May 15th, 2009
04:13 PM ET

Gingrich: 'Absolute obligation' to investigate Pelosi

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/15/pelosi.waterboarding/art.gingrich.gi.jpg caption="Newt Gingrich says Nancy Pelosi is a 'trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes.' "]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is engaging in a "despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort" to withhold what she knew about the CIA's harsh interrogation techniques, former Speaker Newt Gingrich said Friday.

Gingrich said Pelosi "lied to the House" when she earlier claimed that the CIA had never briefed her about the Bush administration's use of interrogation methods like waterboarding, which is considered torture by the current administration.

"I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her. And I think this is a big deal. I don't think the speaker of the House can lie to the country on national security matters," the Republican leader said in an interview with ABC Radio.

Pelosi has been under fire from critics who say she was fully briefed on the techniques in 2002 and 2003. On Thursday, the California Democrat accused CIA officials of misleading her, reiterating a claim that she was briefed on such techniques only once - in September 2002 - and that she was told at the time that the techniques were not being used.

Read more... or listen to the interview here.

Filed under: Raw Politics • Top Stories • Torture
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Kelly Cowan

    Did Nancy Pelosi design torture methods? Did Nancy Pelosi order torture? Did Nancy Pelosi torture anyone? If Nancy Pelosi has broken any laws she should be prosecuted. This must be applied to everyone involved in the torture programs, without regard for position or party. Evil can not be fought with evil. The law is the law. The law does not care about parties. The Attorney General must follow his job description, investigate and prosecute where crimes are found. The congress must do the same. We must affirm to ourselves and show the rest of the world we are a nation of laws.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  2. Larry, Ohio

    Hello we're from the CIA and you can trust us... Hey Newt, are we talking about the same CIA here? The CIA who most recently boasted that they destroyed a mountain of video evidence showing torture. Or, perhaps the CIA who provided the evidence for WMD in the race to war with Iraq. I know, the CIA who used the illegal Bush doctrines of wire tapping American Citizens. Maybe were talking about the CIA who orchestrated the Iran – Contra deal. Maybe it's the CIA that trained and funded the likes of Bin Laden, Saddam Husein, Manuel Noriega, The Shah of Iran. I've got it, it's the CIA that fueled the Vietnam rhetoric that if Vietnam were to fall to Communism the whole world would be doomed. No, maybe we’re talking about the CIA who invested massive amounts of time investigating people like John Lennon for their dangerous stance on peace. I think it’s time that Newt Gingrich call for Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Hayden, Gonzales, Pelosi, and any member of the CIA who have made a mockery of the rule of law, do a little hard time of there own.

    May 16, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  3. GI

    If Pelosi's lips are moving then she is lying. Time to bring on Steny Hoyer as Speaker.

    May 16, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  4. paul reinstein

    I've been to way too many briefings in my time, and frankly, it seems more than possible that she (Pelosi) may have been briefed as Panetta stated, and yet she may not have heard it. There are almost always various side conversations going on that distract listeners in the room, so why does no one mention that both Panetta and Pelosi may be telling the truth?

    May 16, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  5. ronvan

    CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? Obviously in this country we can't! There are some things that WE the people do not need to know. The only way that this mess will be over with is to release ALL information related to it. However, what's the point. Are we going to prosecute? I doubt it. We now need ALL the facts to make an honest decision. I listened to Pelosi the other day. WOW, I wish I could tap dance like that!

    May 16, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  6. Bill Skeat -- Athens, WV

    Why is Newtboy getting the coverage he is getting? He needs to crawl back under his rock and not be given and news space. Least we fforget, he had an affair while in Congress going after President Clinton for his affair and he asked his wife, in her hospital room, for a divorce.

    Is this the best the Republicans can do for a spokesperson? If so, no wonder they are in trouble.

    May 16, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  7. Art

    There both lying. I find it hard to believe these people have nothing else better to do, given the state of our country.

