Ex-CIA counsel discusses interrogation techniques

05/19/09 Mitch E. Perry
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A new poll says embattled House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has approval ratings nearly as low as Newt Gingrich when he was the primary lightning rod in Congress.

The CNN/Opinion Research survey last night found that the approval of how Pelosi is doing her job as speaker has dropped from 51 percent in January to 46 percent in March to 39 percent now, with 48 percent saying they disapprove of her performance.

The San Francisco-based congresswoman has been blasted by Republicans like Gingrich after her attempt at explaining what she knew about waterboarding from a CIA briefing.

Some liberals are unhappy that she didn’t try to stop enhanced interrogation techniques, what some call torture. Republicans, who have previously shied away from investigations about torture, are now calling for hearings to learn what Pelosi actually did know.

But according to an attorney who has worked on both the Senate Intelligence Committtee and with the CIA, there was little Pelosi could have done to affect the Bush administration’s decision on the enhanced interrogation techniques program. To stop it, she needed the whole Congress.

Vicki Divoll is an instructor of government at the U.S. Naval Academy. She previously served as Counsel to the CIA and to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Her opinion piece in last week’s New York Times referenced the controversy.

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