Source: Washington PostCIA Chief Rebuts Pelosi's Charges
By Perry Bacon Jr. and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, May 16, 2009
CIA Director Leon Panetta yesterday rejected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's charge that the agency misled her about its use of coercive interrogation methods, escalating a controversy that has dogged the speaker for weeks and intensifying a debate over Bush administration policies that the Obama administration has tried to avoid.
Panetta, whom President Obama tapped to lead the CIA this year, reasserted the agency's claim that it told congressional leaders about the use of such methods during a closed-door briefing in September 2002. Pelosi (D-Calif.) has acknowledged attending the briefing but says she was told only that the CIA was considering the use of waterboarding, a technique that simulates drowning.
"It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress," Panetta said in a message meant to shore up employees of his agency, which is at the center of a relentless political firestorm over Bush policies and the Iraq war. "Our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of [terrorism suspect] Abu Zubaida, describing the 'enhanced techniques that had been employed.' "
CIA Director Panetta is a former Democratic congressman from California appointed by Mr. Obama to head the spy agency. It seems strange to me that Panetta would publicly contradict Pelosi - the most powerful Democrat in Congress - without being damn sure his rebuttal was indeed the truth.
Dollars to donuts the Sunday morning political talk shows have no shortage of Democratic Senators and Congressmen covering Pelosi's political backside.