Integrity: Release of the interrogation memos was intended to tarnish the Bush administration's legacy of keeping America safe. Now, that political strategy is collapsing -- and with it, Nancy Pelosi's speakership.
The tables have turned on "Memogate." House Speaker Pelosi and other congressional Democratic leaders clearly knew early on, via classified briefings, about President Bush's approval of enhanced interrogation techniques for high-level terrorist detainees. Yet she kept silent.
In an adaptation of the famous Watergate catchphrase, people have been asking, "What did the speaker know and when did she know it?" But as Pelosi's tune changes and her credibility crumbles, a new version of Nixon White House counsel John Dean's observation might be more apt: that there is a cancer growing on the speakership, and if the cancer is not removed, the speaker herself may be killed by it.
Here is the latest line of baloney we are being asked to believe: After a Pelosi aide was briefed on Feb. 4, 2003, together with House Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Jane Harman, D-Calif., about waterboarding Abu Zubaydah, a key al-Qaida operative, Pelosi supposedly expressed support for a private protest letter Harman wrote -- but she didn't ask to sign her name to the letter, sent to the CIA's general counsel, nor did she pen her own protest.
The rationale offered anonymously, apparently by a Pelosi associate, to the Politico this week was that she "didn't protest directly out of respect for 'appropriate' legislative channels." That simply doesn't ring true. The clear motivation behind the speaker's inexcusable twists and turns is: That was then and this is now.
When Pelosi and the others were briefed in 2002 and 2003, the 9/11 terrorist attacks were still fresh in the minds of Americans.
The widespread mind-set was that another attack could be just around the corner. And there were as yet no turns for the worse in Iraq for voters to be dissatisfied with.
So there was no political well from which Democrats could draw in complaining about the Bush administration's aggressive approach in fighting the global war on terror. You want to get tough with a few al-Qaida prisoners who know of future attacks? In 2002 and 2003, public sentiment was: Do it. And a politician who raised a stink would be accused of inviting new attacks.
Now, thanks to our short national attention span, a supremely effective weapon against terrorists that saved thousands of lives has turned into a political weapon, used to defame those who deserve credit for our success in fighting terrorism. Except now that very same weapon is going off in the speaker's face.
A speaker of the House seen as torturing the truth will not remain speaker for long.
Source: Investor's Business Daily