Regular viewers of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart are accustomed by now to the verbal battles that ensue when Stewart brings conservative guests on his show. The guests usually leave with a bit of egg on their faces, and Stewart comes off as the hard hitting, divisive and sarcastic critic.
But viewers were treated to a rare dose of sincerity and intelligent debate on Monday, when Stewart hosted former legal counsel for the Bush Justice Department John Yoo. Following up on what was a meaningful and intelligent interview Monday night, Stewart apologized to his audience on Tuesday for not being his usual cutthroat self, and daring to discuss issues in a civilized tone.
Yoo and Stewart duked it out for almost 30 minutes (videos below the fold), but the host did not manage to get the better of Yoo, who is now infamous among liberal circles for writing the legal briefs justifying expanded executive powers to combat terrorism under the previous administration.
Stewart ended the segment with a very uncharacteristic--given his tendency to demonize conservatives--call for civility in the public discourse (brief partial transcript after videos):
The media has frequently made the deplorable decision to present prisoners at Guantanamo Bay as innocent choir boys, wrapped up in the evil that is a U.S. prison system run by blood thirsty prison guards. Such is the case of a recent piece by the BBC, covering a love-fest reunion between the former Guantanamo guard who has seen the light, repenting for his evil ways, and two ex-inmates whose only goal in Afghanistan back in 2001 was to provide aid work, sight see, and smoke dope.
The BBC interview with the three individuals - former prison guard Brandon Neely and former inmates Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul - asks the question: "But what were the pair doing in Afghanistan in 2001?"
Unlike CBS and NBC, ABC on Wednesday night reported on criticism from the right of how President Barack Obama is addressing terrorism, but correspondent David Wright tried to discredit the critics' points by reacting with astonishment and sarcastic snipes. Astonishment: “Do you really feel like President Obama has made the country less safe?”
Sarcasm: Rebutting former Bush speech writer Marc Thiessen's bewilderment (“Why are we taking a terrorist who just tried to bring down a plane and telling him, 'You have the right to remain silent'? That's insane”), Wright disparaged the point with an extreme exaggeration of the alternative which reflected the left's caricature of the pre-Obama policy: “So you say water-board him, torture him?” (Wright did at least allow Thiessen to explain: “You don't have to water-board him and torture him. You have to question him.”)
Without pointing out how President Obama described Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as “an isolated extremist,” a “suspect” and a “passenger” who “allegedly” tried to ignite an explosive device, Wright recited former VP Dick Cheney's comment that President Obama “seems to think if we get rid of the worlds ‘War on Terror,’ we won't be at war” and then countered by reading the White House's retort, “We are at war. The difference is this: President Obama doesn't need to beat his chest to prove it.”
Managing Editor's Note: The following is a reprint of Michael Moriarty's original December 14 post to Big Hollywood. Moriarty, you may recall, played a prosecutor in the first few seasons of the long-running NBC drama "Law and Order."
Well, I think I’ve been fairly calm and forgiving of "Law and Order" for about fifteen years. Living outside of the U.S. has certainly helped in more ways than one. Out of sight, out of mind. "Law and Order" has, for years, been just a press of the remote away from non-existence.
However, recent events have "Law and Order" just begging for my reassessment. I hardly expected my old television series to be the clown act that leads the American viewing audience into an increasingly predictable pile of hard left propaganda.
Charlie Daniels, the legendary country and rock musician, is NB's newest blogger.
Considering the condition of most of the media in this country, I can't say I'm surprised at their reaction to the murder of 13 and wounding of 30 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas.
They are trying to blame Maj. Nadal Malik Hasan's terrorist act on the stress of being in the Army and harassment by other soldiers because of his religion. In other words, trying to blame it on anything besides what it is. The fact is that he is a radical Muslim who hates the United States of America and wants to destroy it.
Hasan had never been to war anywhere, so that dog won't hunt. He was a major, and if he was under such heavy persecution why didn't he simply resign his commission?
