Rich Galen

On May 15, 2009 the best political analyst in the Washington press corps, Dan Balz of the Washington Post wrote a front pager about Nancy Pelosi's assertion that the CIA had lied to Congress about torture. Here was the lead graf:

*** Special Offer ***

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's extraordinary accusation that the Bush administration lied to Congress about the use of harsh interrogation techniques dramatically raised the stakes in the growing debate over the Bush administration's anti-terrorism policies even as it raised some questions about the speaker's credibility.

The very next day, May 16, 2009, Post writers Perry Bacon Jr. and Joby Warrick wrote the CIA thought that was a crock. THEIR lead was this:

CIA Director Leon Panetta yesterday rejected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's charge that the agency misled her about its use of coercive interrogation methods, escalating a controversy that has dogged the speaker for weeks and intensifying a debate over Bush administration policies that the Obama administration has tried to avoid.

In fact, Panetta wrote a memo to the CIA staff saying:

As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing "the enhanced techniques that had been employed."

Republicans jumped all over this - as did the news media - as Panetta calling Nancy Pelosi a liar. Pelosi stonewalled reporters and has refused to discuss the matter for the past several weeks notwithstanding there appears to be a yawning canyon between what she said and what he said.

While all this was going on, former VP Dick Cheney was here, there, and everywhere suggesting that Obama was a lightweight in the intelligence/national security area and was leading the nation down a dangerous path.

Panetta and Pelosi were contemporaries as Members of Congress, and as Members of the Democratic caucus. Nancy Pelosi is not known as playing nicely with her fellow delegation members. In fact, Pelosi caused quite the dust-up when she refused to allow the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee - Rep. Jane Harmon (D-Ca) - from being promoted to chair of the committee when the Dems took control of the House following the 2006 elections.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at