At the time, of course, everyone remembered vividly the horror of 9/11 and extraordinary measures, taken in a few cases, didn't seem too high a price to pay to prevent another devastating attack on the US. With the distance that time, seeming safety -- and political expedience -- brings, however, Pelosi changed her tune.
Lillian Hellman is a big hero to the left; she's the one who refused to "cut [her] conscience to fit this year's fashions." Ironically, however, that's just what Pelosi has tried to do -- and, more broadly, what the Democrats successfully did with the war on Iraq.
She had some reason to believe she would succeed in simply claiming ignorance about politically inconvenient facts; what's remarkable is just how opportunistic and deceptive most of the Democrats have been about national security generally ever since around 2003. After their leaders and most Democrats voted to give President Bush authority to liberate Iraq -- working on the same information about WMD that President Bush had -- the Democrats on the Hill simply "changed their minds" and became some of the war's most virulent critics (without, mind you, a solution). Somehow, everyone just "forgot" that the war had been a largely bipartisan commitment. And that "forgetfulness" worked enormously to the Democrats' political advantage.
In a sense, Nancy Pelosi is just trying to pull a one-woman reprise of the same tired old song. Sure, she knew and approved at the time, but time passed, politics changed -- and sure enough, now, of course, she disclaims all responsibility. She was just duped by those evil Republicans. Reallllly.
Just like the Democrats with Iraq.