People are going to say that the Army knew about his disapproval of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and his radical Muslim beliefs, so why didn't they simply put him out of the Army?
The answer to that is simple; it's the accursed policies of political correctness. Can you imagine what would have happened if the Army had gotten rid of an officer because he was a Muslim? It would have been the biggest news story in the country. The justice department under Eric Holder would have ruined the careers of anybody who would have been a part of it.
...is now ending his CourtWatch blog, all the while insisting that his writings over the years were mostly dry legalese and that those which were not, well, that's the fault of the people he was writing about, namely, the Bush adminstration.
In the past several days, FNC has given attention to the plight of three Navy SEALs who helped capture one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq – a man named Ahmed Hashim Abed who is believed to have planned the savage murder of four Blackwater security guards in Fallujah in 2004. Due to accusations of prisoner abuse by Abed, these American troops are now facing the possibility of court-martial. On Wednesday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, correspondent Steve Centanni began his report:
It was March of 2004. Fallujah was a hotbed of insurgent activity. Four Blackwater contractors were ambushed and killed. Their bodies were mutilated and burned, then dragged through the streets and hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River. The man believed to have planned that attack, Ahmed Hashim Abed ... had long evaded capture. But when a team of Navy SEALs finally did catch up with him in September of this year, they weren't hailed as heroes. Instead, three of them were brought up on charges.
Fox and Friends also raised the story Wednesday morning, and Thursday’s show delved further into the matter as former JAG officer and defense attorney Tom Kenniff appeared as a guest and argued that the accusations of abuse are consistent with al-Qaeda’s practice of advising its members to level false accusations of abuse against American troops if captured. Kenniff:
Two-and-a-half years before Army Major Nidal Hasan, a Muslim medical doctor, murdered 13 at Fort Hood in Texas in what more-and-more looks like a jihadist terrorist attack given his anti-American rants and ties to Islamic extremists, ABC's since-canceled Boston Legal drama ridiculed the idea a doctor could be a terrorist.
A scene in the episode first aired on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 -- meant to show the silliness and incompetence of the military for detaining obviously innocent men -- concluded with a released terror suspect being asked in courtroom about a colleague who had committed suicide to avoid the mistreatment: “Was your friend a terrorist?” The man replied with these words, dripping with disgust, which dramatically ended the scene: “No, he was a doctor.”
Playing out a liberal dream of vengeance, the season premiere of NBC's Law & Order delivered a plot in which the local Manhattan district attorney prosecuted a former Justice Department lawyer for “depraved indifference murder” based on the fact an Abu Ghraib prisoner died in the custody of soldiers who were following the lawyer's memo on the techniques which could be used on suspected terrorists.
In the key scene in the show now relegated to the 8 PM EDT/PDT, 7 PM CDT Friday slot, “District Attorney Jack McCoy,” played by Sam Waterston, contends: “This memo he wrote for the Department of Justice laid out the legal architecture permitting the abuse of prisoners, abuse that led directly to this death in Iraq. You could argue this memo is an element in a conspiracy to commit assault and depraved indifference murder.”
An astonished “Executive Assistant DA Michael Cutter,” played by Linus Roache, asks: “Jack, you want to prosecute a member of the Bush administration for assaulting suspected terrorists?” To which, a cocksure “McCoy” declares: “The word is torturing. And, yes, it's about time somebody did.”
Late Wednesday afternoon, MSNBC's David Shuster and Chris Matthews made clear their agreement with the message of a new ad from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) which ridicules former Vice President Dick Cheney's past judgments and thus proclaims him “WRONG” on the value of enhanced interrogation techniques, with Shuster declaring “he deserves” the “brutal ad” which makes, Matthews decided, an “obvious” and “undeniable” point.
