The case against Nancy Pelosi remaining Speaker of the House is as simple as it is devastating:
The person who is No. 3 in line to be commander in chief can't have contempt for the men and women who protect our nation. America can't afford it.
To test how much damage Speaker Pelosi has done to the defense of our nation, ask yourself this: If you were a young man or woman just starting out today, would you put on a uniform or become an intelligence officer to defend America, knowing that tomorrow a politician like Nancy Pelosi could decide and proclaim publicly that you were a criminal, even though she previously approved of what you were doing in private, if she needed to appease her leftist voting bloc?
The controversy swirling around Speaker Pelosi isn't political -- SHE may think it is, other liberal Democrats may think it is, and the media may want it to appear that way...But this isn't just about politics. It's about much more than that. It's about national security.
At issue is whether Speaker Pelosi was informed, at a briefing by intelligence officers on September 4, 2002 when she was the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, that the CIA had used and was using enhanced interrogation techniques -- specifically "waterboarding" -- on captured al Qaeda terrorists.
Prior to her now infamous press conference last week, Speaker Pelosi insisted that the CIA had not told her in 2002 that waterboarding and other enhanced techniques were being used. At last week's press conference she went beyond this position to assert, "the only mention of waterboarding at [the September 2002] briefing was that it was not being employed."
In contrast, Leon Panetta, the current CIA director, wrote a memo last Friday to CIA employees in which he stated, "our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of [Al Qaeda terrorist] Abu Zubaydah, describing 'the enhanced techniques that had been employed.'" To his credit, Panetta is honest.
And so the question, prior to her rambling press conference, was one of memory: Did Speaker Pelosi remember correctly the briefing she received in 2002?
If she had confined the controversy to her memory versus the CIA's, Speaker Pelosi may have saved herself. She would be guilty of irresponsibility and incompetence perhaps, but that would basically be it. Not good, but not disqualifying.
But Speaker Pelosi did not confine the question to the reliability of memory. Instead, she made the allegation last week that the CIA intentionally misled her -- misled Congress -- and not just once, but routinely.
"They mislead us all the time," she said.
She charged that the CIA, deliberately and as a matter of policy, violated the law by lying to Congress.
And with that allegation, refuted by Leon Panetta among many others, Speaker Pelosi disqualified herself from the office she holds.
And the question that remains is why? Why would Speaker Pelosi escalate the small skirmish she found herself in over the 2002 briefing into a full-scale war with the CIA?
Perhaps it's because if America knew that Speaker Pelosi consented to waterboarding, fully informed and without complaint, back in 2002, it would reveal the current liberal bloodlust over interrogations for what it is:
The Left's attempt to dishonestly smear its political opponents.
If Nancy Pelosi believed that waterboarding was justified in 2002 -- just like Porter Goss, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and CIA Director Tenet believed! -- then a policy of selectively using enhanced interrogation techniques in carefully circumscribed ways in order to prevent future attacks (in other words, the Bush Administration policy) is vindicated.
But rather than admit that President Bush, when faced with an array of difficult choices, made the hard choice that kept the nation safe, Nancy Pelosi has instead retreated into the cheap sanctity of "ignorance". She didn't know... so she claims. THAT'S why she didn't do anything about it.
But President Bush did know. It was his job to know, and he made the tough choices needed to save American lives.
It was Nancy Pelosi's job to know too. But to avoid culpability for the choices she supported, she's now telling us she didn't know. And she's calling the intelligence officials who say otherwise liars and criminals.