Monday, May 18, 2009

In Defense of the Speaker of the House

William E. Jackson Jr.
Posted: May 16, 2009 12:35 AM

As of May 16, several national newspaper and television headlines were adopting an accusatory tone critical of Speaker Nancy Pelosi that undoubtedly tickled the actual authorizers (Vice President Cheney et al) and the actual practitioners (Central Intelligence Agency) of torture during the previous administration, 2001-2009. For example: "CIA Director Panetta Rebuts Pelosi's Charges," Washington Post, May 16.

Having worked for a Senate leader on Capitol Hill, I can attest that--when leaders of Congress are notified of major covert operations--the briefings are often incomplete at best and are sometimes prone to gloss over what is really going on. A full briefing on relevant CIA activities is seldom guaranteed.

William E. Jackson Jr. wrote a column on the press and national security for "Editor & Publisher Online" from 2003 to 2007. He served in the Executive Office of the President under President John Kennedy in 1963. He taught government and politics at UNC-Charlotte, and Davidson College. From 1974-77, he was chief legislative assistant to the U.S. Senate majority whip; and was the executive director of President Carter's General Advisory Committee on Arms Control, 1978-80. He has been a foreign policy scholar at the Brookings Institution, and the Fulbright Institute of International Relations. In addition, he produced and hosted the political talk show "Crosshairs" on Adelphia cable television, 2000-2003. Jackson resides, and writes, in Davidson, N.C.


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