Some of the very people attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for saying the CIA lied to her have themselves accused the CIA of lying when the agency's reports didn't conform to their agenda. John Boehner, for example, the House Minority Leader, is just shockedthat the CIA would lie to a member of Congress, saying:
"I've dealt with our intelligence professionals for the last three-and-a-half years on an almost daily basis, and it's hard for me to imagine that our intelligence area would ever mislead a member of Congress."
But when the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate was released Boehner was singing a different tune...
"Either I don't have confidence in what they told me several months ago or I don't have confidence in what they're telling me today."
A lie to Nancy Pelosi would not be the first time the Agency displayed a lack of familiarity with the truth. In 2004, the CIA had do admit it "did not provide the United Nations with information about 21 of the 105 sites in Iraq singled out by American intelligence before the war as the most highly suspected of housing illicit weapons."
And in 2008, another Republican critical of Pelosi, Pete Hoekstra, the ranking member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, called for a criminal investigation of the CIA. Hoekstra questioned whether the agency told Congress the truth about the 2001 shoot-down of an American missionary plane by the Peruvian air force, aided by a CIA counter-narcotics spotter plane.
And Republican Senator Kid Bond of Missouri said, ""That's really unfortunate to trash our intelligence community as she's done." Pelosi accuses the CIA of lying and Washington explodes.
Where was the outrage when Republicans did it? Bond acts outraged that a member of Congress would accuse the CIA of lying, in spite of its history of doing so to members of his own party!
What's really happening here is that Nancy Pelosi is being used as a whipping post for Republicans to claim they have the high ground on Iraq and on torture. They think Democrats have to stop talking because Pelosi has stood up to the CIA. If they can make Pelosi the issue rather than their own malfeasance and support of Bush Co.'s torture policy, the onus is off them, or so they reason. But since Bush Co. kept redefining torture to say it wasn't torture, why is Pelosi culpable for actually listening to them and giving them the benefit of the doubt?
Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has seen the memos that former Vice President Cheney -- sudden possessed by a desire for governmental transparency -- wants released. Feingold says:
"I can tell you that nothing I have seen, including the two documents to which former Vice President Cheney has repeatedly referred, indicates that the torture techniques authorized by the last administration were necessary, or that they were the best way to get information out of detainees. So, clearly, the former vice president is misleading the American people when he says otherwise."
"When this issue started to resurface I called the appropriate people in the agency and said I would like to know the dates from your records that briefings were held," Graham recalled. "And they contacted me and gave me four dates -- two in April '02 and two in September '02. Now, one of the things I do, and for which I have taken some flack, is keep a spiral notebook of what I do throughout the day. And so I went through my records and through a combination of my daily schedule, which I keep, and my notebooks, I confirmed and the CIA agreed that my notes were accurate; that three of those four dates there had been no briefing. There was only one day that I had been briefed, which was September the 27th of 2002."
And what's "suspect", says Graham, is that the series of events in September 2002 were at the time of the National Intelligence Estimate, a key factor that led Graham to vote against the war in Iraq.
Also coming forward to dispute CIA timelines isWisconsin Congressman David Obey, head of the House Appropriations Committee. Obey disputes CIA records that show that one of his aides attended a September 19, 2006 briefing that discussed interrogation techniques. The aide, Paul Juola, accompanied members of Congress to the briefing room, but was kept out -- told he could not attend by then-CIA Director Michael Hayden.
Most important to note is that it has now been reported thatCIA Director Leon Panettahas acknowledged that its records may not be accurate. In a May 6 letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes detailing 40 congressional briefings, Panetta says it's up to Reyes and his committee to determine if those details represent an accurate summary of what happened.
Speaker Pelosi is a convenient target for conservatives. But they fail to acknowledge their own CIA-bashing, and they hesitate to go after a respected former committee chairman like Senator Graham. This is all a diversion to avoid having to face a truth commission, which would shine a light on who was truly responsible for violating the law. As long as they can demonize the lady speaker from San Francisco they can avoid the light being shined on them. Or so they think.