House Democrats block Republican call for probe of Pelosi
Republicans again ripped into Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing the CIA of misleading Congress — and her fellow Democrats quickly blocked their bid for a bipartisan probe into her truthfulness. The vote was 252-172.
“The Republicans … have been focused on the politics of personal destruction,” House Democratic leader House Steny Hoyer said afterward.
Hoyer also accused Republicans of trying to divert attention from the Bush administration’s treatment of prisoners as well as Democratic efforts this year to revamp healthcare and move the nation toward energy independence.
Democrats rushed to Pelosi’s defense earlier this week, saying they believe her statement that the CIA did not inform her at a September 2002 briefing that it had used waterboarding, simulated drowning widely denounced as torture, during interrogations of suspected enemy combatants.
Prior to the House vote, Republican leader John Boehner, who has pounded Pelosi for saying the CIA had misled Congress, said, “Getting to the bottom of this quickly is important.”
“The speaker has made a very serious charge,” Boehner told reporters. He added it has had “a chilling effect on our U.S. intelligence officials around the world.”
Hoyer fired back by citing what he said were remarks by a number of Republicans, including Boehner, in recent years critical of the CIA. On Wednesday, Senator Arlen Specter, a former Republican who recently switched to Democrat, defended Pelosi — known as one of the most liberal Democrats in the House and a favorite target of conservative critics.
“The CIA has a very bad record when it comes to — I was about to say ‘candid;’ that’s too mild – to honesty,” Specter, a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told members of the American Law Institute.
REUTERS/Stephen Hird (House speaker Nancy Pelosi at No. 10 Downing Street after meeting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on May 12)