House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Thursday for the release of notes from a CIA briefing in 2002. Pelosi, a California Democrat, said that the agency is lying when it says that she was briefed on the ongoing use of waterboarding and that, rather, she was only told that the administration had determined that they could use the technique in the future.
The notes, she said, would show that she is telling the truth. "I would be very happy if they would release the briefings," she said.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who read those notes at CIA headquarters last Thursday, did not dispute her characterization. Hoekstra was asked, after Pelosi's comments, if the notes would show her to have been untruthful.
"I'm not going to make that judgment based on those materials. I think there's a lot of information that needs to be available to us to get into that," he said. Hoekstra is preparing a "broader document release request from the CIA," he added, and will be requesting notes from before and after the meeting to attempt to ascertain the purpose of the briefing.
But, he said, the only people who know the truth were those in the room. "I can't make that judgment. I was not in that meeting. I know that there were people in that meeting with a very different recollection of the meeting and what was told," he said. "Only the people that were in the meeting know today." Hoekstra too called for the release of the notes.
George Little, a spokesman for the CIA, said that the agency's assertion that Pelosi was briefed accurately reflect its records, which are based on the recollections of agents.
"The language in the chart -- 'a description of the particular EITs that had been employed' -- is true to the language in the Agency's records," he said. EIT stands for "enhanced interrogation techniques," a euphemism for torture.
The chart Little is referring to lists Pelosi as a member of Congress briefed on interrogation methods. Pelosi disputes the accuracy of that chart.
CIA Director Leon Panetta, in a letter to Congress, said the he couldn't be certain the chart was accurate. This information, however, is drawn from the past files of the CIA and represents MFRs [Memorandum For the Records] completed at the time and notes that summarized the best recollections of those individuals. In the end, you and the Committee will have to determine whether this information is an accurate summary of what actually happened. We can make the MFRs available at CIA for staff review," he wrote.
Ryan Grim is the author of the forthcoming book This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America