The case against Nancy Pelosi remaining Speaker of the House is as simple as it is devastating:
The person who is No. 2 in line to be commander in chief can’t have contempt for the men and women who protect our nation. America can’t afford it.
To test how much damage Speaker Pelosi has done to the defense of our nation, ask yourself this: If you were a young man or woman just starting out today, would you put on a uniform or become an intelligence officer to defend America, knowing that tomorrow a politician like Nancy Pelosi could decide you were a criminal?
This Isn’t About Politics. It’s About National Security
The controversy swirling around Speaker Pelosi isn’t political — she may think it is, other liberal Democrats may think it is, and the media may want it to appear that way.
But this isn’t about politics. It’s about national security.
At issue is whether Speaker Pelosi was informed, at a briefing by intelligence officers on September 4, 2002 when she was the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, that the CIA had used and was using enhanced interrogation techniques — specifically waterboarding — on captured al Qaeda terrorists.
From a Question of Memory to a Question of Criminality
Prior to her now infamous press conference last week, Speaker Pelosi insisted that the CIA had not told her in 2002 that waterboarding and other enhanced techniques were being used. At last week’s press conference she went beyond this position to assert that “the only mention of waterboarding at [the September 2002] briefing was that it was not being employed.”
In contrast, Leon Panetta, the current CIA director, wrote a memo last Friday to CIA employees in which he stated that “our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of [Al Qaeda terrorist] Abu Zubaydah, describing ‘the enhanced techniques that had been employed.’”
And so the question, prior to her rambling press conference, was one of memory: Did Speaker Pelosi remember correctly the briefing she received in 2002?
If she had confined the controversy to her memory versus the CIA’s, Speaker Pelosi may have saved herself. She would be guilty of irresponsibility and incompetence perhaps, but that would basically be it. Not good, but not disqualifying.
Pelosi on the CIA: “They Mislead Us All The Time”
But Speaker Pelosi did not confine the question to the reliability of memory. Instead, she made the allegation last week that the CIA intentionally misled her — misled Congress — and not just once, but routinely.
“They mislead us all the time,” she said.
She charged that the CIA, deliberately and as a matter of policy, violated the law by lying to Congress.
And with that allegation, Speaker Pelosi disqualified herself from the office she holds.
Why Did Pelosi Escalate the Controversy into a Full Scale War With the CIA?
And the question that remains is why? Why would Speaker Pelosi escalate the small skirmish she found herself in over the 2002 briefing into a full-scale war with the CIA?
Perhaps it’s because if America knew that Speaker Pelosi consented, fully informed and without complaint, to waterboarding back in 2002, it would reveal the current liberal bloodlust over interrogations for what it is: The Left’s attempt to hunt down and purge its political opponents.
Remember what America was like in September, 2002, less than a year after 9/11.
America was terrified. As I said on ABC Radio last week, our entire defense, intelligence and justice establishment expected that there would be additional al Qaeda attacks, we just didn’t know where and we didn’t know when.
If Pelosi Consented to Waterboarding in 2002, the Bush Policy Is Vindicated
If Nancy Pelosi believed that waterboarding was justified in 2002 — just like Porter Goss, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and CIA Director Tenet — then a policy of selectively using enhanced interrogation techniques in carefully circumscribed ways in order to prevent future attacks — in other words, the Bush Administration policy — is vindicated.
But rather than admit that President Bush, when faced with an array of difficult choices, made the hard choice that kept the nation safe, Nancy Pelosi has instead retreated into the cheap sanctity of ignorance. She didn’t know, so she claims. That’s why she didn’t do anything about it.
But President Bush did know. It was his job to know, and he made the tough choices needed to save American lives.
It was Nancy Pelosi’s job to know too. But to avoid culpability for the choices she supported, she’s now telling us she didn’t know. And she’s calling the intelligence officials who say otherwise liars and criminals.
Shame on her.
Speaker Pelosi Has Made America Less Safe
Speaker Pelosi has damaged America’s safety.
She’s made America less secure by sending a signal to the men and women defending our country that they can’t count on their leaders to defend them.
And every day they spend worrying about being politically persecuted is a day we are made more vulnerable to a nuclear attack on one of our cities, a biological attack on one of our subways, or a bomb going off in one of our malls.
America is losing ground because of Nancy Pelosi’s contempt for those who defend her.
Democrats owe it to their country and our national security to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.
Newt’s Quick Links
• Congratulations to the men and women — both famous and not-so-famous — who made the third annual GI Film Festival such a success last week. If you don’t know about the GI Film Festival go here to learn more about this one-of-a-kind event that honors (in a way Hollywood rarely does) the achievements and sacrifices of American servicemen and women. This year’s festival featured 16 feature-length documentaries, two major feature films and 30 short films covering the Civil War, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
• And speaking of the GI Film Festival, congratulations to David Bossie and Citizens United for the selection of their documentary, “Perfect Valor”, as best documentary at the festival. “Perfect Valor” is a riveting look at the campaign by the Coalition Forces in Iraq for control of Fallujah. Seen through the eyes of the troops who were there, and narrated by former Sen. Fred Thompson, “Perfect Valor” picks up where the mainstream media failed long ago to tell the real story of our forces in Iraq.
• And speaking of films, Callista’s and my new film, “Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny,” had its New York premiere last night at the DGA Theatre. We were thrilled by the reception it received.
• And speaking of being thrilled, my new book with my daughter Jackie Gingrich Cushman, 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours, had an amazing first week, reaching #3 on Amazon.com under self-help books. For your own copy, just go to. And check out www.5principlesoflife.com to submit your own story on how these principles have helped you or someone you love.
• Callista and I started work on our next film, “Rediscovering God in America Part II,” a few weeks ago, filming at Gettysburg, Cape Henry, Jamestown, and Mount Vernon. You can view a photo slideshow of our tapings at www.gingrichproductions.com.
Photo Credit: Gingrich Productions