Pelosi hits bottom - keeps digging

Rick Moran
CIA Director Leon Panetta was left with no choice. Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called his employees liars and criminals which forced the former Clinton chief of staff to take sides - something he no doubt was reluctant to do but had to for the good of the agency he is responsible for leading.

And no doubt, President Obama is wishing right about now that he didn't selectively leak those documents which began this tit for tat with first, GOP members of Congress and now the CIA itself.

Guess who's going to win that one.

Glenn Thrush at Politico has Panetta's pointed response to Pelosi, contained in a letter sent to all CIA employees:

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."

In some ways, Panetta is doing what any executive would do: He's protecting his people and trying to boost morale for an agency that's under fire. But the political message is much stronger, as you have the a serious rift now between the most powerful congressional Democrat and one of the top officials in the Obama administration.

Taking this one step further, the war is between Pelosi and Obama himself. The president quite stupidly riled the CIA with the release of the interrogation memos and his now rescinded promise to release photos of torture by Americans. The agency fought back by releasing information that showed Democrats were briefed on the techniques and said nothing.

Pelosi must have thought, "In for a penny, in for a pound," and ratcheted up the controversey. She has now been made to look ridiculous and a shameless liar to boot.

Late yesterday, Pelosi released a statement that is bound to further muddy the waters. She says that she wasn't calling the CIA liars (at her press conference, in response to the question, "Do you think the CIA lied to Congress?" her response was affirmative), but rather the evil Bush administration!

"We all share great respect for the dedicated men and women of the intelligence community who are deeply committed to the safety and security of the American people. My criticism of the manner in which the Bush Administration did not appropriately inform Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe. What is important now is to be united in our commitment to ensuring the security of our country; that, and how Congress exercises its oversight responsibilities, will continue to be my focus as we move forward."

Watch the fireworks on the Sunday shows. The press is going to flog this story for the simple reason it's so juicy. The speaker is hip deep in her own bullcrap and trying to extricate herself without losing her credibility will be entertaining to watch.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky




CIA Director Leon Panetta was left with no choice. Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called his employees liars and criminals which forced the former Clinton chief of staff to take sides - something he no doubt was reluctant to do but had to for the good of the agency he is responsible for leading.

And no doubt, President Obama is wishing right about now that he didn't selectively leak those documents which began this tit for tat with first, GOP members of Congress and now the CIA itself.

Guess who's going to win that one.

Glenn Thrush at Politico has Panetta's pointed response to Pelosi, contained in a letter sent to all CIA employees:

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."

In some ways, Panetta is doing what any executive would do: He's protecting his people and trying to boost morale for an agency that's under fire. But the political message is much stronger, as you have the a serious rift now between the most powerful congressional Democrat and one of the top officials in the Obama administration.

Taking this one step further, the war is between Pelosi and Obama himself. The president quite stupidly riled the CIA with the release of the interrogation memos and his now rescinded promise to release photos of torture by Americans. The agency fought back by releasing information that showed Democrats were briefed on the techniques and said nothing.

Pelosi must have thought, "In for a penny, in for a pound," and ratcheted up the controversey. She has now been made to look ridiculous and a shameless liar to boot.

Late yesterday, Pelosi released a statement that is bound to further muddy the waters. She says that she wasn't calling the CIA liars (at her press conference, in response to the question, "Do you think the CIA lied to Congress?" her response was affirmative), but rather the evil Bush administration!

"We all share great respect for the dedicated men and women of the intelligence community who are deeply committed to the safety and security of the American people. My criticism of the manner in which the Bush Administration did not appropriately inform Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe. What is important now is to be united in our commitment to ensuring the security of our country; that, and how Congress exercises its oversight responsibilities, will continue to be my focus as we move forward."

Watch the fireworks on the Sunday shows. The press is going to flog this story for the simple reason it's so juicy. The speaker is hip deep in her own bullcrap and trying to extricate herself without losing her credibility will be entertaining to watch.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky