House Democrats block Republican call for probe of Pelosi

May 21, 2009


                                      There was polBRITAIN/itical theater, drama, but no surprise ending on Thursday on a topic involving spies, torture and truth in the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives.

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)


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What happened to the Democrat’s lofty ideals of transparency in government? This thing reeks of a gross cover up by the democrats. Pelosi’s “performance” last week would be laughable if it were not so insidious.

Posted by hp | Report as abusive

It just proves she is lying, otherwise why would the democrats stop an investigation? If she has nothing to hide why hide behind a house vote to stop the investigation? it’s alright, most of the voters know what her and her cohorts are by now. One thing they cannot say now is how non- partisan they are. Almost all of them are hiding something they don’t want out. They will get theirs sooner or later. You can’t hide the truth forever. Their day is coming. The truth will slap them up the side of the head one of these days. Election 2010 is just ahead. We don’t forget.

Posted by m morris | Report as abusive

Personally, I would like to see an investigation of the whole torture scenario: Republicans and Democrats alike and let the chips fall where they may. Considering the demagoguery I am hearing on both sides of the aisle, it should be done by an apolitical commission or the Justice Dept. To investigate one person (especially one who had limited power at the time) for what they knew, when, seems like a total waste of money and a political witch hunt. If we are going to investigate, let’s look at the decision makers, people who misled and/or lied to the public, and people who broke the law. The most important aspect to me is that nothing like this EVER happens again!

Posted by mary878 | Report as abusive

I find this statement utterly rediculous:

“The Republicans … have been focused on the politics of personal destruction,” House Democratic leader House Steny Hoyer said afterward.

This whole thing started because the Democrats wanted to trash the reputations of the people in the Bush administration, namely Cheney and Rove. They even mentioned possible jail time. All Republicans knew this would turn out to be a witch hunt, so they told the poblic that Congress knew and approved of the measures.

Then Nancy Pelosi steps up and lies. And then she admits that she lied, without apologizing and blamed the CIA. When the CIA called her to the carpet, we haven’t heard from her.

And people forget this isn’t the first time. Back in September 2008 after the summer recess, she and Harry Reid came out and said they would lift the bans on offshore drilling. What did she do. She lengthen the time in the stimulus bill.

Do we really want a Speaker of the House, 2nd in line to the Presidency who is an unapologetic liar, who points the finger at everyone else to deflect criticism, who heads the House of Representatives remain in the position? Have we really forgotten our values? I hope we haven’t sunk this low.

Posted by djaymick | Report as abusive

One must assume Nancy Pelosi is a liar about her knowledge of waterboarding unless she allows an investigation into the facts. Its a sad state of affairs when people in power abuse their office. Nancy should step down and restore the integrity of the office she represents.

Posted by Raymond Fischer | Report as abusive

I agree with you mary878. I really hope another 9/11 never happens again.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Where was all this concern over who to blame (from BOTH sides of the aisle) when (once again) our intel community was bullied into producing “intelligence” that suited the agenda of the current oval office occupant?

Eisenhower warned (and had to fight McCarthyism under the table)…we quote him, but ignore the message.

The “complex” was only half of the problem. A president from ANY party willing to use the trust of his office is the other half.

And just like during the McCarthy hearings, we’ve been through (and are still partly in) a time where just voicing an opinion against gets you a scarlet letter on the forehead.

I remember taking an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not a party, church or president. Our “leaders” from BOTH parties need to get over themselves and remember that they’re playing serious games with the future of our nation.

Posted by Brian Foulkrod | Report as abusive

It sure is a sad state of affairs when people in power abuse their office. People like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, and on and on. THEY are the culpable ones.

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

Give Pelosi a break – under her leadership the House has and continues to accomplish more in the few months since President Obama was elected, addressing a wide range of critical problems facing America — compare that to the obstructionist Republicans, who when power, could only accomplish a decade of mismanagement, problem-inflation, and pushed agenda of misguided priorities.

So let’s tell it straight, the Bush administration: Bush (W), Cheney, and Rove almost destroyed this country during the 8 years in power. They violated domestic and international laws, and though Cheney’s paranoid world view took America into two unfounded wars, with human and economic costs that are still unfolding. This gang political thugs destabilized American and allied global interests – and all the while terror targets ran free and strengthened their base.

