House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday defended Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) against GOP attacks that she knew more than she is letting on about the Bush administrations use of harsh interrogation techniques.
But Hoyer stopped short of saying there shouldnt be hearings to figure out what lawmakers knew, and when they knew it, about the possible use of waterboarding on suspected terrorists. Waterboarding is used to simulate drowning.
During his weekly sit-down with reporters, Hoyer bashed Republicans for trying to smear Pelosi. He charged Republicans with trying to distract attention away from the real issue, which is that torture may have taken place under Bushs tenure.
The issue is not what was said or what was known, the question and focus ought to be on what was done, he said. If you dont have the facts, pound on the table. Theyre pounding on the table. Or theyre pounding on Speaker Pelosi. Take your pick.
Pelosi, who in September 2002 was briefed on interrogation tactics being used on al-Qaida suspects, was in a position as the Intelligence Committee ranking member where she was bound by requirements of secrecy as a condition of those briefings, Hoyer said.
Still, he added, details on who said what and when it was said about the use of severe interrogation tactics probably ought to be on record as well, so the American public knows.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.