Tag Archives: Eric Holder

Speaker Pelosi: WMD, Cross Border Invasions, and UN Resolutions Do Not Matter by Gregory Hilton

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now denying knowing U.S. officials used waterboarding. However, a Washington Post story describes an hour-long 2002 briefing in which Pelosi was told about enhanced interrogation techniques in graphic detail. Former Intelligence Chairman Pete Hoekstra (MI), who is now the panels ranking Republican says “if she did not know, she was not paying attention in the meetings. . . I’m puzzled, I don’t understand what she’s trying to say. I don’t have any sympathy for her — she’s the Speaker of the House; there should be some accountability. She shouldn’t be given a pass.” She is the only participant who did not hear “waterboarding.” Former CIA Director Porter Goss says she must be suffering from amnesia. Goss, who was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee when Pelosi was the ranking member, said: “The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists. I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues.”
The members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees knew what was being done at Guantanamo. They supported it at the time. Now they want to be able to say “we didn’t know what was happening” to score some political points. Pelosi attended 30 briefings, and Hoekstra says “the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement.”
Another official present at the early briefings told the Post, “there was no objecting, no hand-wringing. The attitude was, ‘We don’t care what you do to those guys as long as you get the information you need to protect the American people.'”
Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO), ranking member of the Senate intelligence panel, called the Pelosi comments “frightening.” “The idea that a 10-year veteran of the intelligence committee would just rubber-stamp a program she thought was illegal or morally wrong is frightening, especially when the claim comes from a member who has never been afraid to challenge publicly the Bush administration. As members of Congress we have the constitutional authority and responsibility to take serious our oversight role.” Speaker Pelosi now wants the prosecution of Bush administration officials who signed off on the use of the techniques. President Obama previously said he was opposed to such prosecution, but now says it is up to Attorney General Eric Holder. Pelosi supports the creation of a “Truth Commission” to root out wrongdoing by the Bush administration on interrogations — putting her at odds with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Obama, who want the matter dealt with exclusively by congressional committees. Former Secretary of State James Baker said the type of panel Pelosi is seeking would America in the business of “criminalizing policy differences.”
In addition to waterboarding, Pelosi’s entire record on Iraq definitely puts her in the category of the hard core left. The U.S. invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003. While President Bush argued that he did not need congressional approval, ultimately both houses of Congress approved a resolution authorizing him to do so. The House vote of 10/10/02 was 296-133, and Pelosi opposed the war from the outset. Pelosi said Iraq had WMD but that did not matter to her. Some lawmakers were falsely claiming Iraq had a nuclear weapons stockpile, but if this had been true it would have made no difference to Pelosi.
From her work on the Intelligence Committee, Pelosi was well aware of the WMD issue. On 12/16/98 Pelosi said:
“As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”
On 11/17/02 Pelosi stated: “Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons. There’s no question about that.” She followed that up on 10/10/02 by saying: “I come to this debate, Mr. Speaker, as one at the end of 10 years in office on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was one of my top priorities. I applaud the President on focusing on this issue and on taking the lead to disarm Saddam Hussein. … Others have talked about this threat that is posed by Saddam Hussein. Yes, he has chemical weapons, he has biological weapons, he is trying to get nuclear weapons.”
Pelosi participated in numerous Iraq WMD briefings. Along with everyone else she assumed Saddam Hussein had them. Her argument was that Iraq should not be attacked because then Saddam would use his WMD. In October of 2002 she said: “I want to call to the attention of my colleagues a statement about Saddam’s use of chemical and biological weapons that was just declassified and sent to the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The question is: If we initiate an attack and he thought he was an extremist or otherwise, what is the likelihood in response to our attack that Saddam Hussein would use chemical and biological weapons? This is a letter from George Tenet, the head of the CIA to the committee. The response: Pretty high, if we initiate the attack.” She said we should not put our troops in harms way.
It also made no difference to Speaker Pelosi if Iraq invaded another country. On 1/12/91 the Congress authorized the use of military force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. The votes were 52-47 in the Senate and 250-183 in the House of Representatives.

