Got Values?

Please read this question in Andy Rooney voice: Have you ever wondered why the title "Congressional Leader" seems to always refer to the lowest form of human life? The answer must be Darwinian - to survive in that environment, qualities of honor, integrity, decency - the things that we value in another human being - are not required. Instead, it is their opposites that allow one to thrive. Got values? Not in leadership. So desperate Nancy Pelosi calls the CIA a bunch of liars.
As you will recall, she said on Thursday that the reason she didn't know the Bush Administration was using water boarding as an enhanced interrogation technique after her September 2002 briefing was because they only told her that the technique had been approved, not made active. CIA Director Leon Panetta was forced to respond.
"It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress," Panetta said in a message meant to shore up employees of his agency, which is at the center of a relentless political firestorm over Bush policies and the Iraq war.
Pelosi's defense is a distinction without a difference, of course. If the briefers told her that the procedure had been approved, with legal opinions in hand from Justice, then it would have been clear to her that it was going to be used, and she should have offered vigorous questioning to clarify just what was going on if she was upset by the suggestion of "torture" being used.
"Our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of [terrorism suspect] Abu Zubaida, describing the 'enhanced techniques that had been employed.' "
Then she offers a contradictory defense. Oh, she claims, it wouldn't have done any good to protest the use of waterboarding - that would have fallen on deaf ears.
Looking to blunt GOP attacks, Pelosi's office circulated comments throughout the day from Democrats defending her, as well as previous remarks by House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) questioning the judgment of the CIA.
But she had an obligation, as a leader, to attempt to lead, not to claim defeat before making such an attempt. This defense is an admission of negligence.
The dispute over Pelosi's knowledge of the interrogation techniques leaves the Obama administration caught between the speaker, a strong advocate of the president's agenda on Capitol Hill, and the CIA, an agency Obama has defended even as he has described its interrogation methods as torture and released Justice Department memos that drew more focus on those methods.
The best way to avoid responsibility for one's action in politics, though, is to make your own punishment too expensive, politically, to those who would take you to the woodshed. Pelosi's war with the CIA has the potential to put the Obama legislative agenda into slow motion, stuck in the mud of "What did she know and when did she know it?" questions. Therefore, the dispute has to go away. So Pelosi's song changed late Friday.
"What is important now is to be united in our commitment to ensuring the security of our country; that, and how Congress exercises its oversight responsibilities, will continue to be my focus as we move forward."
She's back to being the maestro of oversight! She didn't mean anything by it when she said of the CIA that "They lie to us all the time." Au contraire!
"We all share great respect for the dedicated men and women of the intelligence community who are deeply committed to the safety and security of the American people."
It is only the evil Bushies who bother Patriot Pelosi!
"My criticism of the manner in which the Bush Administration did not appropriately inform Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe."
Opening this can of worms was supposed to marginalize the GOP and mollify the President's wacko base. Now, it has backfired, and the liars are shifting their stories. Got Values? Not in leadership.