Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says Speaker Nancy Pelosi should be suspended while the House investigates her "despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort" to obscure what she'd been told about controversial CIA interrogation techniques.
"I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her," Gingrich told ABC Radio Friday. "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."
Pelosi has drawn intense criticism since accusing CIA briefers of misleading her in 2002 in connection with the use of waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning.
In a statement last week, she repeated that she was not told that waterboarding had been used, even though it had been, and said an aide informed her of its use after other lawmakers had been briefed in 2003.
An unclassified chart released last month by the CIA describes a total of 40 briefings for lawmakers, including Pelosi, over a period of several years on enhanced interrogation techniques. The chart's indicate Pelosi was briefed as early as Sept. 4, 2002, when she was the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Gingrich pulled no punches, saying flat out Pelosi "lied to the House" when she claimed that the CIA never briefed her about the harsh interrogation methods.
In an interview with radio host Sean Hannity, Gingrich said: "Someone needs to presently draft a privilege resolution suspending her as Speaker, and calling for an investigation by a select committee. She needs to be suspended from the speakership pending the report of that committee. What she has done is not tolerable.
"She needs to literally step aside during the period in which they're looking at this."
"She is a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes, and she dishonors the
Congress by her behavior," Gingrich said. "Speaker Pelosi's the big loser, because she either comes across as incompetent or dishonest. Those are the only two defenses.
"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."
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