    May 16, 2009 at 7:33 am |
  8. Gary Haynes

    I never cared for Pelosi, myself –BUT I care even less for the "good old boy" Gingrich, even more. You've got one of the largest liars in Washington calling another politician a liar. Isn't that sweet. Just more of the Republican "jerkiness" coming to the forefront – as usual.

    If Pelosi lied – so what. She's just catching up with the Republicans.
    Let's let this mess die – and let President Obama, who, in time, will be rated one of the best president's the US has ever had – do what he was put in office to do – and that's to put this country back on it's feet – economically, educationally, health-wise, ecologically and with a solid, respectable reputation – as we used to have before Bush, Cheney and the republican "good old boys' got into office and ruined it.

    May 16, 2009 at 2:41 am |
  9. Phyllis

    I believe the Republicans are experts at diverting attention away from the issues that make them look bad. Their administration was the one who ordered the waterboarding....that is the real issue. The Bush administration were adept at presenting their slant on everything from weapons of mass destruction to special methods of getting information from Gitmo detainees. So if I had to believe anyone, it would be Pelosi over Gingrich and the Republicans.

    May 16, 2009 at 2:25 am |
  10. Gary

    The CIA like the EPA like the Department of Justice like the Department of Labor like the almost every other governmental department under
    the Bushies was totally politicized. The people at the CIA took their
    orders from Dick Cheney. Why else did he make so many visits to
    CIA headquarters in Langley? No other vice president has ever done that. Would the folks at the CIA lie for Cheney? Hell yes! They wanted to save their careers. Nuff said.

    May 16, 2009 at 2:20 am |
  11. DL Sanderson

    Gingerich is right on regarding Pelosi. Her ramblings at the press conference and shameful attempt to cover her backside by accusing the CIA of lying only served to expose her cowardly incompetence.

    May 16, 2009 at 2:17 am |
  12. wang

    i think the left preferred the sharp blade on their throat, oh men, water vs. sharp blade, i wish all americans beheaded by terrorists..

    we know whos lying here... Nancy Pelosi

    May 16, 2009 at 2:17 am |
  13. jim boat

    Whatever Pelosi was told was told in the strict secrecy of National Security – so she could not have said anything or done anything about what she was told.

    Well, she could tell the truth NOW instead of calling the CIA liars to try to cover her ass.

    May 16, 2009 at 2:16 am |
  14. Terry

    If this republican't had been interested during the previous Bush Administration the country would be a lot better off today. They don't want to investigate the Bush Admin's wrong doings, but the republican't are all hot when it comes to a democrat. If the Obama admin/democrats, done tell as many lies as the Bush Admin/Republican't we will be doing good. The republicans are the pot calling the kettle black. The republican are the no way unless its my way part. They got us into all this mess.

    May 16, 2009 at 1:59 am |
  15. gwendol

    Why are we wasting time talking about what Pelosi knew or didn't know? The truth is, if she did know, what could she have done about it? She couldn't stop them. She had no authority against that administration's practices. The President and Vice President gave the okay for it to be done(waterboarding). I'm sure she wasn't the only one besides them that knew about it. Didn't Ms. Condoleeza Rice know about it too? How are on earth are we trying to hold her accountable for something the President and his Vice okayed? As if we don't have enough to contend with because of the same administration. Speaking of Newt, isn't he the same guy that resigned his post in shame? Why are we even discussing him? Is he all the GOP has to offer? Liar, Liar!!!!!

    May 16, 2009 at 1:38 am |
  16. Jodi- Phoenix

    Annie Kate- Let me refresh your memory. Pelosi was on a partisan witch hunt regarding these tactics and was out to prosecute those who allowed them. I have no reason to defend Newt, but come on- how could you call it partisan politics when he wants Pelosi, one of the most powerful people in this country to be a part of her own investigation. She railed on those who ALLOWED it and she was one of them. You say she couldn't have done anything about about what she was told- the question here now is WHAT WAS SHE TOLD? She has accused the CIA of lying, let's find out if she is right- that's not partisan.

