When told the facts and implications away from the spotlight, the Democrats had no problem with waterboarding as an interrigation technique.

When the media lights went on, it instantly became torture.

Democrats wonder why people don’t trust them with national security. I don’t wonder, it makes perfect sense.

Washington Post
Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002
In Meetings, Spy Panels’ Chiefs Did Not Protest, Officials Say

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

Jules Crittenden observes,

Yeah, well, that was then. Back when war was easier, less messy. More popular. Before polls suggested there was an advantage to stating that invading Iraq wasn’t a good idea anymore. Before Bush lied, people got waterboarded … excuse me, I mean “died.”

Captain Ed adds this,

The reason the CIA briefs the selected few on highly classified covert matters is not to get a rubber stamp on their activities, but to allow oversight and get approval for their covert activities. If Congress couldn’t find it objectionable when waterboarding was employed, they have little to complain about years afterward.