Obama, Reid Oppose Investigation of Interrogation Methods; Pelosi Wants to Go Ahead

Fox News reported late on Thursday that Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, joined President Obama in opposing any “truth commisssion” or further investigation of the so called “tortue” of prisoners by the Bush Administration.

Nancy Pelosi, however, wants to hold hearings and conduct some sort of investigation. 

Pelosi is likely trying to appease her party’s left which widely favors hearings into the Bush “torture” situation.

This could be dangerous ground for Pelosi who took some heat over her crafting of the stimulus earlier this year.  She has said she will also spearhead health care reform.

This looks like the biggest split thus far between president Obama and Democrat leaders in congress….


From AFP

The White House and its top US Senate ally poured cold water Thursday on hopes of creating an independent commission to probe harsh Bush-era interrogation techniques widely seen as torture.

Lawmakers escalated their feud over who knew what, and when, and where, as well as what to do about the people who planned, justified and used tactics like the near-drowning known as waterboarding on suspected terrorists.

And there was fighting over whether the methods approved by then-president George W. Bush had produced intelligence that helped foil plots, or whether information could have been obtained with traditional questioning.

The White House pointed to increasing hostility between Obama‘s Democratic allies and his Republican critics as evidence that the president was right to say Tuesday that he would not champion the creation of a special commission.

“I think the last few days might well be evidence of why something like this would likely just become a political back and forth,” said spokesman Robert Gibbs, who stopped shy of flatly opposing assembling such a panel.

“By (definition), an independent commission would probably not be something that I would weigh in on if Congress were to create one of those,” he told reporters.

He spoke after Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he opposed talk of an independent probe at least until the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes its investigation into the interrogations and produces a public report, perhaps “sometime late this year.”

“I think it would be very unwise, from my perspective, to start having commissions, boards, tribunals, until we find out what the facts are. And I don’t know a better way of getting the facts than through the Intelligence Committee,” said Reid, senator from Nevada.

He spoke as Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who reportedly favors creating a special commission, said lawmakers briefed on CIA interrogations were never told the agency was using the harsh methods.

“We were not, I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used,” said Pelosi, one of the eight senior lawmakers who attended the classified briefings.

Pelosi said the briefers told lawmakers in the highly secret sessions that they had legal advice that the methods “could be used, but not that they would.”

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