The truth: Cheney is war criminal, and Rove a political criminal. For some, Bush is too incompetent to be accused, but there is no excuse bad leadership, especially in Presidency. The Bush gang should jailed and tried for crimes against America. It was on their watch America was attacked, lost its constitutional way, let lobbyists run key government agencies and the public interest into the ground, lied its way to war, and let the opportunity for peace and prosperity be squandered at the expense of “all” Americans.

Posted by CleanTech | Report as abusive

So let’s tell it straight: democrats are antiAmerican.

“Rove a political criminal”…..thought crimes?

One thing to remember….democrats started the last civil war too.

Posted by George Dixon | Report as abusive

Wait a minute. The congressional Dems are blocking this probe? What?!! The party that wants “truth commissions”, full disclosure, transparancy, telling truth to power? Those guys are blocking the probe?!!

Oh, wait. I think I’ve got it. They want all the aforementioned things when it will put their political opponents in a fix. But they do NOT want them if it will make the Democrats look bad.

Posted by JohnR | Report as abusive

If it was the Republicans…….there would be hell to pay.

Posted by TheEnforcer | Report as abusive

Pelosi thought they meant surf boarding.

Silly Nancy.

Posted by TheEnforcer | Report as abusive

Unfortunately, the investigation that the Republicans wanted was only of what Nancy Pelosi was briefed on. Why should they care? She wasn’t even the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee in 2002 when the briefing took place. Instead, why aren’t they proposing an investigation into the Bush administration which employed these torture interrogation methods before even getting a legal opinion and then apparently was able to coax a few lawyers in the Justice Dept to say they weren’t torture? Is it only reasonable to conclude that perhaps the CIA briefing for the Democrats was different than the briefing for the Republicans? And that perhaps the CIA records weren’t accurate? Afterall, former Senator Bob Graham (FL) says he wasn’t in attendance at several of the meetings the CIA says he attended. But the real question should be: Why, when Rep Jane Harmon, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, wrote a letter protesting the torture methods, a response was “it is legal”??? Why was there not an investigation by both parties as to the legality of the torture methods?
What Nancy Pelosi knew and when she knew it is immaterial. What Dick Cheney or George W. Bush ordered and who followed through on his orders is material. And, it appears Judge Bybee was promised a Federal bench position for his letter in support of the torture.
Why doesn’t that matter to people- both Democrats and Republicans?

Posted by Gorgegirl | Report as abusive

Open, honest, transparent, ethical. Words that will not describe the US Congress and words never studied by its leadership.

Posted by libertyville | Report as abusive

The fake Republican outrage over Nancy Pelosi’s that CIA briefers directly misled Congress, has been amusing to watch. The CIA has a rich history of lying to Congress, and they all know it. The Agency’s lies to Congress did not begin in the post-9/11 period, but they certainly reached a high-point during that period which the GOP has now chosen for their fully-politicized, hoped-for distraction, in targeting the current Democratic Speaker of the House.

The GOP hypocrisy in charging that Pelosi has somehow hurt the morale of The Agency, and that Obama’s release of the Bush Torture Memos has endangered CIA operatives, has been all the more amusing to witness, in their complete and entire selective amnesia of their party’s own 100%, unqualified support of a White House which, for the first time in the history of this nation, had publicly revealed the identity of a covert CIA operative. In unapologetically exposing Valerie Plame, and completely destroying her entire, crucial network monitoring the trafficking of WMD in the Middle East along with it, untold damage was brought not only to CIA operatives risking their lives in the defense of this nation, but also to the national security of the nation itself, which was significantly blinded in the Middle East — and on the issue of WMDs, of all things — at a time when we were theoretically going to war there, over that very issue.

Yet, the Republicans choose to side with the criminals in treason, over the “morale” or “effectiveness” of The Agency in their shortsighted and inexcusable politicization of the matter. It doesn’t get much more absurd than all of that. Unless you add to it the Democrats complete incapacity to take on and tear down the opportunistic Republicans on their ridiculous, phony defense of the CIA.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

getplaning. Here is the point you always miss on your way to demonizing republicans with tenuous assertions.

Pelosi better watch her step if they wants a so called “truth commission”. Her hands are as dirty (by her public actions) as the rest of them. If she wants to pursue this, then so be it. But she will be further exposed for the lies she has told recently. It’s hard to know what her story is, because she keeps changing it.

That is as simple as it gets. But those who are accused will fight fire with fire. And many of them are your democrat party friends.

However, I like what is going on. It keeps Obama and congress occupied which will hopefully minimize the “big government” plans they want to force on the rest of us. They opened the can of worms, now they have to live with the consequences.

