Hoekstra Wants More CIA Interrogation Documents Made Public

Posted May 8, 2009 at 5:41pm

House Intelligence ranking member Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) is pressing intelligence officials to declassify more documents that show what Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) knew about the types of severe interrogations tactics used on suspected terrorists.

Hoekstra, who has access to classified information, said he spent Thursday at the CIA reviewing materials that give details on the types of interrogation tactics that Pelosi and other lawmakers have been briefed on over the years.

“I went through all the memorandum. I can’t talk specifically about them, but as I read them, I saw no reason why they couldn’t be declassified,— Hoekstra said in an interview Friday.

In fact, Hoekstra said he is so “anxious— for the documents to be declassified that on Friday he wrote a letter to National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair asking for those memorandums to be made public. These materials include copies of slideshows that Members were shown during the briefings, he said.

Hoekstra’s push to make more documents public comes two days after the release of a declassified report showing that Pelosi was briefed in September 2002 on “enhanced interrogation techniques,— which include waterboarding, on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah.

Pelosi has maintained that the content of her briefing did not include details on the use of waterboarding, only that waterboarding — which simulates drowning — was a legal option. Pelosi also questioned the precision of the report, which was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Hoekstra said the reason to make the memorandum public is to show that harsh interrogation tactics were “an American policy. This policy was reviewed and approved at the highest levels of government.—

It is “totally unfair— that front-line CIA personnel and attorneys are taking heat for interrogation tactics when “the leadership of the Intelligence Committee was part in parcel of this for five years,— the Michigan Republican said.

Hoekstra said he expects that the CIA or DNI will declassify the documents, but the question is whether it will happen “in two weeks, whether in two months or two years.—

He added that he didn’t know why Pelosi wouldn’t want the materials declassified if she has nothing to hide.

“I would think Nancy Pelosi would want them made public,— Hoekstra said. “She obviously believes the CIA has lied to her. These memorandum should clear it up.—

Two key Democrats have endorsed the idea of holding public hearings on the torture of detainees: Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who chairs the Intelligence Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Hoekstra said Members who have been briefed on interrogation tactics should be the first people called to testify in these hearings. But for now, he said, those hearings seem to have been shelved.

“It appears they’ve lost some of the energy for these hearings,— Hoekstra said, referencing a hearing that Schakowsky was planning to hold a week and a half ago that never happened.

“I think Schakowsky has been told not to have them,— he said. “Maybe they recognized it might just keep bringing up Nancy Pelosi because she was the first one to be briefed.—

Schakowsky spokesman Trevor Kincaid said the hearings are still in the works.

“Several weeks ago, she instructed Intelligence Committee staff to begin investigating this matter,— he said. “This investigation is ongoing and will be conducted in a thoughtful and thorough manner.—