Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Goss breaks silence on torture flap, hammers Dems

Porter Goss of Sanibel, the former House Intelligence Committee chairman and director of the CIA, today broke his silence on the flap over President Obama's decision to release Bush-era Justice Department memos justifying the use of harsh interrogation techniques, including a near-drowning tactic called water-boarding, on suspected terrorists.

In a column published online in the New Media Journal, Goss condemned members of Congress who have criticized the practice even though they were briefed about it six years ago - including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though he doesn't mention her by name. Pelosi was the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee for part of the time when Goss was chairman.

"Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as "waterboarding" were never mentioned," Goss, who was CIA director from September 2004 to May 2006 and intel chairman from 1997 to 2004.

"It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience."

You can see the whole column here. But Pelosi disputes the idea she had all the details.

In a statement, Pelosi said she was briefed about the techniques once, on Sept. 4, 2002.

“As I said in my statement of December 9, 2007: ‘I was briefed on interrogation techniques the Administration was considering using in the future. The Administration advised that legal counsel for both the CIA and the Department of Justice had concluded that the techniques were legal.’
“I had no further briefings on the techniques." 

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 5:59pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours