Big Boy Pants

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) denied Wednesday she ever knew the CIA was using waterboarding to interrogate terrorists, the Washington Examiner reports:

"This is once again totally false," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told The Washington Examiner.  "The independent CIA Inspector General conducted a review and the findings are consistent with what Leader Pelosi has maintained all along."

In 2009, Pelosi denied knowing that the CIA waterboarded high-value terrorist detainees. "We were not -- I repeat -- were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used," she told reporters.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., contradicted Pelosi that same day. "It was not necessary to release details of the enhanced interrogation techniques, because members of Congress from both parties have been fully aware of them since the program began in 2002," the then-ranking member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence wrote in The Wall Street Journal. "After many long and contentious debates, Congress repeatedly approved and funded this program on a bipartisan basis in both Republican and Democratic Congresses."

In his newly released book, "Hard Measures," former director of the CIA's Clandestine Service Jose Rodriguez disputes Pelosi's claims that she never knew about the practice. According to Rodriguez, he led a CIA briefing for Pelosi and other members of Congress, explaining that technique and others. While she objected to another considered practice, Pelosi made no objection to waterboarding, Rodriguez writes.

Rodriguez has been a staunch defender of the enhanced interrogation techniques and their effectiveness this week.

"I am very secure in, in what we did and I am very confident that what we did saved American lives," he said in an interview with "60 Minutes."

Rodriguez pointed out in the interview that under President Obama, few suspected terrorists are captured and interrogated.

"[The] default option of this administration has been to kill all prisoners," he said, referring to the administration’s preference for unmanned drone strikes. "How could it be more ethical to kill people rather than capture them? I never understood that one."

Rodriguez is gaining fans in Republican circles for such straight talk and for his working guy appeal.