House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday accused the CIA of misleading Congress about its use of enhanced interrogation techniques on terror detainees.
"Yes I am saying the CIA was misleading the Congress, and at the same time the (Bush) administration was misleading the Congress on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, to which I said that this intelligence doesn't support the imminent threat," Pelosi said at her weekly news conference.
"Every step of the way the administration was misleading the Congress and that is the issue and that's why we need a truth commission," she said.
Under a barrage of questioning, Pelosi adamantly insisted that she was not aware that waterboarding or other enhanced interrogation techniques were being used on terrorism suspects.
"I am telling you they told me they approved these and said they wanted to use them but said they were not using waterboarding," she said.
Growing increasingly frustrated throughout the briefing, Pelosi slowly started backing away from the podium as she tried to end the questioning. As she backed out, she continued to accuse the CIA of not telling Congress that dissenting opinions had been filed within the administration suggesting the methods were not lawful.
The CIA immediately disputed Pelosi's accusation, saying the documents describing the particular enhanced interrogation techniques that had been employed are accurate. CIA spokesman George Little noted that CIA Director Leon Panetta made available to the House Intelligence Committee memos from individuals who led the briefings with House members.
"The language in the chart -- 'a description of the particular EITs that had been employed' -- is true to the language in the agency's records," Little said. "The chart I'm referring to is, of course, the list of member briefings on enhanced interrogation techniques."
Republicans also questioned Pelosi's charge.
"It's hard for me to imagine anyone in our intelligence area would ever mislead a member of Congress," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said at his weekly news conference. "They come to the Hill to brief us because they're required to under the law. I don't know what motivation they would have to mislead anyone."
The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., told FOX News that Pelosi's accusation against the CIA is "not credible."
"I am afraid she has disremembered what she went through," he said. "We have had not only the records from the CIA but the contemporaries who were there with her had other views on it, so I am afraid that this is not a credible explanation."
Pelosi said she was briefed only once on the interrogation methods in September 2002. She acknowledged that her intelligence aide, Michael Sheehy, informed her about another briefing five months later in which Bush officials said waterboarding was being used on CIA terror detainee Abu Zubaydah.
Pelosi said she supported a letter drafted by Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee who also attended the briefing in February 2003, and sent to the Bush administration, raising concerns over the technique.
Pelosi's account has changed several times in recent weeks as she has sought to clarify what she did or didn't know about the interrogation methods that she is pushing to investigate.
Pelosi said last month that she was never told that the controversial interrogation methods were being used. But a national intelligence report later showed that she was briefed seven years ago on the tactics while she was on the House Intelligence Committee.
Her spokesman then said the speaker thought the techniques were legal and that waterboarding was not used.
Democrats will hold a series of hearings on Justice Department memos released last month that justified rough tactics against detainees, including waterboarding and sleep deprivation.
While Democrats want the hearings to focus on what they call torture, Republicans have tried to turn the issue to their advantage by complaining that Pelosi and other Democrats knew of the tactics but didn't protest.