Gingrich and other Republicans have to know this is bullshit, but they're raging like rabid dogs with little cause. In contrast, Pelosi took impeachment off the table. It's all a farce.
The GOP doesn't want a full investigation. Much of the press doesn't want a full investigation. Pelosi, for any of her other faults (personally, I'm not a big fan of Pelosi or Reid), supports an investigation. Given all this "contention," a full investigation is just what we need.
Emptywheel's done a superb job on fact-checking the Pelosi story, including in "Mark Mazzetti, the Gray Lady’s Grammar-Impaired Spook Stenographer":
C'mon, NYT, don't you remember how embarrassing it was when Judy Miller was playing warmonger stenographer in 2002? Then why are you guys whoring yourself out to serve disinformation again?
I'm speaking of this post on Nancy Pelosi's press conference spelling out reaaaalllyyyy slowly that the CIA lied when it briefed Pelosi and Goss on torture in 2002. When I first looked at the post, the headline said something like, "Pelosi says CIA misled Congress" (sorry, I didn't get a screen cap; I should have known). Now it has shifted its focus back onto the fact that a Pelosi staffer--not the CIA, as required by law--informed Pelosi that CIA was in the torture business in 2003...
As a spook stenographer, Mark, I'm sure you're familiar with the National Security Act, but if you need a primer, why not read about it on the pages of the NYT? You'll see that the National Security Act requires the Administration inform Congress--arguably, the entire intelligence committees--about their covert ops. Requires. But instead, what happened here is that CIA took up torturing, and then, when they "briefed" Pelosi and Goss on it in September 2002, they didn't tell them they were already doing it. They didn't get around to revealing that until five months later--and six months after they had gotten into the torture business.
That is a violation of the law--some might even consider it news. But not the NYT!!! Nope, the NYT is going to keep recycling Porter Goss' carefully parsed statements and imply they refute Nancy Pelosi when they don't. The NYT is going to obsess over the fact that a staffer told Nancy Pelosi something that CIA should have told her almost a year earlier.
But the NYT is not, apparently, going to tell its readers that the CIA broke the law.
Emptywheel is really a must-read site if you want to follow this story or others related to torture. She unpacks Leon Panetta's statement here. Meanwhile, one of her latest, "A Dick Cheney Torture Trifecta!" covers Judith Miller and Stephen Hayes claiming (as Emptywheel puts it) "Pelosi's in trouble because Dick Cheney tortured." She also dissects Victoria Toensing's latest hackdom – continuing a fine torture apologist tradition, Toensing just ignores central pieces of evidence.
Tbogg also has a good take, in "Nancy Pelosi is the new Lynndie England":
Due to "process" reporting we have learned that the Torture Years were not the responsibility of the Administration who demanded them, the legal counsel who found legal justification for them, the medical personnel who stood by and watched, the media talking heads who justified torture based upon a TV show, or the actual torturers who unquestioningly did the dirty work.
Now the Village elders have decided that Nancy Pelosi is a witch who turned us into awful people and by burning her we will be made whole again.
Digby has more in "Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad GOP?" capturing David Brooks wanking away about how awful Pelosi is. Jim Webb is a big disappointment, and David Gregory apparently doesn't just oppose prosecutions – he doesn't want any investigation, either. Pretending this is somehow a bipartisan scandal is his angle now. Of course, most people pushing for a full investigation don't give a damn about protecting Pelosi, they just want the truth – if she was negligent, all the better that it comes out. Desiring the truth and accountability on torture is not a partisan issue, and should not be.
There's more on this, including Media Matters' "Media let GOP change the subject in torture debate" and "The right's tortured shell game." DougJ at Balloon Juice also has a good post.
The GOP are howling for Pelosi's head, despite the facts being against them on this rather minor matter, and a mountain of damning evidence towering over them on the overall story, since their party authorized torture and mostly said nothing about it - or defended it. Most of the press wants its news cycle story – Pelosi and CIA conflict! – and has its conclusion in place – there should be no investigations into torture. The obvious news story would be, hey, GOP, why are you going rabid over this when a) you're wrong, and b) you never made anywhere near this big a stink over much bigger crimes by your own leaders? Why do you suddenly love the CIA when you've trashed them so often before? Aren't you big, stinking hypocrites trying to hide the truth and avoid all accountability? Why should we believe you?
Then there's the CIA angle – hey, CIA, why did you do something illegal? Why do you claim you briefed Pelosi about this, when Bob Graham (who's damn reliable on this) contradicts you? Even if what you said was correct, you'd be telling Pelosi months after you started torturing people. Why did you tell her so late? Oh, and why were you torturing people? Why did you destroy those torture tapes when you were told not to? Why should we believe you?
The Democratic leadership should take a lesson from the GOP and actually push for impeachment when it's clearly warranted, since the GOP will demand resignations over stupid things and the press generally will not call them on it. Meanwhile, the civically-minded should use this sideshow to push for a full investigation into the torture regime and all human rights abuses. David Gregory and others in the Beltway don't want that to happen, and just don't want to do the work to prevent the actual abuses from happening again. Morality and the law require that we ruin David Gregory's day.
(Cross-posted at The Blue Herald)