GOP Wants Investigation into Pelosi CIA Claims
May 21, 2009 - 1:54 PMHouse Republican Leader John Boehner on Thursday demanded that a bipartisan congressional panel investigate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claims that the CIA misled her in 2002 about whether waterboarding had been used against a terrorism suspect.
"We have no choice," Boehner told reporters, arguing that Pelosi's remarks were having a chilling effect on the intelligence community.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, introduced a resolution on Boehner's behalf calling for the probe.
Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami called the move a partisan ploy.
"This is partisan politics and an attempt by the Republicans to distract from the real issue of creating jobs and making progress on health care, energy and education," he said.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney waded into the debate. In a speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, he said Pelosi and other lawmakers had been briefed on the interrogation techniques on "numerous occasions."
"In my long experience in Washington, few matters have inspired so much contrived indignation and phony moralizing as the interrogation methods applied to a few captured terrorists," Cheney said.
Pelosi told reporters this month that she had not been told that waterboarding had been used, even though it had been. She and other members had been briefed on harsh interrogation techniques being used by the CIA.
At the time of the briefings, the CIA had been waterboarding, which is a form of simulated drowning. President Barack Obama has called the method torture.
Boehner said Pelosi's accusation is a "very serious charge."
Pelosi has already said that the evidence should be declassified. The CIA has sent lawmakers its notes and memos on 40 congressional briefings on the interrogation techniques. But that document has been found to include several errors.
CIA Director Leon Panetta acknowledged in a May 6 letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, that the CIA's list may not be completely accurate.
"In the end, you and the committee will have to determine whether this information is an accurate summary of what actually happened," Panetta wrote.
Democrats also are pointing out that Republicans too have accused the CIA of misleading them on intelligence matters. Boehner himself called into question the soundness of the intelligence community when it determined in 2007 that Tehran had halted its nuclear weapons program.
Boehner told reporters on Thursday that it was an unfair comparison because he never accused the men and women of the intelligence community of misleading Congress.
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