House Speaker Nancy Pelosi learned in early 2003 that the Bush administration was waterboarding terror detainees but didn’t protest directly out of respect for “appropriate” legislative channels
, a confidant of the San Francisco Democrat said Monday…
[T]here’s no dispute that on Feb. 4, 2003 — five months after Pelosi’s September meeting — CIA officials briefed Pelosi aide Michael Sheehy and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), then the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, on the specific techniques that had been used on Zubaydah — including waterboarding.
Harman was so alarmed by what she had heard, she drafted a short letter to the CIA’s general counsel to express “profound” concerns with the tactic — going so far as to ask if waterboarding had been personally “approved by the president.”
According to the Pelosi confidant, Sheehy told Pelosi about the briefing — and later informed Pelosi, the newly elected minority leader, that Harman was drafting a protest letter. Pelosi told Sheehy to tell Harman that she agreed with the letter, the Pelosi insider said. But she did not ask to be listed as a signatory on the letter, the source said, and there is no reference to her in it
“She felt that the appropriate response was the letter from Harman, because Jane was the one who was briefed,” said the person. Pelosi “never got briefed on it personally, and when Harman got a ‘no response’ from the CIA, there was nothing more that could be done