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House Speaker Speaks Up

Top Democrat Nancy Pelosi stammered her way through a statement at a tense news conference on Thursday, acknowledging she had learned as early as February 2003 of the CIA’s waterboarding practices. She defended her position on the grounds of being “misled” by the CIA and she accused Republicans of scapegoating her to divert attention away from those actually responsible for the acts.

The New York Times:

But she said the fact that she did not speak out at the time due to secrecy rules did not make her complicit in any abuse of detainees. She accused the C.I.A. and Bush administration of lying to Congress about what was actually transpiring with the detainees.

The Republican-driven furor over what Ms. Pelosi knew about waterboarding and other techniques has put the speaker on the defensive. She repeatedly referred to a carefully prepared statement to respond to multiple questions at the session with reporters.

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Robert Scheer believes the incident begs a much bigger question:

It is a nonsensical distraction to place her failure to speak out courageously as a critic of the Bush policies on the same level as those who engineered one of the most shameful debacles in U.S. history.

But what she, and anyone else who went along with this evil, as lackadaisically as she now claims, should be confronted with are the serious implications of their passive acquiescence. Why did she not speak up, or if it were a matter of a lack of reliable information, demand an accounting from the executive branch, as befits a leader of the loyal opposition in Congress?

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