Giving free publicity to the TV ad supposedly scheduled to begin airing Thursday on cable channels, just before 5 PM EDT MSNBC played part of the ad and Hardball viewers were treated to the entire 30 seconds about a half hour later. With “WRONG” on screen, the ad features a clip of Cheney asserting what was conventional wisdom at the time: “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.” Then, with “HE'S STILL WRONG” on screen, viewers hear Cheney maintain “the enhanced interrogation techniques were absolutely essential.” The ad ends with:
ABC's Brian Ross and NBC's Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday night each listed some al Qaeda plots uncovered via CIA interrogations, but both balked when it came to vindicating former Vice President Dick Cheney on whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) led to information which prevented attacks.
“Nowhere in the reports...does the CIA ever draw a direct connection between the valuable information and the specific use of harsh tactics,” Ross declared on World News in citing reports Cheney requested be released. NBC's Andrea Mitchell cited only Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and related how “administration officials say there is no way to know whether the same information could have be obtained from him without waterboarding or whether he would have given it up sooner had he been handled differently.”
On FNC, however, The Weekly Standard's Steve Hayes, quoting from the just-released 2004 report by CIA Inspector General John Helgerson, pointed out how even it noted regarding Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, the terrorist behind the USS Cole attack, “following the use of EIT's, he provided information about his most current operational planning as opposed to the historical information he provided before the use of the EIT's.” Hayes asserted: “I mean, it doesn't get clearer than that. So we can debate the morality, we can debate whether this was torture. We can't debate any longer about whether this was effective.”
Early in Saturday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Jeff Glor reported: "Tonight there are new allegations of torture by the CIA. Newsweek magazine is reporting that a secret 2004 report reveals that interrogators used mock executions to intimidate prisoners."
Glor went on to talk to Newsweek reporter Mark Hosenball, who claimed: "And in the case of one detainee that we know about, somebody named Abdel-Rahman al Nashiri, who was an alleged architect of the USS Cole bombing, this report alleges that at some point CIA interrogators, whether contractors or CIA staff officers, brandished a gun in front of this guy in an effort to frighten him and also took a power drill in front of him and turn turned it on and went ‘bzzz,’ implying therefore that they were going to use it on him."
Meanwhile, neither the Saturday nor Friday Evening News programs made any mention of reports that ACLU attorneys defending Guantanamo detainees illegally showed terror suspects photos of CIA personnel in an effort to implicate interrogators in acts of torture. On Friday, the Washington Post reported: "The Justice Department recently questioned military defense attorneys at Guantanamo Bay about whether photographs of CIA personnel, including covert officers, were unlawfully provided to detainees charged with organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to sources familiar with the investigation."
In reaction to a propaganda video of the Taliban holding an American soldier hostage in Afghanistan, on Monday’s CBS Early Show, terrorism analyst Jere Van Dyk argued: “What they [the Taliban] are saying is that ‘we can treat American soldiers, we can treat prisoners, better than Americans are treating them.’”
Speaking to co-host Maggie Rodriguez about the capture of Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, Van Dyk continued to explain his observation: “There’s a story in the New York Times this morning, also in the Wall Street Journal earlier, about prisoner abuse, Americans abusing prisoners in Afghanistan. What they [the Taliban] are saying to the -- to the Afghan public is that ‘we can do a better job, do not be afraid of us in the future.’” Rodriguez accepted that premise and added: “Because he’s clean, the place looks like -- he’s being fed. They’re taking care of him.”
Van Dyk went on: “…that’s a signal there. He’s wearing nice clothes, he’s being fed, he has a cup of tea there… what they are saying is that ‘we will protect to the death… a guest in our home.’ He is in someone’s home right now.” He went on to predict: “My belief is, my hope of course is, and my cautious feeling is that he will be protected. He will not be harmed.”
