Kit Bond has now emerged as a leading spokesperson for the Republican effort to insure that instead of facing up to the Bush Administration’s torture practices, we instead focus on what Nancy Pelosi knew and when she learned it. It would certainly be convenient if Kit and his GOP buddies could tar the Democrats with at least some of the responsibility for the depraved behavior of the past administration. Clearly, the poor old worn-out Republican hunting dogs think they smell blood:
“I think it’s a tragedy that we are seeing this massive attack on our intelligence community which has kept us safe,” Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show where he questioned why Pelosi was “going after the agency and calling them liars.”
Bond, who claims to have seen documentary proof of the briefings, is forced, however, to admit that he wasn’t actually present when they took place, and can’t testify as to what was actually communicated. Nor does he address allegations by former Senator Bob Graham that the briefings he (Graham) reputedly received were neither as informative about the actual events, nor as frequent as claimed by the CIA. Nor does he explain the objections to CIA claims made by former Intelligence Chair, Jay Rockefeller. And he doesn’t seem a bit embarrassed by the conflicting assertions by CIA Director Leon Panetta that the briefings are unsupported except by memory — which was followed by today’s claim that documentary evidence for the briefings exist.
Since we have already been distracted from the real issue in order to concentrate on the relatively unimportant question of who knew what when, shouldn’t we press Senator Bond to clarify the basis for his concern while taking into accunt all the facts that are available? Especially since, as Josh Marshall of TPM notes, not only does Pelosi deny the CIA claims and the accuracy of the putative documentation, but she is calling for a truth commission to investigate the entire affair, including what she and others were told:
That says it all. She wants it all investigated. The whole point of this storm about Pelosi is that her critics want her to be embarrassed and stop supporting a Truth Commission or any sort of examination of what happened. But she’s not. She still says there should be an investigation. Her critics still want the book closed. That says it all. She’ll have to stand or fall with the results of an actual investigation. Her opponents on this are simply risible hypocrites.
Why won’t Senator Bond support a truth commission which could substantiate his claims about Senator Pelosi and others? Until he is willing to do so, he should probably just shut up and try to impersonate an honest citizen.
UPDATE: Josh Marshall observes that Panetta’s ostensible “smack-down” of Pelosi’s accusation falls short of contradicting her claims.