The most salient—and most widely ignored—point in judging the competing claims of Nancy Pelosi and the CIA is that regardless of what Pelosi was informed of, whether in a quiet hint or in a full briefing behind closed doors, it wouldn’t make torture any less illegal or any more acceptable. That’s why the Pentagon and the FBI, which apparently did know what was happening in Dick Cheney’s dungeons, refused to participate in this wholesale breach of American and international law.

The rush to arraign Pelosi is a transparent attempt to divert attention from that paramount fact—the real crime. Frankly, it’s been pretty effective so far. The tilt against the House speaker has dominated Beltway chatter, the cable echo chamber, and even the network news.

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