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Pelosi Under Fire For Torture Timeline


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is facing criticism from GOP members over what she knew, and when, regarding interrogation techniques used by members of the U.S. armed forces to extract information from Al Qaeda operatives.

The San Francisco representative has claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency mislead her regarding the interrogation tactics used. Last week Pelosi said that she was given "inaccurate and incomplete information" regarding the use of waterboarding, or simulated drowning, in September 2002. At the time she was the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

However, her statement is at odds with CIA Director Leon Panetta's recollection that Pelosi was "briefed truthfully." Republican leaders are defending Panetta, and urging Pelosi to apologize for stating that the she was mislead by the CIA/

"If the speaker is accusing the CIA and other intelligence officials of lying or misleading the Congress then she should come forward with evidence and turn that over to the Justice Department," House Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio said on CNN's "State of the Union" Monday. "If that's not the case, I think she ought to apologize to our intelligence officials."

Former Arkansas Governor and contender for the GOP presidential nomination Mike Huckabee posted a poem on his website Monday, using rhyme to call for Pelosi to step down. In "Fancy Nancy," Huckabee accuses Pelosi of being "either unwilling to tell the truth, or she's mad as a hatter!"

"I say it here and I say it rather clear- It's time for Nancy Pelosi to resign and get out of here," Huckabee writes.

Other Republican leaders echoed his sentiment, albeit in a less colorful way. Appearing on FOX News Sunday, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kent., called on the intelligence committees to resolve the truth.

"We know what the CIA believes, the speaker apparently disagrees with that," McConnell said. "The best way for the dispute to be resolved is through the intelligence committees. At some point we'll find out what the truth is."

However, Democrats are still supportive of Pelosi. Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press over the weekend, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine offered his support for the Speaker.

Thursday, Pelosi reiterated her claim that while the CIA had told her that they had legal opinions authorizing the "enhanced" techniques, they said they were not being used.

Subsequent release of legal documents showed that the CIA was using the techniques as early as 2002, though Pelosi conceded she was subsequently told that in a 2003 briefing the CIA did brief a small group of Representatives that the techniques are being used.

"Congress and the American people now know that contrary opinions within the executive branch concluded that these interrogation techniques were not legal," she said, reading from a written statement. "However, those opinions were not shared with Congress."

She added, "We also now know that techniques, including waterboarding, had already been employed, and that those briefing me in September 2002 gave me inaccurate and incomplete information."

Pelosi, who has come under fire for not doing more to object to the use of the procedures, said that when the CIA did tell Congress that the techniques had been used, her successor as the top Democrat on the panel, Rep. Jane Harmon, D-Calif., had objected.

The "enhanced" interrogation techniques used under the Bush administration were the subject of a congressional hearing Wednesday, as a panel of experts told lawmakers of the "disastrous" mistakes of the Office of Legal Council torture memos.

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts held the hearing, which featured several academics and Philip Zelikow, a former member of the Bush administration.

Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent, argued that the torture methods were ineffective, based on his involvement in the actual questioning.

Soufan told lawmakers that the "techniques, from an operational perspective, are ineffective, slow and unreliable, and as a result harmful to our efforts to defeat al Qaeda."

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