    May 16, 2009 at 1:29 am |
  17. Rose

    As a democrate, Speaker Pelosi has weaken the party and agenda. After seeing her inteview with the media her body language and presentation clearly indicated she was not telling the truth. This is not the change President Obama has been talking about. It's time for her to go.

    May 16, 2009 at 1:22 am |
  18. J.V.Hodgson

    The media loves scandal. The problem is you just do not get the real issue.
    The real isssue and you should advise Gingrich and Cheney accordingly is that a Republican led government, CIA and Justice department and White house legal advisors created this appalling semantic version of "torture" by calling it "enhanced interrogation techniques".(EIT) One thing is for sure those EIT were not her idea and she should have stuck with that. The rest of the debate is a pure political tactic to move discussion away from the real issue.
    Scandal mongers that you are you concentrate on the " gossip" and party ,because it gets attention.
    Personally I do not care who lied to whom. I simply want both Republicans and Democrats, all of them, to say ( Legislate?) that it ( toture EIT)can never happen again by America/ Americans and also ban rendition, and have those non US citizens tried by an International war tribunals court, or Normal court procedures and evidence needs.

    May 16, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  19. J.V.Hodgson

    The media loves scandal. The problem is you just do not get the real issue.
    The real isssue and you should advise Gingrich and Cheney accordingly is that a Republican led government, CIA and Justice department and White house legal advisors created this appalling semantic version of "torture" by calling it "enhanced interrogation techniques".(EIT) One thing is for sure those EIT were not her idea and she should have stuck with that. The rest of the debate is a pure political tactic to move discussion away from the real issue.
    Scandal mongers that you are you concentrate on the " gossip" and party ,because it gets attention.
    Personally I do not care who lied to whom. I simply want both Republicans and Democrats, all of them, to say ( Legislate?) that it ( toture EIT)can never happen again by America/ Americans and also ban rendition, and have those non US citizens tried by an International war tribunals court,or Normal court procedures and evidence needs.

    May 16, 2009 at 1:20 am |
  20. Gonzarelli

    JC-Los Angeles you really need to get a clue! Do you watch CNN, do you see the live interviews?
    Are you employeed? Did not President Obama help you and me both as he has the previous administration by trying to correct their fallasies and locate the anomalies in their finance practices?

    Is he not trying to save Social Security so that one day when you are wrinkled and gray, you'll still get your montly payment to sustain your fat belly?

    Is he not trying to assit with education and is not he, President Obama who is alloted more money to our paychecks so that we can sustain our families? Come on dude! Are you for real?


    May 16, 2009 at 1:18 am |
  21. Sean H

    I am starting to dislike people in my own party. I am ashamed of Pelosi. Why can't we get an honest politician on the right or the left?

    May 16, 2009 at 1:14 am |
  22. Gonzarelli

    Yes! Let the US President and Congress open a full and disclosed investigation into these childish issue of whether Pelosi remembers or does not remembered been told of the use of water-boarding.

    Gingisch did she authorize the use of water-boarding? Did she sign for it to be done in confined quarters? Did she tell the world and the Democrats; "either you are with us or with the terrorist"? Did she ensure these orders were carried out? Did she not been a leader at the time have any power to stop the bullying and atrocious actions of the Bush administration? Common Mr. Gingrich! Tell me did she commit these crimes or was it yours and your trigger war monger colleagues? Yeah! Let it be so! Let the investigation be done and I beg you Mr. President (Obama), please call for it and allow it to be disclosed to us the citizens of this country. Than we can have republicans crying and begging for some other outlandish and obnoxious individual accuse Mrs. Pelosi. It is just pathetic and low!

    Perhaps if this is done without obstruction and bias, we can find out the truth, but I can tell you this Mr. Gingrish, I already know the truth! And you and your money wasting colleagues don’t seem to be capable of handling the truth!