Newsweek falls back on conventional liberal narratives in a gooey profile of attorney general Eric Holder titled "Independent’s Day." The magazine is delighted that Holder wants to investigate and prosecute Bush officials for harsh interrogations. Holder is trying to strike a balance on the independence meter between so-close-it’s-crooked (Alberto Gonzales) and almost irrelevant (Janet Reno):
Alone among cabinet officers, attorneys general are partisan appointees expected to rise above partisanship. All struggle to find a happy medium between loyalty and independence. Few succeed. At one extreme looms Alberto Gonzales, who allowed the Justice Department to be run like Tammany Hall. At the other is Janet Reno, whose righteousness and folksy eccentricities marginalized her within the Clinton administration. Lean too far one way and you corrupt the office, too far the other way and you render yourself impotent. Mindful of history, Holder is trying to get the balance right.
Newsweek didn’t offer harsh judgment on Janet Reno when she started. One caption called her "Integrity Jane." Their Holder profile concentrated on the less-than-harsh judgment of Holder’s buddies:
Liberal New York Times reporter turned liberal nytimes.com blogger,Timothy Egan, posted "Capture the Flag" on Thursday, on how heartening it was to see American flags pop up in liberal domains. The post was ostensibly a plea for people of all political views to have faith in the future good of America. But Egan excused liberals for their lack of public patriotism during the Bush years, citing "years of sanctioned torture and war built on deceit."
Traveling in California and New York over the last couple of weeks, I noticed something in the summer landscape of these two deeply blue states that is more reminiscent of rural America this time of year -- a surfeit of American flags.
Among the offerings of street vendors in Harlem and outdoor stalls near the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the flag is often fused with the image of President Obama, a burst of color against a bleak wall, sometimes with a Superman motif. In California, I saw Old Glory on bicycles in the Bay Area, on backpacks in Yosemite and at campgrounds under the redwoods.
It's not unusual to see a flag in liberal provinces, of course. But in the Bush years of sanctioned torture and war built on deceit, many Americans withdrew from overt displays of patriotism. Some said they were ashamed of their country.
In their watchdog role of keeping the public informed, the New York Times has over the years disclosed government secrets regarding anti-terrorism tactics, overseas prisons, interrogation tactics, and military tactics, that critics contend have harmed the effectiveness of the programs and put America and our military at greater risk.
In fact, in 2008, the Times even published the name of an interrogator who got Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to talk, against the wishes of the interrogator’s lawyer and the CIA. The interrogator and his family fear for their lives, but that’s okay, because the public has a right to know.
So when Times journalist David Rohde was captured by the Taliban and held for seven months, the Times was going to report that, right? After all, doesn’t the public have a right to know about the threats they may face while traveling in Afghanistan?
As it turns out, the New York Times doesn’t think we do.
On World News Sunday, ABC News anchor David Muir read a brief story relaying to viewers an attack on former Vice President Cheney by CIA Director Leon Panetta which appeared in the New Yorker magazine. In the interview, Panetta suggested that Cheney may desire to see terrorists hit America again for his own benefit. Muir recounted:
On Memorial Day, 2002, FNC's Hannity and Colmes held an interview with U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Troy Dunlap, who was held in Iraq as a POW during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and his attorney, Steve Fennell, to discuss a lawsuit against the Iraqi government because of torture Dunlap and other POWs endured. During the current debate over how high-level Al-Qaeda prisoners should be treated, and the practical impact harsh interrogations may have on the treatment of American POWs in future wars, it is noteworthy that this kind of review of the violent treatment American POWs have a history of receiving, even before the debate over waterboarding terrorists even began, has been so absent in the media.
Fennell summed up the treatment POWs endured in 1991 in Iraq, despite the fact that the country was a signatory of the Geneva Convention:
We have 17 POWs, the injuries range from broken legs, fractured skulls, beatings that were so bad that the body looked like it had been dipped in indigo dye. Techniques that were used where things such as beatings to the point where most of the beatings stopped only when the POW reached unconsciousness, use of electric shock, cattle prods, drug injections.
On April 5, 2002, the Washington Post article, "Hussein Sued by Ex-POWs; U.S. Gulf War Veterans Say They Were Beaten, Tortured," by Peter Slevin, reported:
Language always gives us away, George Carlin once observed. And it's blowing the cover from liberals unhinged by former vice president Dick Cheney getting the better of an off-balance President Obama.
