Fox & Friends misrepresents CIA documents to claim they contradict Pelosi on interrogation briefings
Research ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG
During the February 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-hosts Steve Doocy and Alisyn Camerota falsely claimed that newly released CIA documents show House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed "about Abu Zubaydah and waterboarding" on April 24, 2002, and suggested the documents contradict Pelosi's previous statement that she was not told by the CIA in 2002 that waterboarding had been used on Abu Zubaydah. But contrary to Fox & Friends' claims, the documents state only that Pelosi was briefed about "[o]ngoing interrogations of Abu Zubaydah" on April 24, 2002, not about "waterboarding" or enhanced interrogation techniques, which were first used in August 2002, according to the CIA.
Fox & Friends claims documents show Pelosi was briefed in April 2002 "about Abu Zubaydah and waterboarding"
Camerota: Documents show Pelosi was "briefed April 24, 2002 ... and they did talk about Abu Zubaydah and waterboarding." Camerota stated during the February 23 edition of Fox & Friends:
CAMEROTA: According to this new document dump from the CIA that Catherine Herridge, our great correspondent in Washington, has gone through, it shows that Nancy Pelosi was in the room. She was briefed by CIA personnel on April 24, 2002. That's five months earlier than the September time that she says is the sole time -- she says, I was briefed one time, it was in September of 2002, where they talked about Abu Zubaydah and about waterboarding, but they didn't tell me that that's necessarily what they were doing. But this document dump says that she was in the room five months earlier -- April of 2002 -- where it was also discussed.
Later in the program, Camerota added, "She says she was briefed only once in September of 2002. Well, according to these documents just released, she actually was also briefed April 24, 2002 -- five months before she says she was, and they did talk about Abu Zubaydah and waterboarding."
Doocy: "[A]ccording to the documents, she was there when they were talking about waterboarding" Abu Zubaydah. During Fox & Friends, Doocy stated, "So [Pelosi] said she was at a meeting where it was described, but she didn't know that it had actually been used on Abu Zubaydah a number of times already. And yet, according to the documents, she was there when they were talking about waterboarding this guy." Later in the show, Doocy again stated, "She has suggested that she never knew about the waterboarding stuff, but now some documents have come out that say maybe that's not so much the case," adding, "She was briefed apparently more than once."
But the newly released documents do not say Pelosi was briefed on "waterboarding" in 2002
Documents say Pelosi was briefed April 24, 2002, about "Ongoing Interrogations of Abu Zubaydah." Among the newly released documents is an April 2002 memo from Christopher J. Walker, then CIA director of congressional affairs, which lists "all Members and Staff briefed on CIA Interrogation program" and states that Pelosi was briefed on April 24, 2002, about "Ongoing Interrogations of Abu Zubaydah." Walker's memo also states that "Chairman Goss" and "Ranking Member Harman" were present at a September 4, 2002, briefing on "EITs," but does not list Pelosi as one of the members briefed that day, in contrast to a document released by the CIA in May 2008.
Hayden said CIA "began using" enhanced interrogation techniques "[i]n August 2002." Among the newly released documents is an April 12, 2007, statement that Gen. Michael V. Hayden, then CIA director, gave to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Hayden said that after "unsuccessfully" using "established US Government interrogation techniques" on Zubaydah, "[a] handful of techniques were developed for potential use" and "[i]n August 2002, CIA began using these few and lawful interrogation techniques in the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah." The New York Times reported in 2008 that "[c]urrent and former officials have said that the C.I.A. began using harsh interrogation methods on Mr. Zubaydah in Thailand weeks before the Justice Department formally authorized the interrogation program in a secret memo dated Aug. 1, 2002." Nevertheless, the newly released documents do not indicate that in April 2002 Pelosi was told Zubaydah was being waterboarded, as Fox & Friends claimed.
New York Times: "[D]ocuments shed no new light" on Pelosi dispute with CIA. The New York Times reported on February 22 that documents, released "as a result of a freedom of information request by Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University," show that "[a]t a closed briefing in 2003, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee [Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)] raised no objection to a C.I.A. plan to destroy videotapes of brutal interrogations." The Times report further stated that "[t]he documents shed no new light on a dispute last year between Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, and C.I.A. officials about what exactly she was told in a briefing on interrogation in the fall of 2002":
The groups said the documents showed the need for a full public investigation of the interrogation program and also suggested that Congress was too involved in approving the program to conduct an objective investigation.
The documents shed no new light on a dispute last year between Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, and C.I.A. officials about what exactly she was told in a briefing on interrogation in the fall of 2002. Ms. Pelosi has said that while waterboarding, a tactic that simulates drowning, was describing at the briefing, she was not told that it was already in use. In fact, the waterboarding of Mr. Zubaydah had begun by that time, and C.I.A. officials have said they believe that was reported at the briefing with Ms. Pelosi.