    May 16, 2009 at 1:13 am |
  23. Doug Wade

    I have watched the stores about transparency in business & I watch the stores of who knew what when and I wonder why not both! WE all know both lie! If you watch the conservation station you see them say we do not tag animals any more we watch them from space! Oh look at this grass hopper it will not live long it has a fungus! And look the under ground water table is low! But we can not find a big metal rocket in a big sand box? Or find the bad guys? In this day & age we all can watch real time! ALL of us would know at the same time! ALL of us vote on what to do! ALL of us watch the outcome! Take the special interests groups out of the picture! AND THE BAIL OUT! IF you bail out a business with no customers what happens next year? NO Customer can pay! THE CUSTOMERS ARE BROKE! IF you took all that bail out money and split it up between ALL OF US we all could pay our bills off buy all new stuff pay our own med.bills & retire happy! new businesses would pop up our . WE would be saved, business would be saved,Our states & fed. taxes would be saved along with the united states!!! BUT NO business gets the money we get a sharp stick in the eye! Who is not telling the truth! ALL OF THEM!!!! transparency in both the only way any of this will work! thank you America good luck to all!!!!!

    May 16, 2009 at 12:28 am |
  24. jamayrah

    I'm yelling for the president cause i know he can't hear me

    May 16, 2009 at 12:03 am |
  25. charlie craft

    Men / women of good character and honest intentions aspire to enter the political fora ...how to without support ?? (always with strings to someone elses ideals ), now beholding, now indebted, now no longer able to say I am my own person, soley interested in what I perceive as right and good for our collective interests ...enter Acorn ( and others ) "IF YOU DON'T deal with us YOU don't stand a chance....then the "OLD" politians...quivering when confronted by these thugs , dealing in coercion, intimidation and out right threats; how does one maintain a sense of "I'm in control" ???
    How about those silently ( or maybe not sooo silently ) spoon feeding us the bovine scat with controlled media...entertainment ..etc.
    you might consider Chomski's Manufatured Consent . There are others...
    Wow ...got on the ole soap box there, but folks we need to somehow..someway..not allow the selfserving jerks to kill this great nation....my way of thinking is, I AM NOT a democrat..republican..or ANY OTHER party...trying to get to the good people IS HARD...oh well I tell you this PLEEEASEE think outside the MOB !!!!

    May 15, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  26. Philip Taylor

    Chainy (sic) & Company=Perpetrator of TORTURE=Investigate and Prosecute

    Pelosi Briefings=No Power to change=Listen to CIA info of what Admin was doing.

    Pelosi Briefings=Not allowed to Divulge due to limits of National Safety.

    Chainy/Bush=Allowed TORTURE to be done and appear to have encouraged it.

    Deflection by Repubs!

    May 15, 2009 at 11:38 pm |
  27. Arachnae

    Why is it so hard for people to at least entertain the possibility that the CIA is lying? Come on – they lied throughout their history until found out in the seventies under the Church Commission. Why is it so impossible that they would be lying now? They deceive for a living – it's what they do.

    May 15, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  28. Gilby-HI

    So what if HS Pelosi lied. If Sen Feinstein's husband can make billions from bad paper created by congress, what is a few lies from Old Nancy.
    Just because she is the #3 in command of the most powerful country in the world, what so important of being honest and trust worthy.

    May 15, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  29. Inga

    The Republicians are obviously very happy to get the heat off of their dead beat party and place it on Pelosi. In addition Leon Panetta was not in charge of the CIA at the time, so how could he be so ADAMANT about what the CIA told Nancy Pelosi. Taking into consideration all that went on during the Bush Administration I really do believe the CIA did not tell Congress the whole truth about anything that they did, or were doing. And suddenly Cheney was resurrected! Where was he during the past eight years when he was President of the United States and Bush was Vice President! He was obviously the one that did all the DIRT BEHIND THE SCENES. CHENEY IS INEED SATAN PERSONIFIED!

