Friday, October 31st, 2014

Playing the blame game on torture

Newt Gingrich says Democrats didn't change laws on torture, but fails to mention Bush's veto.
Newt Gingrich says Democrats didn't change laws on torture, but fails to mention Bush's veto.

Last month, President Barack Obama released memos that showed the Bush administration authorized the use of waterboarding and other harsh methods on terrorism suspects.

The memos infuriated opponents of torture, who have been calling for the prosecution of Bush officials. But Democrats in Congress are also receiving scrutiny.

We've checked two claims on the matter.

• Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrinch said Democrats in Congress didn't change any laws to specifically ban waterboarding when they had the chance. He leaves out the fact that Democrats did pass legislation that would have had the effect of a ban, but President George Bush vetoed it. We rated his statement Barely True .

• Current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Democratic leaders "were not, I repeat, were not, told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used." Contemporaneous records kept by the Central Intelligence Agency and released by the Obama administration contradict that. We explain the matter in more detail and rule her statement False .