By Michael Mcauliff
Daily News political correspondent
In a tough defense of her own actions, Nancy Pelosi accused the CIA and the Bush administration today of misleading Congress about torture tactics used in the war on terror.
"At every step of the way, the administration was misleading the Congress," Pelosi said.
"They misrepresented every step of the way and they don’t want that focus on them, so they turned it on us," she said, contending that questions about whether she tacitly condoned waterboarding were meant to distract the public from the Bush White House’s actions.
Pelosi has been hammered lately after revelations that she attended an intelligence briefing in 2002 where she was told the administration had legal opinions that found the use of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" would be legal, including waterboarding.
But she said the CIA briefers claimed the extreme technique had not been used, when in fact it had. "The only mention of waterboarding in the meeting was that it was not being employed," she said.
"Yes, I am saying that the CIA was misleading the Congress, and at the same time the administration was misleading the Congress on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," Pelosi said heatedly. "I’m just stating a fact."
Some critics have said Pelosi should have done more when several months later the CIA did tell the House Intelligence Committee that waterboarding was being used. Pelosi countered that committee chairwoman Jane Harman did object, and Pelosi concurred.
Pelosi renewed her call for a truth commission that she said would help reveal what actually allowed the policy, which has since been abandoned.