Two recent examples -- the first, Rachel Maddow's MSNBC cable show on May 20 with Newsweek investigative reporter Michael Isikoff as one of her guests. Isikoff described an "off the record" meeting that day between Obama and his senior officials and representatives of civil liberties and human rights groups --
Anchor Anderson Cooper grilled Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz Cheney on his CNN program on Thursday evening about her father’s defense of the Bush administration’s anti-terror tactics. At one point, he asked, “Is it appropriate, though, for your father, who has had access to high-level intelligence for -- for eight years, to be very publicly waving a flag, saying, we’re much weaker now than ever before? Isn’t that, in fact, emboldening our enemies? Couldn’t you make that argument?”
Cooper later asked the former State Department official, “If a Democrat was doing this in a Republican administration, wouldn’t be the Republicans be saying, this is traitorous?” The anchor also questioned whether the CIA actually took care in implementing its enhanced interrogations: “But -- more than 100 people are known to have died in U.S. custody. Twenty -- I think about 20 of those have been ruled a homicide. I mean, if -- if these were just tightly-controlled things, how come so many people are being murdered in U.S. custody?”
While discussing Thursday’s opposing national security speeches by President Obama and former Vice President Cheney, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer acknowledged: "...the fact that the President of the United States had to make this speech, the fact that Congress had turned him down in giving him the money to close Guantanamo, I have to say that on points, I give it to -- to the Vice President on this...Right now I think the Vice President has made his case. And at this point I'd have to say he's winning."
Meanwhile, co-host Harry Smih at least admitted a draw: "I think it behooves everybody who cares a whit about this issue at all, that they go on Youtube, or go online, and read the transcripts of every single word that was uttered. Because both speeches were breathtaking, I think, in their scope, in their pointedness."
While both Smith and Schieffer recognized Cheney’s success at countering Obama on issues like closing Guantanamo Bay, near the end of the segment Schieffer still declared: "I think most people think that Guantanamo is an open sore. That it in many ways it's a recruiting tool for these terrorists." At the same, he acknowledged the newfound difficulty in closing the facility: "But, getting it closed, what do you do with these people? Because, I mean, let's face it, there's some bad dudes down there. And no congressman wants those people brought back in to his home district, even to be put into prison. The President has got to come up with a detailed plan on how he plans to do this."
"Good Morning America" on Friday featured something that has become rare on morning shows, an actual philosophical debate between a strong conservative and a vocal liberal. Liz Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, engaged in a shoot-out with MSNBC analyst and former Senate Democratic chief of staff Lawrence O'Donnell over the issue of torture, Guantanamo Bay and keeping America safe. (On MSNBC, Thursday, O'Donnell called Dick Cheney's speech an "abomination.") [Audio available for download here.]
Cuomo did offer this softball to O'Donnell in relation to Barack Obama and the former Vice President's dueling speeches on Thursday: "Enhanced interrogation. Is that just another word for torture and is that the game America should be in?"He then asked O'Donnell, "Is this just another term for torture? Is that what you think is going on here?"But, Cuomo mostly conducted a fair interview, playing traffic cop as the two guests argued their points. He pointedly queried O'Donnell, "Mr. O'Donnell, is the President's instinct to play nice putting us at risk?"
Thursday's NBC Nightly News featured Andrea Mitchell chastising and correcting former Vice President Dick Cheney for his speech on fighting terrorism, but the network saw no need to correct anything asserted by President Obama in his address on the same topic while anchor Brian Williams asked if Republicans are “happy” to have Cheney as “their messenger?”