On a side note, Obama made a huge mistake with Guantanamo and is now reimplementing Bush era policies. But it doesn’t stop there. There are a lot of Bush policies quietly being held or reimplemented now that it shows he was right to do so.

That what he gets for being a big mouth about the “failed” Bush years. But I know it won’t matter to you, you are a democrat party apologist.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

TC-That the CIA regularly lies to Congress is a well documented fact, not a tenuous assertion. That conservatives lined up behind the White House to defend the sacrifice of CIA front operation Brewster-Jennings for political payback is a fact, not a tenuous assertion. It was, as you like to say, “politics as usual.”

On a side note, on the subject of closing Guantanamo, Obama’s only mistake was promising to close Guantanamo sooner than it can realistically be accomplished.

But what must be driving the Limbaugh listeners absolutely nuts is, we now have a situation in which Obama’s position — the one the right thinks is dangerous, naive, and terrorist-friendly — has been endorsed by Bush’s Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, Bush’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, Bush’s Secretary of State, General Colin Powell, and Bush’s head U.S. Central Command, General David Petraeus.

Didn’t conservatives say that you can never go against the military or you hate the troops?

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

getplaning. One thing you miss and I stated this in another post is that the United States does not give away secrets that would hurt the United States and its citizens. You call the CIA liars. Well to many Americans they are doing a dangerous job protecting all of us. To give any information publicly to congress which will immediately become public knowledge endangers the people they are trying to protect.

So, you can turn a “lie” into a negative, but when it comes to the CIA, it saves lives. So, your assertion is indeed tenuous because it only gives one side of the story. You always tell a half truth which, in and of itself is a lie.

In addition Gates, Mullen and Petraus now work for Obama. He is the president the the commander in chief. They are being good soldiers and no one should expect them to publicly fight the president. They were good solders working for Bush, so at least they are consistent by doing their jobs for the president. As for Powell, he endorsed Obama, so there is no suprise there he supports him now. Your point once again is tenuous at best because it only tells half the truth.

I don’t think the 20 million plus Limbaugh listeners care one way or the other about the people who now work for Obama. You would like to think they do, but they don’t. If Limbaugh wasn’t a force to be reckoned with, the liberals would leave him alone. But they don’t, because he a threat to their tenuous and fragile existence. The liberal left will not be in power for long, but they can do a lot of damage in the meantime.

So yes, your assertions are tenuous half truths.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

“To give any information publicly to congress which will immediately become public knowledge endangers the people they are trying to protect.”

Thanks, TC. You just vindicated Nancy Pelosi.

“but when it comes to the CIA, it saves lives. So, your assertion is indeed tenuous because it only gives one side of the story.”

The one side of the story that matters is the Senate Intelligence Committee report which states that the Enhanced Interrogation Program did not stop any attacks, did not save any lives, and put Americans around the world, including those in the armed forces, in more, not less, danger. Fact, not tenuous half truth.

Your point on “good soldiers” is taken, however, the half truth comes from the side that questions the patriotism of their opposition, not those who question the wisdom of certain policies.

As to the 20 million ditto-bots out there, well, they must care, why else would they spend four hours a day listening to Rush, followed by four hours of Sean?

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

getplaning. No it does not vindicate Nancy Pelosi. Nancy lied and then lied again until finally her advisors told her to make no more comments. She is just a plain old fashioned liar. In addition, don’t even try to equate her to the CIA which really does saves lives, even yours. It is quite amazing how you conjure up the evils of republicans while always defending anything democrat. But you know by now that is a senseless story. The problems we face are not democrat or republican because they are all guilty of our downfall.

The senate intelligence committee is part of congress right? Well, that is the problem. It isn’t as though they are into objective reporting. They are out to demonize the republicans so they can remain in power. I wouldn’t bet my life they are reporting facts. Since you are into half truths, I would be willing to bet that’s the bottom line with their report too. I know, it goes both ways, so save the the evils of republicans because it misses the point (there are enough evil democrats to level the playing field).

As for the 20 million plus Rush, Hannity and so on listeners. Again, a tenuous assertion…no you are just an angry liberal. You act as though the vast numbers of listeners just tuned in to Rush and all. He has been on the air for 20 or so years and his audience never falters, only grows. But the tenuous assertion is that you they only just recently got on board with them. I really think you are grasping for straws because but you keep getting it wrong…not only that, you just don’t get it. The majority in this country hold conservative values, not liberal progressive values.

Air America can only wish they had a 10th of the listeners like conservative talk radio does. It never will…

Posted by TC | Report as abusive