At her weekly media availability, Pelosi read a statement saying that the CIA specifically told her that waterboarding had not been used. Pelosi said, "those briefing me in September 2002 gave me inaccurate and incomplete information" and that the CIA "mislead the Congress of the United States."
Pelosi added that she would appreciate the CIA releasing full details of the briefings and that she fully supports a truth commission that would investigate the intelligence community, as well as who knew what about interrogation practices when. Pelosi did admit that she learned waterboarding had been used on terrorism suspects from a staff member in February 2003, but she said she felt a letter of protest written by then-ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Jane Harman was the appropriate response.
News broke late last Thursday that the CIA and DNI directors had released a timeline showing when specific members of Congress were briefed on enhanced interrogation tactics since 2002. The words that got Capitol Hill buzzing in that timeline described a CIA briefing on Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs) that Pelosi attended in September 2002.
The memo described the meeting as a "briefing on EIT's, including use of EIT's on Abu Zabayda, background on authorities, and a description of the particular EIT's that had been employed." Emphasis on had been. Pelosi has said numerous times that she was only briefed once on enhanced interrogation techniques and that that briefing in 2002 was limited to a discussion of "interrogation techniques the administration was considering using in the future."
Pelosi was just starting a whirlwind trip to the Middle East when reporters became aware of the timeline's release. It's been a long week for the Capitol Hill press corps eager to question the speaker. Pelosi returned to Washington Tuesday afternoon in time to gavel in the House for the day, but she refused to answer any questions until today, leaving an opportunity for Republicans to go on the attack.
House Republican press offices have overloaded reporters' inboxes daily with "in case you missed it" articles and op-eds that attack Pelosi for either stretching the truth or, as Karl Rove suggests in the Wall Street Journal today, maybe outright lying.
House Minority Leader John Boehner told reporters today that he thinks a truth commission to investigate the actions of the intelligence community is a dangerous idea, but that if Democrats insist on it, "everything should be on the table, including what Speaker Pelosi knew and when she knew it and frankly, more importantly, what she did about it."
As to whether the CIA mislead Congress, Boehner said, "It's hard for me to imagine that anyone in our intelligence area would ever mislead a member of Congress."
Boehner also said the speaker's statements raise more questions than answers.
Jill Jackson is a CBS News Capitol Hill Producer.