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Steele Open To Torture Investigations: "Let's Put It All On The Table"

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In the midst of arguing that Speaker Nancy Pelosi "stepped in it big time" by insisting she was kept in the dark about the use of waterboarding, RNC Chairman Michael Steele made what could be an important declaration of support for an investigation into the past administration.

"I think you have heard a lot of Republicans call for that," said Steele during an appearance on Meet the Press. "If this is a door that the Democrats and their leaderships, they have the House and Senate and the presidency, and if they want to expose all this, then let's put it all on the table and take a closer look at it."

The RNC Chairman also refused to say whether he thought the interrogation techniques used by the Bush administration constituted torture. "I have a personal opinion that's not appropriate to share here," he said.

Steele's position on investigations is slowly becoming more of a mainstream one within the GOP. The performance this past week by Pelosi, in which she accused the CIA of misleading her about the use of waterboarding in the fall of 2002, has become a temptation of sorts for Republicans to call for a full accounting of who knew what and when.

Steele himself took a particular bit of joy in ribbing Pelosi, saying that she had "put the Democratic Party in a position where the question for me is, does the President support Nancy Pelosi's version of what happened or the CIA Director's version of what happened?" He added that "Nancy Pelosi has stepped in it big time... You have the Speaker of the House saying that she wasn't told, that she doesn't have a clue, and the evidence contradicts that."

For many Democrats and Bush critics, of course, the questions surrounding Pelosi remain a sideshow, obscuring the broader debate over how and why torture was authorized and employed. As such, they too would welcome an investigation -- though the outlines and purpose would be different from those which Steele prefers.

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