CIA on Pelosi: She’s lying

The CIA director strongly rejected accusations the agency had misled US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about alleged torture of detainees amid a political uproar over the conduct of the "war on terror."

"Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values," spy agency chief Leon Panetta said in a statement to Central Intelligence Agency employees.

Panetta said there was a "long tradition in Washington of making political hay out of our business," but he said "the political debates about interrogation reached a new decibel level yesterday when the CIA was accused of misleading Congress."

The CIA statement came a day after Pelosi, President Barack Obama’s top Democratic ally in the House of Representatives, charged the CIA had deceived her in 2002 about alleged abuse of detainees during ex-president George W. Bush’s administration.

At issue is when the California Democrat, who is now second in line for the presidency, found out that the CIA was using waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Pelosi said the CIA briefed her just once, in September 2002, telling her only that Bush-era advisers had decided such practices were legal while assuring her that waterboarding, or simulated drowning, had not yet been used.

When informing members of Congress about interrogation methods used in the case of Al-Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah, CIA officers told the truth, Panetta said, citing agency records of meetings.

"Our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing ‘the enhanced techniques that had been employed,’" he said.

"Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened."

The CIA director, a former member of Congress who recently took over the agency after being appointed by Obama, advised employees to overlook the dispute, saying: "ignore the noise and stay focused on your mission.

"We have too much work to do to be distracted from our job of protecting this country."

Responding to Panetta’s statement, Pelosi insisted her criticism was directed at how the previous administration informed Congress and not at CIA officers, who she said she held in "great respect."

"What is important now is to be united in our commitment to ensuring the security of our country; that, and how Congress exercises its oversight responsibilities, will continue to be my focus as we move forward," she said in a statement.

Pelosi has denied that her lack of formal objections to harsh tactics made her complicit in the abuse of detainees.

The House speaker has drawn Republican charges that she knew years ago about harsh techniques — such as waterboarding — that she now denounces as torture and wants formally investigated.

The finger-pointing is part of a wider debate about whether the Bush administration crossed legal and moral lines in its treatment of terror suspects after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Democrats in Congress accuse Bush-era figures of approving torture while former vice president Dick Cheney and other voices on the right say their actions helped save American lives.

Republicans have fought efforts to name a blue-ribbon commission to look into who authorized what and when, while warning that any formal probe should expose Democratic leaders who did not forcefully object to the extreme interrogation methods.

In 2003, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Jane Harman, wrote a letter of protest about the treatment of detainees to the CIA — a letter Pelosi says she agreed with, but did not sign, and she says she did not send a letter of her own.

"No letter or anything else was going to stop them from doing what they were going to do," she said Thursday. "My job was to change the majority in Congress and to fight to have a new president."

Pelosi and Republicans have urged the CIA to release the full details of briefings for lawmakers to clarify the dispute.

The CIA says detailed agency notes on briefings for lawmakers were available for review by qualified congressional staff.


  1. woody188

    It was Pelosi’s responsibility to reign in the Executive and she removed impeachment from the table terminating the checks and balances of our system. Why would she do that? (Hint: Council on Foreign Relations)

    Self-serving vampire needs kicked to the curb.

    Probably won’t happen. Hard to tell how things will go but I don’t see much in the way of charges for anyone including Bush Administration folks. (Hint: Bilderberg Group)

    Maybe they want to charge her early so Obama will pardon her. Just means she couldn’t travel abroad or might face getting hauled in as a war criminal.

    To those arguing she faced felony charges if she talked, whistle-blower status would exempt her from any charges from coming forward. And hey, she could be facing accessory type charges of crimes against humanity. I think the felony is the lesser crime here no?

    But no, not Nancy. She didn’t say anything about it even after we all knew what was going on. She acted surprised by the Abu Ghraib photos. She knew Bush was lying when he told us it was just the Lyndie Englands (who was charged and sentenced to 3 years in prison for her role in the torture at Abu Ghraib) of the world and not policy. Just small groups of misguided individuals. But it was policy and she knew it. Still she remained quiet. Why would she do that? (Hint: North American Union)

    I remember Lyndie England and others saying they were ordered to do it. They threw those soldiers under the bus for supporting them. They deserve none of our respect or benefit of the doubt. Still Pelosi said and did nothing. Why? (Hint: Military-industrial complex)

    No, impeachment was off the table and that was that. Why would Pelosi do that? (Hint: New World Order)

  2. mtrav

    Who cares if she lied. Those responsible are Bush, Cheney, Gonzalez, Rice, Yoo and the rest of the rethugs who authorized it and ordered it carried out and laughed at us all while publicly declaring we didn’t torture; send them all to Gitmo, then transfer to them to the Hague to be tried for the war criminals they all are. While we’re at it, send limpbaugh, hannity and coulter to be waterboarded since they think it’s okay.

  3. AustinRanter

    So most who have posted agree that we have a lying, conniving, self-will-run-riot government.

    Our government has been all of the above for decades.

    From an unknown author: “When I always do what I’ve always done, then I’ll always get what I’ve always gotten.”

    The American people have lost the will to challenge our self-will-run-riot government.

    When all hurts enough and long enough will “We The People” stand up and say…”No More”..????

  4. barak

    What???? One of our elected Congressional Representatives is Lying?

    So, what’s unusual about that?

    Why is everyone getting so vocal about the fact that Pelozi is lying. It ain’t the first time and I’d bet my bottom RMB that it won’t be the last.

    Obama? Lying? Ohhhhhhhhh, I feel faint. The President is lying. Alas, Macbeth hath murdered sleep.

    The CIA lying? Oh, come on. Do you really believe that an organization devoted to clandestine and covert and secret acts to subvert and overthrow governments would lie?

    I do. I believe that every one of them is lying, just as Clarence Thomas, that esteemed justice of the Supreme Court of last resort lied when confronted with that woman, Anita Bryant Hill.

    Hell, Washington is such a cesspool of filth and degredation, of duplicity and false innuendo, a bastion united against the very people who supported and elected them, that there is nothing too low or underhanded which these false representatives will not do to line their pockets. Did Nancy ever get her private jet, by the by?

    Thank whatever G-d you believe in that there are some stellar gentlemen like Henry Waxman who still hold the torch of liberty, eqality, and fraternity high enough that the flame of hope burns hot in every patriot’s breast.

    Even if, like moi, they happen to be on the TWL courtesy of the Bush/Cheney assault on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.