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“Then we find out just slightly more subsequent to that that, perhaps, they were using waterboarding long before they tell us.”

The reporter continued, “Now we know that, later, in February, you were told. It wasn’t in that briefing, but you were told.”

“By the time we were told,” Mrs. Pelosi said, “we are finding out that it’s been used before. … The point is that I wasn’t briefed. I was told — informed that someone else had been briefed about it. … Subsequently, the other members of the committee were informed.”

Another reporter asked whether she should have done more once she did know whenever that was.

“No, no, no, no, no,” she said. “It does not make me complicit, no.”

After the fourth question, Mrs. Pelosi’s spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, called out, “Last question!”

“Madam Speaker, on health care —” the reporter began, before laughter and boos drowned him out.

“Did you get booed? Did I hear you get booed?” Mrs. Pelosi said.

The speaker sought to make a hasty exit, but stopped halfway out, taking a last question, then, after speaking for 30 seconds, returned to the lectern. She looked confused as reporters continued to shout questions. ?Why didn’t you protest?? demanded one reporter as Mrs. Pelosi stood beside the lectern, then walked quickly to the door.

Mr. Elshami, his boss safely out of the room, looked back at the press corps and said, “Man, you guys are torture!”

A few minutes later, reporters still hanging about her door, the speaker came out, heading to the House floor. “Don’t you have anything else to do?” she said, still looking surprised. The throng mobbed her, moving like a scrum to the “Members Only” entrance, where she finally escaped, leaving the press corps still shouting questions.

Joseph Curl can be reached at