CBS delivered contrasting conclusions in their two stories: With Obama, stressing his rebuke of his critics; with Cheney, emphasizing his unpopularity. Chip Reid ended his report on Obama by relaying Obama's charge that “opponents of closing Guantanamo Bay are using the politics of fear,” but, moments later, Bill Plante concluded his look at former VP Cheney's address on fighting terrorism by highlighting “Republicans who fear that the high-profile criticism coming from someone as unpopular as Cheney isn't helping their party.” The two conclusions on the May 21 CBS Evening News:
Chip Reid: “The President said opponents of closing Guantanamo Bay are using the politics of fear and he promised it will be closed.”
Bill Plante: “The former Vice President has made it clear that he intends to continue speaking out, ignoring Republicans who fear that the high-profile criticism coming from someone as unpopular as Cheney isn't helping their party.”
Immediately following a speech by former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday, MSNBC assembled its usual panel of left-wing pundits to tear him down, including political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell, who proclaimed: "Well, he came today to -- obviously to do nothing much other than defend torture, which he calls 'tough questioning.' This was as sleazy a presentation by a vice president as we've had since Spiro Agnew. This was an absolute abomination."
Chris Matthews anchored the coverage and had just asked O’Donnell: "Lawrence, can he get away with this? Giving a speech that's -- well, it was 16 pages long -- and never mention the main foreign policy initiative of the administration just passed, which is the war in Iraq." After O’Donnell denounced Cheney’s sleaziness, he went on this diatribe:
He [Cheney] cannot, ever, frame the other side's position honestly. What you saw with Obama earlier was Obama describes the other side's position fairly. He then goes on to advance his position. Cheney comes out and lies about the other side, it's the only way he can talk. He says that Obama will not use the word 'terrorist,' when Obama does indeed use that word. He pretends that all we did was tough questioning. He says that 9/11 -- he says that 9/11 made everyone take a second look at the threat. That is a lie. Dick Cheney and the President were in possession of memos that said this threat was present, this particular methodology was going to come, that they were going to use airliners. He and the President failed in their first nine months in office to pay any attention to the A.Q. Khan network, who he now wants to take credit for dismantling. What did Cheney do before 9/11? He denies, in this speech, that 9/11 changed him and then describes his very specific activities on 9/11, which were frightening for the Vice President. Then he goes on to say that he thinks about it every day. This guy just has to lie from beginning to end through his setup of his opposition's position in order to advance any of his ideas at all, none of which have any proof to them at all.
Kate Phillips blogged the Obama-Cheney dueling national security speeches Thursday morning at nytimes.com. Phillips got her Cheney feedback from New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg, who was listening to Cheney live at the American Enterprise Institute. Cheney began his speech right after President Obama had finished addressing an audience at the National Archives.
A double standard was soon evident. While the reporters reacted passively to Obama's speech, simply relaying great chunks of it which went unchallenged, Phillips and Rutenberg peppered Cheney's speech with questions on several occasions or otherwise sniped at him. Some excerpts from the Times's live coverage of Cheney's speech:
Mr. Cheney Begins | 11:22 a.m. The former vice president steps up -- and you know he's ad-libbing a little when he begins by saying that you can tell that President Obama was in the Senate, not the House, (where Mr. Cheney once served), because representatives have a five-minute rule on the floor for speeches.
ABC, CBS and NBC all led Wednesday night with the Senate's overwhelming 90 to 6 bi-partisan vote to withhold funding for the closing of Guantanamo and block any detainees from being moved to the U.S., but ABC anchor Charles Gibson was uniquely flummoxed: “What's the problem here?...We have terrorists in U.S. prisons, so why not the guys from Guantanamo?”
Gibson alluded, in setting up his question to George Stephanopoulos, to Jake Tapper's reference to how “several convicted terrorists are currently in U.S. 'super-max' facilities, including shoe bomber Richard Reid,” and how Dianne Feinstein (one of the six Senators on Obama's side) argued “there is ample evidence that the United States can, and in fact does, hold dangerous convicts securely and without incident.”
But in being confused about the reasoning of the vast majority, Gibson overlooked how Tapper had already answered his question: “FBI Director Robert Mueller today said putting these detainees in U.S. prisons could be dangerous.” Viewers then heard from Mueller: “There is a potential for radicalization in a number of ways, whether it be for gang activity, for terrorist groups, for other extremists.”
