The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Friday’s “All-Stars.”

On the dispute between Nancy Pelosi and the CIA:

I think it could go far out. I don’t think it’s a battle between the Republicans and Democrats anymore. It’s Pelosi and the CIA. And as Mort indicates, you don’t want to mess with the CIA, and she messed with it.

She accused it, its agents of felonies, lying. And what we’re getting — and you don’t want to do that, because the CIA is the keeper of the secrets.

This statement by Panetta, remember, a leading Democrat, and an Obama appointee, every word of it is a contradiction of what she said — “contemporaneous records,” implying there is other stuff out there that we have which contradicts. It could be the slide show — and that the briefing was about interrogations describing the enhanced, as you said, techniques that had been used, meaning it was about what had happened a month earlier.

Her problem is that they can leak, as we saw earlier in the show. We had the story from Jim Angle in which he talked about how Pelosi had stopped an operation.

And where do you think Jim got his stuff? I’m not privy. I didn’t speak with Jim. But as a listener, I hear it, and I say it obviously didn’t come out of Pelosi’s office.

The CIA has the goods and it will leak and leak and leak until she breaks. At some point, there is going to be a decisive piece of evidence which will show that she was told, and she is going to have to explain how she said originally “I hadn’t heard,” which is OK. It could have been a lapse of memory.

But now her story is “I heard, and they said it hadn’t occurred.” Well, that’s hard to defend.

On Obama reinstating military commissions:

Well, you don’t have to argue about Obama’s hypocrisy on this. It was seen on tape. It’s right out there.

But that’s a side issue. The real issue is that we are now safer and that Obama has done the right thing as commander in chief.

I am not impressed by the five changes he is instituting. I think that they are cosmetic. I will give you an example — ostentatiously announcing that we are not going to use evidence derived from coerced interrogation.

Well, as Andy McCarthy, who was a lead prosecutor under the Bush — the prosecutor in the case of the blind sheikh on the World Trade Center attack of the 1993 points out, under the Bush administration, they dismissed a case against a high Al Qaeda official, Mohammed al-Katani, on the grounds of his interrogation involving coercion.

So there is nothing new here.

What is interesting is how Obama is vindicating the Bush approach on the war on terror on almost every aspect of it, including the commissions. And I think it’s an admirable thing.

But I wish he wouldn’t pretend in word that he is not. Indeed he is. He ought to at least admit it once in a while in word that the Bush administration had it right.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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