McClatchy misrepresented Panetta response to Pelosi

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

A McClatchy article mischaracterized Leon Panetta's response to Nancy Pelosi's allegation that during a secret briefing in 2002, the CIA had misled her about its use of waterboarding.

A May 28 McClatchy Newspapers article about Republican ads targeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) mischaracterized CIA director Leon Panetta's May 15 response to her allegation that during a secret briefing in 2002, the CIA had misled her about its use of waterboarding. McClatchy stated: "Republicans note that the day after Pelosi made her [May 14] statement about the CIA, Leon Panetta ... said CIA officials told her the truth." In fact, in his May 15 statement, Panetta said, "It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress [emphasis added]" and that "our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully. ... Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened." As Politico's White House reporter Josh Gerstein noted in a May 18 post, "Panetta didn't reject or deny ... Pelosi's allegations that she was falsely briefed by the CIA about interrogations. Look carefully at Panetta's statement from Friday [May 15], especially the verb tense used. ... Panetta isn't opining on past acts. He's referring to the current policy. He's also not saying it never happens or happened that someone lied to or misled Congress. He's saying the agency as a whole doesn't intend to."

From the May 28 McClatchy article, titled, "Anti-Pelosi ads, calls to begin in districts GOP has sights on":

Republicans on Thursday began unleashing a barrage of television and radio ads, as well as robo-calls, aimed at discrediting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in congressional districts held by Democrats they see as vulnerable.

The effort is the latest signal that despite the California Democrat's insistence that she has no more to say about her May 14 assertion that in 2002 the Central Intelligence Agency misled her and Congress on torture policy, the political firestorm it created continues to smolder.

The latest GOP effort includes a television ad titled "Explanation: Impossible," as well as 32-second recorded phone calls with a woman telling listeners she had an "important voter alert" about how the local congressman "voted to block an investigation" into Pelosi's May 14 comments.

Republicans note that the day after Pelosi made her statement about the CIA, Leon Panetta, the agency director and a former Democratic congressman from California, said CIA officials told her the truth.

The next week, however, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives soundly rejected a Republican-led effort to create a bipartisan committee to investigate Pelosi's statements. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the House GOP leader, wants Pelosi to either document her claims or to apologize.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Intelligence
Network/Outlet
McClatchy Newspapers
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