    May 15, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  30. Sharon S

    Why would ANYONE allow this LIAR to remain in the White House?

    if this was the Bush Administration you would have everyone up on charges? Why is this different? Pelosi is the one who wanted to do this and bring down OUR CIA, so it is time for her to pay the piper tell the truth or at least LET US see the truth, it was all in the transcripts I have a right to know what she knew and what she said! I believe she asked the CIA if ENOUGH WAS BEING DONE TO GET INFORMATION? OR DID SHE FORGET SHE SAID THAT TOO????

    May 15, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  31. NS, Florida

    The Bush Administration lied their way to war, why is it not obvious they would have lied their way to torture? What was the role of the CIA on the WMD? How can anyone doubt Speaker Pelosi after all we have seen during the last 8 years?

    May 15, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  32. Sharon S

    Newt is so right if Nancy Pelosi insisted on opening this can of worms that was best left in the past then she needs to take responsibility for her own actions!! Pelosi needs to be investigated and it needs to be brought to light what a backstabbing LIAR she is!!
    she only says and does what is in her own best interest!

    I have no idea how such a stupid, liar became speaker of the house or do I? I mean look at this whole administration nothing but tax evaders, liars, cheats and Obama himself was the attorney for Acorn right up til he was actually put in office as President so give me a break, they ALL need to be impeached!

    May 15, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  33. olga

    Oh Nancy P. are you really third in command. My goodness, that's scares us Homo sapiens

    May 15, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  34. Ryan

    Pelosi should have just said... "Yes, i was briefed on waterboarding and that these methods were producing valuable info, and despite my views against waterboarding and torture, I felt saving american lives was more important at a time when the country was afraid, and when we knew very little about our murderous enemy."

    Case closed. We forgive you.

    May 15, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  35. geo

    Pelosi is a pure dumb democrat, a liar of the worse degree, only time will purge of us these idiots, hopefully before they completely bankrupt us all, or tax us to death in the short future.

    May 15, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  36. Geri


    The Republican Party is determined to take everyone down with them, if they have to answer for any inappropriate actions they took while in office. I believe Nancy Pelosi went along with WH requests and proposals after the 911 attacks, thinking they, ie., (the Bush Administration) was in charge, and we (America) had to put our faith and trust in him and his staff to make those responsible, pay for what was done to us on 911.

    Now, hearing this Newt Gingrich character today, trying to oust Nancy Pelosi from ofc, and take the focus off of the Bush/ Cheney Administration is nothing but a defense saying: She and everyone else is just as much to blame as Bush and Cheney. So don't blame them, blame everyone else but them.


    May 15, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  37. tonya

    I totally believe Ms.Pelosi is telling the truth remember the Bush administration lied to all of us american about weapons of mass destruction that should have been grounds for impeachment,the Bush administration and all repulplicans are corrupt ask Mitch McConell about the fostercare/adoption dept in the state of KY ask him also about the illegal wiretapping ask him about his govt judicial and official officers and justices who have taken an oath to uphold the law whom are now breaking the law and also throwing their weight around to stop the citizens whom have the courage to stand up to them and report their unethical and criminal behavior ask Mitch McConell about the human trafficking ask Mitch McConnel about the statement in the newspaper"the children in fostercare are the state of KY's second lottery" ask Mitch about the fundings for govt programs about the fundings have been pocketed and misused and mishandled. Ask Mitch about those seeking justice outside of KY by sending court documents to wasshington supreme court,Why is their mail intercepted by the wa mail tamperin along w/ wiretapping is illegal KY is so corrupt it makes congress look like childs' play excuse me for venting back to the issue at hand Ms.Pelosi I do believe she is telling the truth

    May 15, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  38. Annie Kate

    Newt needs to go hide back under his rock. He and his partisan tactics were bad for the country the first time around and we don't need a repeat. Whatever Pelosi was told was told in the strict secrecy of National Security – so she could not have said anything or done anything about what she was told.

