Best of 2009: Seven Members of Congress Say Panetta Testified That CIA Misled Congress
All day, we’re re-running our favorite blog posts of the last year. This post was originally published on July 8, 2009.
Remember how CIA Director Leon Panetta said in May that members of the House Intelligence Committee “will have to determine” whether the CIA accurately and appropriately briefed Congress about the agency’s “enhanced interrogation program”? It appears that Panetta reached a conclusion himself.
On June 26, seven Democrats on the committee — Anna Eshoo (Calif.), John Tierney (Mass.), Rush Holt (N.J.), Mike Thompson (Calif.), Alcee Hastings (Fla.) and Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) [Update: I received an early version of the letter. Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.) also signed it] — wrote to Panetta, “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.” The letter — which doesn’t explain what those “significant actions” concerned* — asks that Panetta “publicly correct” his May 15 statement that it isn’t CIA “policy or practice to mislead Congress.” TWI acquired a copy of the letter, which comes after CQ reported that committee chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) also nebulously stated that CIA “affirmatively lied” to the committee.
But CIA spokesman George Little says it’s “completely wrong” to say Panetta determined CIA misled Congress, as the six legislators charge. “Director Panetta stands by his May 15 statement,” Little said. “It is not the policy or practice of the CIA to mislead Congress. This Agency and this Director believe it is vital to keep the Congress fully and currently informed. Director Panetta’s actions back that up. As the letter from these six representatives notes, it was the CIA itself that took the initiative to notify the oversight committees.”
Little continued: “As for the Congress, as the Speaker has said, ‘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.’”
Here’s the full letter:
Late Update*: HuffPost’s Sam Stein nails down that these, uh, “significant actions” are indeed torture-related.