In 2003, when President George W. Bush sought authorization to go to war with Iraq, Ms. Pelosi voted against it, saying repeatedly that she did not believe the intelligence supported Mr. Bush’s contention that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. She turned out to be correct — a story she recounts in her 2008 autobiography, “Know Your Power.”
“As the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee at the time of the Iraq vote, I said to the press when I voted ‘No’ on the war that the intelligence did not support the imminent threat the Administration was claiming,’’ Ms. Pelosi wrote. “And the press asked, ‘Are you calling the President a liar?’ ‘I’m stating a fact,’ I replied.”
But Ms. Pelosi also drew criticism for failing to object to the Bush administration’s post-9/11 secret eavesdropping program, which she had been informed of as Democratic leader. She said at the time that she expressed her concerns about the program to the Bush administration in a letter, but could not make the letter public because it was classified.
Handling of classified information was at the heart of the Congressional debate over the 1998 whistle-blower law, which played out against the backdrop of accusations that members of Congress were leaking classified material.
The chairman of the intelligence panel at the time, Porter Goss, Republican of Florida, who later went on to become Mr. Bush’s C.I.A. director, convened two hearings with the aim of creating a system that would enable intelligence officials to bring complaints to Congress in a professional way, without having to fear they would be charged with revealing classified information.
At one of those hearings, in June 1998, Ms. Pelosi expressed her concern that “a person with conscience with information” would be “punished and have his security clearance removed because he revealed classified information to a member” of the Intelligence Committee. The proposed legislation passed and President Bill Clinton signed it into law. At Tuesday night’s meeting, she boasted about it.
“I know what the intent of the law was,” she said, according to the aide. “And what the intent of the law was to secure, in cases like this, to secure our intelligence and to protect our whistle-blowers.”