A fascinating development today when Leon Panetta, the new CIA chief, called out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
He told demoralized CIA employees in a memo today (leaked to the press) that Pelosi was briefed on so-called torture techniques, and everyone on the Hill knows it.
"..Nancy Pelosi is softening a bit after the Leon Panetta smackdown.
In a statement just released by her office, Pelosi is blaming the Bush administration's interrogation policies and says she did not mean to question the integrity of the hard working spies in the intelligence community.
Here's Pelosi's statement:
"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."
ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich today offered a blistering critique of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s handling of oversight on harsh interrogation tactics, in a major escalation of partisan attacks being aimed at Pelosi.
In an interview with ABC News Radio’s Marcus Wilson, Gingrich, R-Ga., said Pelosi, D-Calif., “has lied to the House” in claiming that she was never briefed by the CIA about the Bush administration’s use of waterboarding and other harsh tactics.
"I think she has lied to the House, and I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her. And I think this is a big deal. I don't think the Speaker of the House can lie to the country on national security matters,” Gingrich said.
He continued: "I think this is the most despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort I've seen in my lifetime."
"She is a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowist of purposes, and she dishonors the Congress by her behavior."
"Speaker Pelosi's the big loser, because she either comes across as incompetent, or dishonest. Those are the only two defenses,” Gingrich said. “The fact is she either didn't do her job, or she did do her job and she's now afraid to tell the truth.”