CIA Director Leon Panetta just sent a stern message to his employees defending the agency against Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s criticisms.
His message: We didn’t mislead Congress; stay focused on your job.
Panetta’s note was sent to reporters via the CIA press office. Here’s the key graph:
“Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing “the enhanced techniques that had been employed.” Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened.”
We are an Agency of high integrity, professionalism, and dedication. Our task is to tell it like it is—even if that’s not what people always want to hear. Keep it up. Our national security depends on it.
If you read the CIA’s careful, ten-page summary of the 40 briefings it has given to Congress since 2002 on “enhanced interrogation techniques,” it’s pretty hard not to conclude that Pelosi is shading the truth to retrospectively cover her backside. “Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah… and a description of the particular EITs that had been used,” reads the entry for the Sept. 4, 2002 briefing for Pelosi and her House Republican counterpart, Porter Goss. Those EITs included waterboarding, whose use Pelosi has repeatedly claimed she wasn’t briefed on.
Congressional Democrats are acting as if there is something sinister in the CIA releasing the records of its briefings (see, for example, Politico’s May 12 post “Democrats: CIA is out to get us”). But the deal with congressional oversight is that if members of Congress are briefed on a subject and don’t object, they shouldn’t trash the agency later in public when there’s a flap. That undermines not just CIA morale, but the integrity of the oversight process itself.
If you can, CSpan has the full video of Pelosi’s embarrassing press conference yesterday. She couldn’t even keep her story straight without having to check her notes.
You can watch here, via Allahpundit. Pay particular attention to the 5:30 to 9:30 segment:
Pelosi is clearly lying. She even starts by saying, “I am equivocally opposed” to torture.