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Pelosi Questions Accuracy of CIA Interrogation Report

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday hit back against allegations that she has made conflicting statements about her knowledge of the use of waterboarding as an interrogation method on al-Qaida suspects.

Pelosi’s counteroffensive comes after the release of a declassified report, which was delivered to Capitol Hill offices Wednesday, that shows Pelosi was briefed on Sept. 4, 2002 on “enhanced interrogation techniques,— which include waterboarding, on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah.

Pelosi on Friday reiterated her position that the content of that briefing did not include details on the use of waterboarding, only that waterboarding — which simulates drowning — was a legal option. Pelosi also questioned the precision of the report, which was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“As reported in the press, a cover letter from CIA Director Panetta accompanying the briefings memo released this week concedes that the descriptions provided by the CIA may not be accurate,— said Pelosi.

The Speaker pointed to a statement she issued in December 2007 on the issue and said those words still stand.

“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,— reads the 2007 statement.

“I had no further briefings on the techniques,— Pelosi said Friday.

Pelosi also said her take on the 2002 briefing is consistent with the description that CIA General Counsel Scott Muller provided to Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) in a letter in February 2003.

“As we informed both you and the leadership of the Intelligence Committees last September, a number of Executive Branch lawyers including lawyers from the Department of Justice participated in the determination that, in the appropriate circumstances, the use of these techniques is fully consistent with U.S. law,— said the description by Muller.