On Terror Suspects and State Secrets Obama Administration Now Agrees With Bush by Gregory Hilton

President Obama Signs an Executive Order Closing Guantanamo Bay Prison

President Obama Signs an Executive Order Closing Guantanamo Bay Prison

On Terror Suspects and State Secrets Obama Administration Now Agrees With Bush by Gregory Hilton–The treatment of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention center in Cuba was a significant issue during the 2008 presidential campaign. Concern for the detainee’s treatment was frequently cited as an example of the sharp differences between the two political parties. It was portrayed as an example of how real change would be brought to White House with Barack Obama’s election.
President Obama frequently made this claim and on his second day in office he signed an Executive Order calling for Guantanamo’s closing within a year. The national news media described the action as a complete reversal of past policies, but so far the differences appear to be minute.
During the past two weeks the intense partisan debate over Gitmo largely evaporated on Capitol Hill. Attorney General Eric Holder, Solicitor General-designate Elena Kagan and CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta all endorsed policies implemented during the Bush era. The detainee issue was raised during the presidential debates when Obama said “what we have is a flawed system.” His campaign web site said: “Barack believes we must protect the principles which have created and sustained our freedoms for over two centuries because we cannot truly protect America without preserving the Constitution, the writ of Habeas Corpus, and the Bill of Rights.”
The Obama campaign’s foreign policy spokesperson was Susan Rice, who is now the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Speaking of Bush’s policy on detainees, Rice said the “Administration has for seven years pursued a stupid and fundamentally failed policy. The way you deal with it is not to hold somebody in violation of our Constitution, indefinitely in detention and never convict them.”
Senator John Kerry (D-MA) said Osama bin Laden should have habeas corpus rights if he were captured and sent to Guantanamo Bay. Both Rice and Kerry quoted arguments developed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is now considering Elena Kagan’s nomination to be the new U.S. Solicitor General. She is currently the Dean at Harvard Law School, and many believe she will eventually succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
In sharp contrast to the 2008 debate, Kagan and Attorney General Holder both say the government can hold suspected terrorists without criminal charge or trial as war prisoners. They opposed the position of the American Civil Liberties Union and said they were in agreement with the Supreme Court case of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld which recognized the power of the government to detain unlawful combatants until the cessation of hostilities.
Attorney General Holder also promised Senators he would not bring prosecutions against Guantanamo interrogators. CIA Director-designate Panetta went even further by saying some al Qaeda detainees are “too dangerous to stand trial.”
During last year’s campaign John McCain also supported the closure of Guantanamo, and President Bush advocated the same thing in 2006. Bush said “I would like to close Guantanamo. … We are a nation of laws. Eventually, these people will have trials and they will have counsel and they will be represented in a court of law.”
The Bush Administration was not able to close Gitmo because some of the detainees’ homelands refused to take them back. Those who were willing to do so would not provide credible assurances they would take steps to prevent the detainees from returning to terrorist activities. Another major problem was bringing to trail detainee cases where there was a lack of admissible evidence because of national security concerns.
Of the detainees who were released from Gitmo, 62 out of 550 returned to terrorist activities. That figure does not include those who only engaged in propaganda.
The Obama Administration is clearly beginning to appreciate the dilemmas confronting their predecessors. The Obama campaign website contained a “Plan to Change Washington.” It said “the Bush Administration has ignored public disclosure rules and has invoked a legal tool known as the ‘state secrets’ privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.”
In a case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Monday it was the Obama Administration invoking state secrets and supporting Bush’s position regarding torture abroad. The Obama attorneys said state secrets and national security would be put at risk if the court allowed the suit to proceed. No part of the case was allowed to be litigated “without risking a national security breach,” said an Administration spokesman. They were in effect saying national security concerns trump the due process of law.
Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the alleged terrorists said: “This is not change. This is definitely more of the same. Candidate Obama ran on a platform that would reform the abuse of state secrets, but President Obama’s Justice Department has disappointingly reneged on that important civil liberties issue. If this is a harbinger of things to come, it will be a long and arduous road to give us back an America we can be proud of again.”