Lawmakers didn’t object to waterboarding in ‘02?

The Washington Post reports that in Sept. 2002, a bipartisan group of four congressional members — including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — met to get a “first look” at the the CIA’s harsh interrogation practices:

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. […]

Pelosi declined to comment directly on her reaction to the classified briefings. But a congressional source familiar with Pelosi’s position on the matter said the California lawmaker did recall discussions about enhanced interrogation. The source said Pelosi recalls that techniques described by the CIA were still in the planning stage — they had been designed and cleared with agency lawyers but not yet put in practice — and acknowledged that Pelosi did not raise objections at the time.

The Post reports the CIA gave about 30 private briefings between 2002–03 on its interrogation practices. Former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham (D-FL) said “he has no memory of ever being told about waterboarding or other harsh tactics.” In Feb. 03, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) filed “an official protest about the interrogation program.”


UPDATE: John Aravosis suggests the story was leaked by the Bush administration to embarrass Pelosi.