House Minority Leader John Boehner put Speaker Nancy Pelosi on notice Tuesday that she has to answer for her claims that the CIA lied about her briefings on harsh interrogation.
As Pelosi arrived back on Capitol Hill fresh off a trip to China, the Ohio Republican told reporters that the GOP intends to keep the pressure on Pelosi, who has denied being told the Bush administration was using harsh tactics such as waterboarding on terrorist masterminds like Abu Zubayda.
"My colleagues and I are prepared to continue to press this issue until it is resolved," Boehner said, according to reports by Roll Call and Fox News. "It's as simple as that. It's not about anything other than the fact that the speaker made this outrageous statement."
"Ten days ago, Speaker Pelosi not only refused to back up her accusations against her intelligence professionals, but she actually stood by her comments that they repeatedly lied to her," he said. " Now, the speaker gets regular briefings from our intelligence professionals today. Does she still believe they are lying to her?"
Added Michigan Republican Pete Hoekstra, one of the leading House experts on intelligence matters: “Given the damage to morale at the CIA following Speaker Pelosi´s still unsubstantiated claim, Republican leader John Boehner rightly called on the speaker to provide evidence for her claim -- a federal offense should it be true -- or apologize to the hard-working men and women of the agency primarily tasked with keeping our nation safe in the days and years after 9/11.”
In a letter published on the American Chronicle Hoekstra wrote that the much-embattled CIA deserves to defend itself. A loss in morale among our nation’s spies could open the nation up to the same vulnerabilities it suffered prior to 9/11.
“Beyond a doubt, we would want to know, understand and put mechanisms in place to prevent the agency from wantonly lying to Congress if Speaker Pelosi has proof,” Hoekstra wrote. “Yet no prominent Democrats have called for further inquiry into the speaker´s accusation, and everyone at the White House from the president to his spokesman is refusing to discuss the matter.”
Despite a subsequent rebuttal from CIA Director Leon Panetta, Pelosi has continued to insist that she was never told that harsh interrogations were actually taking place. She says that officials only told her they were a possibility.
Boehner said that accusing our nation’s premiere anti-terrorist experts of lying to damage her reputation is simply unacceptable.
"Either offer proof that our intelligence professionals lied to her or she should retract that statement and offer an apology. And to date she's done neither. She's done nothing to address the damage that she's left by her unsupported accusations," he said.
Boehner and other Republicans did not reveal what measures they may use to push Pelosi. But he insisted ominously: “all options are on the table.”
House Republicans attempted to pass a resolution that would have created a subcommittee on the House Intelligence panel to review Pelosi’s allegations that the CIA deliberately misled Congress during President George W. Bush’s first term. The proposal was defeated by a 172-252 vote on May 21, according to the Hill.
"This is a matter that is serious and requires a bi-partisan organization to get the facts," Boehner said, later telling MSNBC: "I am disappointed House Democrats continue to stonewall this investigation and my hope is that the Speaker will step up and bring this issue to rest once and for all."
It’s unclear, though, what Republicans can do with their small numbers to further press Pelosi. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer , D-MD, took offense to the GOP's resolution on the floor to investigate Pelosi after the May 21 vote. He said it was a "Republican tactic to distract the public from focusing on what was done what the justification for doing it (harsh interrogation) was."
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