    May 15, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  39. brad olson

    it is really to bad that we have to go through this process all because of the three terrorist that leveled the buildings in new york city, and killed innocent, hard working americans. these men that got waterboarded are the same men that would cut anyone of your throats and beable to go to bed and sleep like little babies. wake up , if this happen to your families or friends i do not believe you would stop at a little bit of water. you would probably be like one of them that would not be smart enough to extract any information, just kill them. pelosi is not in the best interest for all americans, just the ones that will help keep her in power

    May 15, 2009 at 9:14 pm |
  40. JC-Los Angeles

    Whether it's Republicans, Democrats, CEOs or any other failure that the general public has been forced to stomach, it's quite apparent that no one knows anything about anything anymore.

    When someone like Nancy Pelosi uses the defense that she knew nothing, that's correct, admitting that she knew nothing, then it only seems logical that someone who knows nothing should be removed.

    Nancy Pelosi is just the latest in a storied group of morally bankrupt, culturally corrupt leaders who solely operate in the gray and only ascend thanks to money and connections.

    May 15, 2009 at 8:14 pm |
  41. tim

    Gingrich is using, as stated in his own words a “despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort to harm Pelosi. He used the same tactics against Clinton in the 1990's. Isn't this what is called projection in psychology? Or is it just hypocrisy???

    May 15, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  42. Michael P

    Newt needs an introduction. Pot, meet the Kettle. Kettle, Pot.
    Are you kidding me. Newt Gingrich is calling another politician's actions/words "despicable, dishonest and vicious." How ironic. Newt, you redefined a politician being despicable, dishonest and vicious... Pelosi did say let the briefings speak for themselves, so let's let them speak for themselves when – or if – they become unclassified.

    May 15, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  43. Alex

    Might it be that the information was given to Nancy Pelosi as stated by the CIA and she is now trying to cover her tracks? Yes we know the Republicans ran a screwed up Administration under Bush, but these Democrats are no Angels themselves. It is high time POLITICIANS get back to being honest and telling the truth (if thats even possible anymore), Republicans and Democrats should ALL be held to the same standard of honestly and truthfulness regardless of their position or name. Enough with the none stop LIEING in Washington!

    May 15, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  44. Arnold

    Ok Newt, you had your time under the spotlight. Perhpas you can hire Ken Starr to do the investigation...

    Geez... the fact is, the Bush Administration mislead everyone and this may include Ms. Pelosi... although Ms. Pelosi need to come clean... learn from Pres. Bill Clinton Madame Speaker...

    May 15, 2009 at 7:09 pm |
  45. Sandra

    Carol, Did you listen to her own lies out of her own mouth or do you need some Q-tips to clean out your ears? Facts speak for themselves, quit trying to spin what you think her brain understood.

    May 15, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  46. Carol B. in MD

    Might it be possible that some of the information was presented in a selective manner? She and some of the others might have been kept out of the loop regarding the last administration's efforts (hardly any) with regards to transparency. Maybe he should focus his eye of Newt elsewhere.

    May 15, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  47. GF, Los Angeles

    I can't believe for once I'm agreeing with Gingrich. Pelosi is a liar and it saddens me to know my Democratic party is just as scummy as the Republicans. Time to become an Independent.

    May 15, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  48. Jim M

    Sufferin Succotash! Simply Dispicable...

    The biggest shame is that Mrs. Pelosi ranks 3rd in line in the Presidential Succession Act.

    May 15, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  49. Terry, TX

    Blah, blah, blah, blah tired of hearing the creepy left moan and groan about the last administration, intel agencies and our soldiers on the ground.

    Tired of hearing it, the creepy left need to pay attention in the here and now and work on cleaning out the political bums we are dealing with now. ..who are wasting are tax money by spending, printing or borrowing from the Chinese. Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah....or Yada, Yada, Yada..

    May 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  50. Melissa

    Blah blah blah blah take down a high level democrat with us blah blah blah blah

    Tired of hearing it. Republicans need to start taking responsibility for their own actions instead of trying to take everyone else down with them.

    May 15, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
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