Pelosi Aide Reportedly Present at CIA Briefing
Updated: May 9, 2:49 p.m.
A declassified report submitted to Congress on Wednesday states that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was briefed on the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,— which include waterboarding, on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah in September 2002.
Pelosi’s office maintains that the content of those briefings did not include details on the use of waterboarding.
However, the Washington Post reported today that a top Pelosi aide attended a CIA briefing in early 2003 where he learned that waterboarding was being used to interrogate Abu Zubaydah.
Michael Sheehy, a top Pelosi aide, was present for a classified briefing that included Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), at which agency officials discussed the use of waterboarding on the terrorism suspect.
The report, prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, was delivered to the Senate Intelligence Committee and other Capitol Hill offices. It cites a Sept. 4, 2002, meeting involving intelligence officials and Pelosi, then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss (R-Fla.) and two aides.
The report describes the meeting as a “Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of particular EITs that had been employed.— EITs, or enhanced interrogation techniques, are special interrogation tactics that include waterboarding.
Pelosi maintains that she was never told about waterboarding taking place. Last week, she specified that the Bush administration had told her that such tactics might be used, but not that they had already been employed.
And, according to her office, the release of the DNI report says nothing new.
“As this document shows, the Speaker was briefed only once, in September 2002. The briefers described these techniques, said they were legal, but said that waterboarding had not yet been used,— said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly.
The report also details dozens of other meetings with Members of Congress where the use of waterboarding was described. Lawmakers in those meetings included Harman, Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.); and then-Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.).
The report was sent to Congress with a letter from CIA Director Leon Panetta to Intelligence Committee leaders describing the way it was compiled, ABC News reported Thursday.
The report includes “the most thorough information we have on dates, locations, and names of all Members of Congress who were briefed by the CIA on enhanced interrogation techniques. This information, however, is drawn from the past files of the CIA and represents [memorandums for the record] completed at the time and notes that summarized the best recollections of those individuals,— the letter states.