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Speaker was briefed, say Republicans; cleaning up after Hillary.

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Pelosi Squirms on Waterboarding

Speaker was briefed, say Republicans; cleaning up after Hillary.

At a press conference yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) denied claims that she and other Democrat leaders were informed of any of the advanced interrogation methods that were in use, such as waterboarding. Pelosi stated emphatically, “We were not — I repeat — were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used.”

Yet the Washington Post in December of 2007 reported on a first-hand virtual tour of CIA overseas detentions sites given to Pelosi, then the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and other members of Congress, that included graphic instruction on waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques.

From the Post story:

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

HUMAN EVENTS Editor Jed Babbin asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) about this yesterday. McConnell said, “My understanding was that she [Speaker Pelosi] was among a select group of people who were briefed on exactly what was going on. And no one seems to recall anybody objecting. And I’m not criticizing any of them for not objecting. We need to remember that we were all concerned about trying to prevent additional attacks on our homeland.”

House Republican leader John Boehner (Ohio) told HUMAN EVENTS last night, “If you look at the effort that was undertaken by our government after 9/11 in order to make America safe and help keep America safe, it’s clear to me that it was done in a bipartisan way. And whether you’re talking about the terrorist surveillance programs, whether you’re talking about interrogation techniques, whether you’re talking about the Treasury program to track this money, all of this information was downloaded to congressional leaders of both parties, with no objections being raised. From everything that I understand, Pelosi and other leaders were fully briefed on all of these interrogation techniques. There’s nothing here that should surprise her.”

Perhaps Pelosi is merely shocked that the media is actually asking her real questions. Stay tuned!

Cleaning Up After Hillary

In her appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made claims of dire reductions in family planning services by the Bush administration.

“I’ve spent a lot of my time trying to bring down the rate of abortions and it has been my experience that good family planning and good medical care brings down the rate of abortion,” Clinton said. “Keeping women and men in ignorance and denied the access to services actually increases the rate of abortion. During my time as first lady, I helped to create the campaign against teenage pregnancy and while we were working to provide good information, access to contraception, and decision-making that would enable young women to protect themselves and say no, the rate of teen pregnancy went down. I’m sad to report that after an administration of eight years that undid so much of the good work, the rate of teenage pregnancy is going up.”

HUMAN EVENTS asked Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a non-profit pro-life group, to respond to these allegations.

“International Family Planning was generously funded throughout the Bush administration and continues to receive over $500 million in taxpayer support,” Dannenfelser said. “What has changed under the Obama/Clinton regime is that there is no longer a bright line of separation between family planning and abortion.

“The pro-life Mexico City Policy did not reduce family planning funding by one penny. What it did do was ensure that funds only flowed to foreign organizations that do not promote or perform abortion as a method of family planning. The policy ultimately allowed U.S. taxpayers to generously support the family planning programs that Secretary Clinton talked about, but at the same time further ensured abortion was not a U.S. family planning export.”

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Connie Hair writes a weekly column for HUMAN EVENTS. She is a former speechwriter for Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.).

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