A lot of Republicans owe Pelosi an apology

In May a chorus of Republicans inside and outside Congress made hay out of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claim that the Central Intelligence Agency had not revealed its waterboarding policy during a 2002 briefing. Many demanded an investigation into the allegations. Minority leader John Boehner said of Pelosi,

"She made this claim and it's her responsibility to either put forward evidence that they did in fact lie to her, which would be a crime, or she needs to retract her statements and apologize."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was among the Republican talking heads who demanded Pelosi's resignation. According to Gingrich, Pelosi's assertion was "stunning" and "dishonest."

Representative Steve "10 Worst" King (IA-05) accused Pelosi of "actively undermining our national security" and called for suspending the speaker's security clearance:

Speaker Pelosi has accused the CIA of committing a federal crime - lying to Congress. The CIA and other American defense and intelligence agencies cannot trust Nancy Pelosi with our national secrets, let alone our national security, until this matter is resolved. If true, there has been a serious violation of federal law. If false, American national security requires a new Speaker of the House. The severity of Speaker Pelosi's accusations leaves no middle ground, and her security clearance should be suspended pending investigation.

Now we have learned that

The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency's director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday. [...]

Mr. Panetta, who ended the program when he first learned of its existence from subordinates on June 23, briefed the two intelligence committees about it in separate closed sessions the next day.

So not only was Congress misled, CIA staff did not even inform Panetta about the program until four months after he was sworn in. Charles Lemos is absolutely right that it's time for a special prosecutor to investigate this matter.

Republicans who trashed Pelosi in May and June owe her an apology, but like Rude Pundit, I'm not holding my breath. They've always been easygoing about Bush administration law-breaking while throwing fits about Democrats who criticized it.

Tags: abuse of power, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, Dick Cheney, John Boehner, Leon Panetta, lying to congress, Nancy Pelosi, newt gingrich, Steve King, torture, waterboarding (all tags)

Comments

11 Comments

Re: A lot of Republicans owe Pelosi an apology

  HELL will freeze over before a Repug ever apologizes to anyone other than RUSHBO!

by barkleyg 2009-07-12 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: A lot of Republicans owe Pelosi an apology

Color me confused, but the linked article you reference plainly states this secrect program had nothing to with interrogation techniques but rather counter-terrorism activities.  The only thing we know for certain is that the CIA withheld the existence of this one secret program from congress, illegally.  While this is extremely troublesome, we still don't know when Speaker Pelosi was informed about waterboarding.  The thing you should be writing about, I think, from this article, is how secret wiretapping hindered our counter-terrorism ability.  

by realtarheel 2009-07-12 10:53AM | 0 recs
Charles Lemos has covered that issue here

recently, making the point that the secret wiretapping was not helpful.

I've also written about that in the past (for example, here).

My point today is that all these Republicans were outraged that Pelosi would even suggest the CIA might commit the federal crime of lying to Congress. But now we know they have been lying to Congress.

by desmoinesdem 2009-07-12 11:42AM | 0 recs
Re: A lot of Republicans owe Pelosi an apology

Not informing the congress about a still unidentified program is not necessarily a case of misleading or lying as Nancy Pelosi claims..

This revelation as far as I can tell doesn't address the specific claims about waterboarding and CIA lying about it according to Nancy Pelosi , especially when Leon Panetta seems to be on the side of those who claimed she was briefed along with others.

The information does tip the scale a bit away from the CIA but not towards Nancy Pelosi especially in light of her multiple tortured explanation of the waterboarding story..

Her credibility would necessarily have to be higher than it is for her to be given the benefit of the doubt in this situation , considering the way politics seems to be more important on all sides on this issues and especially in her case.

by lori 2009-07-12 10:55AM | 0 recs
disagree

She should have the benefit of the doubt, because it's clear that the CIA was lying to Congress about at least one policy.

Panetta's subordinates didn't even inform him about whatever this program was until last month, so I am not convinced that in May he was in possession of all the facts about Pelosi's briefings in 2002.

by desmoinesdem 2009-07-12 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: disagree

No , its not clear the CIA was lying in this one instance . The NSA Act of 1947 leaves some opening for subjective judgement in terms of disclosing to the congress some cases of highly sensitive national security issues..So it isn't entirely clear cut..If the CIA knowingly briefed congress untruthfully then I would agree it is lying , in this case they just didn't inform anyone at all and I am sure they would come up with a law on the books justifying the actions..

I disagree Pelosi should be given the benefit of the doubt ..

by lori 2009-07-12 11:50AM | 0 recs
by lojasmo 2009-07-12 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: disagree

Of course you do.  All PUMAs hate Pelosi.  She's the only female politician upon whom no criticism is too excessive.

by Dreorg 2009-07-12 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: disagree

Why PUMA. Why not Republican? or their children the Blue Dogs?

by commentist 2009-07-12 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: A lot of Republicans owe Pelosi an apology

How repeatedly full of it do you have to prove yourself to be.  It's like a badge of honor for you.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/07/08/c ia.congress/index.html

by lojasmo 2009-07-12 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: A lot of Republicans owe Pelosi an apology

Silvestre Reyes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, made an unequivocal allegation on NPR Saturday that the CIA "deliberately lied" to his panel on at least one occasion.  When asked if he believed the CIA had in fact violated the NSA, his response was "In my opinion, numerous times."

Pelosi had to walk back her statement due to lack of evidence, but according to Reyes, that is no longer a problem.

by semiquaver 2009-07-12 10:17PM | 0 recs

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