Filling in for Bob Schieffer on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, host Harry Smith helped finish the sentences of ACLU executive director Anthony Romero, while grilling New York Republican Congressman Peter King during a discussion on recent national security decisions by the Obama administration.
Smith began by asking Romero about the Obama administration’s decision to reinstate military tribunals for terror suspects: "The headlines from this -- no evidence admitted gained from harsh interrogation techniques. Hearsay, some hearsay will be admissible in court. To you, Anthony Romero, is there any good news in this?" Romero replied: "First, by continuing with the Bush military commissions, we are going to delay justice. It will take years before we see justice in these commissions." Smith helped to bolster the point: "Because, one, there’s -- already they said at least hundred and twenty days before this can go on."
After burying the story on page A18 Friday, the New York Times finally put the Nancy Pelosi-C.I.A. controversy on the front page Saturday. Yet congressional reporter Carl Hulse made excuses for House Speaker Pelosi, who accused the CIA of deliberately misleading her in 2002 about waterboarding.
Hulse glossed over the multiple contradictory accounts Pelosi has delivered of what she knew about waterboarding and when she knew it. He also insisted Pelosi was in no political danger and focused solely on the politics of the battle and the effectiveness of Republican attacks, not on the veracity of Pelosi's accounts of what the C.I.A. told her about waterboarding.
After many failed efforts, Republicans have finally found a weak spot in Nancy Pelosi's political armor as a fight over detainee interrogations engulfs Ms. Pelosi, Republicans and intelligence officials.
The furor was heightened on Friday when the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon E. Panetta, pushed back against an assertion by Ms. Pelosi, a Democrat who is the House speaker, that she had been misled by agency representatives seven years ago about harsh treatment of terrorism suspects, a claim that struck a raw nerve at the spy headquarters.
Mr. Panetta, a former Democratic congressman from California and a longtime associate of Ms. Pelosi, issued a statement that said the agency's "contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that C.I.A. officers briefed truthfully," a rebuttal of Ms. Pelosi's claim on Thursday that intelligence officials had lied to her.
A night after the CBS Evening News ignored CIA Director Leon Panetta's rebuke of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Saturday's newscast continued the blackout as anchor Jeff Glor only mentioned Pelosi in setting up a question by explaining she “put herself in a very awkward position” when “she said the CIA lied to her or misled her about water-boarding,” before he asked Time magazine veteran John Dickerson: “Is this something that's over for the Speaker now or does this continue?”
Though the whole topic is apparently already over for CBS News, Dickerson maintained “it's not over for the Speaker” as he proceeded to empathize with her plight by suggesting she's “got to hope another issue...blows her off the front pages” and that “when Congress goes home for their recesses that somehow she gets out of the news cycle because she's still in a fix.” But not one that interests CBS News.
Nor NBC, which like ABC on Saturday night, didn't utter Pelosi's name – possibly because all three evening newscasts were so exited about what they made their lead stories: President Obama naming Utah's Republican Governor, Jon Huntsman, ambassador to China. “A political masterstroke” declared ABC's George Stephanopoulos on World News in repeating the same phrase applied moments earlier by reporter Jonathan Karl. Stephanopoulos even managed to get in a dig at conservatives as he hailed the pick as “one more sign that this is a party [Republican] where the reformers -- the moderates -- are looking for an exit.”
Nancy Pelosi has been under the media microscope this week regarding her knowledge of enhanced interrogation techniques, specifically waterboarding, in the months following 9/11. Pelosi's seemingly endless series of contradictions on the subject has led the media to probe: "what did she know and when did she know it?" But another question could easily be posed to the media itself ... "What took you so long?"
The precipitating event in this scandal is a December 9, 2007, Washington Post article titled: "Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002," in which the Post pointed a finger directly at Nancy Pelosi ...
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.