would have been very nice if the Dems had done their job as the opposition party, but their lack of spine is not a crime.
Link for Pelosi.
Edit: er, never mind–I forgot John had already posted about that. So many blogs, so hard to keep track…
@JenJen: That’s a great story about meeting Bob Graham. I say, “Bring it, CIA, because that’s how he rolls, bitches!”
See, every pathology has an upside.
@Mnemosyne: You confuse me with someone who doesn’t believe that there should be a slew of Republicans in line ahead of her to be processed into Federal prison, provided we have an investigation and a fair trial for these people.
Culpability is culpability. The blame doesn’t end just because someone has a D behind their name. All we ever heard about from her and her colleagues was “oversight and compliance” and when she was, in fact, in a position of oversight and when she was, in fact, in attendance at a briefing, her “oversight and compliance” has turned into “tuck and roll.”
What would you say to a set of hearings chaired by Russ Feingold? Similar in scope and context to those conducted by Senator Harry S Truman? Would you immediately ask that Senator Feingold excuse any and all parties with “D’s” behind their name?
The quickest way to exonerate all concerned is to treat all concerned the same and conduct a proper and thorough investigation. My guess is, liberals are going to scream their pants straight off to stop something like that.
@Dungheap: Before this turns into a “kerners go!” moment, please note that Graham said, with regard to the rewound VHS tape, “If you spent 15 minutes rewinding Ace Ventura and returning it to Blockbuster . . . ”
So he isn’t talking about taking 15 minutes to just rewind the tape, but 15 minutes to rewind it and return it to the store.
Apologies to all whose “Tapegate” mellow has been harshed.
Before anyone starts harshing on Pelosi, you better check your facts and your memory.
Does anyone remember when ranking minority members such as John Conyers tried to hold hearings under Republican rule? Does anyone here remember how Democrats were treated? Republicans (Hastert) wouldn’t give Dems a room to use, then turned off the speakers and then the lights when the Dems wouldn’t break up.
Does anyone here think that those same fucking Republicans were going to tell the Dems the truth about something they are STILL lying about to the country?
Please. Give me a fucking break. This is a LIE, and a setup.
I have no doubt Graham is telling the truth and has a definite claim that is verifiably true that impeaches the credibility of CIA officials.
That’s different from the case with Speaker Pelosi, who admits she was in attendance, BUT she claims she wasn’t “accurately informed.”
Was she capable of providing proper oversight by ensuring that, before she left a meeting concerning the defence of this country, that she was fully cognizant of what was discussed? If not, she was not qualified to attend those briefings. Perhaps the truth is, Rep. Jane Harman WAS more qualified and that Speaker Pelosi is smarting over that. Who knows?
Now, Speaker Pelosi is a sharp woman. She is probably not as knowledgeable as former Senator Bob Graham, but that’s not a knock against her. But if you think the then-Minority Leader would sit in a briefing about the subject at hand and then skulk to the door confused about what was told to her, you win the prize for being the most confooozed liberal to stumble through the booby hatch.
@JenJen: The Bob Graham story you just told made me smile from ear to ear. Thanks.
I have his book “Intelligence Matters.” I need to look back through it for any relevant details.
Two different briefings. One common element, an element that’s admitted either confusion or prevarication. And you’re claiming it’s different?
Try again. Don’t insult my intelligence next time.
Oddly, the CIA seems to be backing her up:
You may not want to hang your hat on this one being true. If it is, I’ll be happy to see her go to jail, but there’s going to be a long line of Republicans ahead of her.
@gwangung: Do you have evidence of it? You seem to want to wallow in confusion and keep your Speaker out of prison.
@Mnemosyne: Yes. I drew you that line. In this case, you’ll likely see quite a bit of media complicity in trying to keep her out of political jeopardy.
Forgive me for not being willing to accept at face value what either Pelosi or the CIA says, but I have no idea who is telling the truth. However, I am curious about one thing (among many others) — the use of the American flag at speaking events and press conferences.
Who decides how many American flags is the correct number to put behind an American politician? Is there research that shows that four are better than three? Are eight four times as good as two or sixteen times better? Is there some point where diminishing returns set in?
I have very little hope that many (if any) of this country’s most pressing problems will be solved (or even effectively addressed), so I’m going to focus on hoping someone figures out a way to get the US to adopt a new, and very different flag.
@oh really: WTF? or perhaps i should say “oh, really?”
Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan
“I have no doubt Graham is telling the truth and has a definite claim that is verifiably true that impeaches the credibility of CIA officials.”
And yet you’re having a hard time understanding that Graham’s account backs up Pelosi’s account.
As for a commission led by Feingold: sure. I like Pelosi a lot, and believe [based on a short personal meeting with her] that she takes protecting sensitive information seriously, unlike certain past Vice-Presidents and their Chiefs of Staff, and so felt constrained when the CIA finally came clean in March 2003 about what it was doing, and even then she may not have been given all the details: read her presser carefully and it’ll become clear the intel committee staffer couldn’t convey details to her.
But if Pelosi’s career is what has to be sacrificed to get Gonzo, Cheney, Yoo, etc. in prison, I’m up for it. Remember, she hasn’t made any sins of omission unless what the CIA was doing was torture. Cheney is setting himself up here, and is not shrewd enough to see it.
Thank you!! It was my pleasure to share that story. It was the most enjoyable stop-n-chat I’ve ever had; often when you meet politicians in real-life, they’re either over-the-top phony, or completely bored with you immediately. Bob Graham is an American treasure, and more importantly, he actually seems to love his fellow Americans. If you ever have the great privilege of running into him, sing him the Bob Graham Song, and you’ll have a new friend for life.
Whatta guy. :-)
@Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan:
I concur. But, when has Cheney ever really been shrewd? He’s got a reputation, as unearned as Rove’s, but there are no facts supporting the contention that he’s an especially bright or clever man.
He’s secretive, and he’s bold. In the Bush WH, during the cowboy heydays of Arnaud-Amaury v2.001-2.008, those were assets in the execution of his plans.
Now, they’re distinct liabilities.