Pelosi mute on accusation against CIA

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Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, said today she will say nothing further about her allegation that the CIA lied in 2002 about its use of waterboarding on terror suspects.

“I have made the statement that I’m going to make on this,” she told reporters at a news conference. “I don’t have anything more to say about it. I stand by my comment.” Republicans, however, are not staying quiet about the issue.

Ken Spain, spokesman for the national Republican congressional committee, issued a statement after the news conference that called Pelosi a political liability to the Democratic party.

“Her obsession with the previous administration and her disdain for America’s intelligence officials has reduced her to cheerleader status within the far left wing of her party and a distraction to the substantive debate over how to best move our economy forward,” Spain said.

Pelosi told reporters this month that she had not been told that waterboarding had been used against terror suspects, even though it had been. When asked whether she was accusing the CIA of lying to her, she said “yes”.

Pelosi has asked the CIA to declassify information that supports her claims. The CIA sent politicians a record of its notes and memos on 40 congressional briefings about interrogation techniques. The document has been found to include several errors, leaving in question exactly what Pelosi was told.

The Republicans, the minority party in both the House and the Senate, have seized on her accusation that the CIA misled Congress, contending that the California Democrat’s remarks have demoralised the intelligence community. House Republicans yesterday demanded that a bipartisan panel investigate her allegations.

“To have this charge out there and not have it resolved I think is damaging to our intelligence efforts and certainly will have a chilling effect on our intelligence professionals around the world,” House Republican leader John Boehner said.

Democrats beat back the proposal, calling it a political ploy. Republicans Ron Paul of Texas and Walter Jones of North Carolina joined Democrats in a 252-172 vote to block the resolution.

Upon leaving the news conference today, Pelosi would not answer a questioner asking whether she had called Leon Panetta, the CIA director, to discuss the matter.

Instead, Pelosi had stuck faithfully to her script, saying that Democrats were making progress on other issues.

“We’re going forward in a bipartisan way for jobs, healthcare, energy for our country,” she said. Regarding the CIA’s briefing of Congress on waterboarding, “I won’t have anything more to say about it.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/22/nancy-pelosi-cia-waterboarding

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