Commentary: How about the truth about waterboarding?

This editorial appeared in The (Tacoma) News Tribune.

Has somebody been waterboarding Nancy Pelosi? She's been doing way too much talking lately.

The normally precise and collected House speaker has been looking flustered and defensive as she's tried to explain when she learned of the CIA's use of waterboarding of three top al-Qaida leaders in 2002.

The Washington Post reported in 2007 that the CIA had briefed key members of Congress – Pelosi included – on the brutal interrogation techniques it was using on "high value" prisoners. Pelosi, as ranking member of the House intelligence committee, was in on a September 2002 briefing in which the subject of waterboarding – which induces the sensation of drowning – came up.

Pelosi now says she was lied to – that the briefers told her only that waterboarding had been deemed legal, but that they specifically told her it wasn't being used. She started out blaming the CIA, but switched the blame to the Bush administration after being challenged by professional CIA officials.

Predictably, Democrats are lining up behind Pelosi and Republicans are piling on her. The CIA itself says its records show that she and three other congressional leaders were told that day what was going on.

What is no longer in question is that Pelosi knew of the waterboarding a few months later, in early 2003. She did nothing, and you could almost feel her defenders wincing last week when she explained why: She'd become minority leader, and as such, "My job was to change the majority in Congress ..."

To read the complete editorial, visit The (Tacoma) News Tribune.