Pelosi, awaiting key reports, sees possible 'criminal activity' in detainee abuse
David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
Published: Thursday April 9, 2009

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Pelosi says she hopes to 'learn a great deal more' from Inspectors General reports on torture, due in June

In a wide-ranging conversation with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Wednesday night, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann waited until the final moments of his interview to raise questions on the allegations of torture against the Bush administration. Pelosi said that despite a difference in opinion between Congress and the Obama White House on the matter, "we believe that we have to take a look" to ferret out potential "criminal activity" in the treatment of detainees.

The question was raised after Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that he would support a Department of Justice investigation into the reported torture. His comments came on the heels of a leaked report by the International Committee of the Red Cross which alleges terror war captives were systemically abused, the process of which included CIA medical personnel. The Red Cross also said that some detainees disappeared.

The 40-page document is based on ICRC interviews with 14 "high-value" detainees sent to the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in September 2006, following spells at secret CIA detention centers abroad.

"Well, the administration has said we are closing Guantanamo," said Pelosi. "We know that and we are in the process of doing that. They have said that the United States does not torture."

"Clearly they have done what has needed to be done, in terms of going forward, the Obama administration," said Olbermann. "...But to truly eradicate it, you have to go back and clean out the stables. Isn't it necessary to correct the past rather than just saying we're not going to do this again?"

Pelosi, noting a "difference of opinion" between the Obama White House and Congress, said "we believe that we have to take a look at what happened; there may be criminal activity."

"There has to be some way for the truth to be known, A, and B, acted upon, for people engaged in illegal activity," she continued. "And hopefully we'll learn a great deal more from the inspectors general when they have their reports in June on this subject, it's very, very important."

The ICRC report on American torture of detainees is available online (PDF link).

This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast Apr. 8, 2009.

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With wire reports.

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