Despite the outrage expressed by certain members and former Bush officials over allegations that the CIA may have lied about prior briefings with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, members revealed this week that the CIA has admitted to members that it did indeed repeatedly mislead members in reports since 2001. However, CIA Director Leon Panetta stands by the earlier denial of misrepresentations linked to Pelosi.
The disclosure of the admission came in a letter published on the Web site of Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California. The letter to Panetta notes: “Recently you testified that you have determined that top CIA officials have concealed significant actions from all members of Congress, and misled members for a number of years from 2001 to this week.” It is signed by Eshoo and six other House Democrats — Reps. John Tierney of Massachusetts, Mike Thompson of California, Rush Holt of New Jersey, Alcee Hastings of Florida, Adam Smith of Washington and Janice Schakowsky of Illinois.
If true, it is remarkable that no other members — particularly any Republicans — have spoken out on the matter. Misleading members is a nice way of saying that the CIA lied to members or gave it false information — a federal crime. One would think that any member on the oversight committees would demand accountability for such acts. This is another example of how laughable intelligence oversight has become in this country. Indeed, if it were not for the embarrassment of Pelosi, it seems unlikely that this would have ever been made public.
Indeed, the letter references the Pelosi controversy and asks Panetta to correct his May 15 statement “in light of your testimony.” His May 15th statement directly related to Pelosi.
This is what passes for oversight in Congress. There is evidence of criminal acts committed by intelligence agencies related to torture, unlawful surveillance, and false information. Yet, the committee only becomes aggressive when the Speaker is embarrassed by a prior briefing controversy.
You will also note that the members do not appear particularly bothered by the war crimes discussed in the Pelosi briefing or insistent on the investigation of such crimes. It is only the possibility that Pelosi might be vindicated that is the focus of this effort.
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