May 15, 2009

Someone's Just Plain Lying

Sometimes when I serve as a small claims judge, I get opposing parties telling me things that are simply contradictory. I try to give both of them the benefit of the doubt, understanding that different people sometimes view the same thing in different lights, that people can remember the same event differently and colored by their self-interest, and that conflict can cause people who want to act in good faith to nevertheless distort their own memories.

But when the CIA says "We told Nancy Pelosi in 2003 that we were waterboarding Abu Zubaydah, and she didn't object," and Speaker Pelosi says, "No, the CIA told me that waterboarding was not being used," that's diametrically opposite. At least one of these two parties are just plain lying to the public.

The CIA lacks moral high ground here. They were, after all, torturing a guy. On the other hand, they're coming clean about it now that the information has been declassified. When someone says something against their own self-interest, that tends to be particularly credible testimony.

Speaker Pelosi, however, has effectively stammered about the issue since the news of the briefing came to light. Stammering is a powerful signal that one's questioner has scored a direct hit with the proposition that evoked the stammer. Her denial is self-serving and self-serving statements are the ones that deserve higher degrees of critical examination.


David Schraub said...

Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) denies he was briefed on torture too. Graham is notorious for note-taking everything (to the point where it looks compulsive). He probably didn't write this meeting down because of the security risk, but I'd be surprised if he doesn't remember it.

Also, the CIA isn't acting entirely against interest either -- it has a strong interest in discrediting its critics.

Left Coast Rebel said...

TL - great points here, the woman is clearly fighting for here career, this accounts for the missatements, and inconsistencies in her recent comments. I could support her if she were just consistent on this issue, yet the obfuscating and stammering as you say is astounding. She needs to come clean or go away. Did you see the recent press conference with her? This is the 3rd in line to the presidency? At least when the president gives us whoppers (no earmarks in the stimulus), it sounds believable.... BTW, I support drunk prostitutes....