Republicans to Call for Formal Probe of Pelosi

Thursday, 21 May 2009 12:08 PM

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Republicans in the House of Representatives will call Thursday for a formal probe into Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's charges that the CIA misled her on alleged torture, an official said.

"House Republicans will call today for a bipartisan investigation of Speaker Pelosi with regards to allegations the CIA lied to her" about interrogations of suspected terrorists, a senior Republican aide said on condition of anonymity.

Republicans were expected to introduce a resolution to create a special four-member committee, drawn from members of the House Intelligence Committee, tasked with investigating Pelosi's charges and reporting back in 60 days.

The panel would comprise two Democrats and two Republicans and enjoy power to compel testimony and obtain documents in a quest to assess Pelosi's allegations last week that the CIA misled her and other top lawmakers about the use of techniques widely seen as torture.

The speaker, President Barack Obama's top ally in the House, has been under pressure from Republicans to substantiate her headline-grabbing charges against the Central Intelligence Agency.

Pelosi said last week that the CIA briefed her just once, in September 2002, on tactics such as the controlled drowning known as waterboarding, and then only told her that then-president George W. Bush's legal advisers had concluded it was legal and that it was not in use.

Pelosi noted that it was later revealed that the practice was already in use at the time, and that the CIA had only acknowledged that fact in a February 2003 briefing that one of her top staff attended.

At that point, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Jane Harman, wrote a letter of protest to the CIA's top lawyer -- a letter Pelosi says she agreed with, but did not sign. And Pelosi did not send a letter of her own.

The CIA has said its records into briefings for lawmakers in 2002 and 2003 show lawmakers were told that top suspected terrorists were questioned with techniques like waterboarding - but emphasized that those records may not be reliable.

Republicans have assailed Pelosi for daring to accuse the CIA of misleading lawmakers, saying she undermines national security - but several of her lead accusers have leveled similar charges over the past few years.

© 2009 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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