House Democrats on Thursday blocked a Republican attempt to force House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to document her charge that the CIA lied to Congress about the Bush administrations interrogations policies.
Using their substantial majority, Democrats used a parliamentary motion to turn back a Republican resolution for a bipartisan investigation into the California Democrat's accusations last week that CIA employees "mislead us all the time."
The House voted 252-172 to uphold the parliamentary motion to block the inquiry, with all 250 Democrats who voted joined by two Republicans in supporting Mrs. Pelosi.
"This resolution is a political stunt," said Mrs. Pelosi's spokesman, Brendan Daly. "It is a deliberate attempt to distract from the work the House is doing to create jobs and make progress on health care, energy, and education."
Since Mrs. Pelosi made her charges last week, Republicans have repeatedly demanded she back up the claims.
"The speaker is the second in line for the Presidency, and the weight of the allegations against Americas top foreign intelligence agency makes this bipartisan investigation necessary," Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, said.
Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, told The Washington Times this week that Mrs. Pelosi's charges have been a "wrecking ball" to the morale of rank-and-file CIA officers.
The resolution would have set up a four-member subcommittee of the intelligence committee to look into Mrs. Pelosi's charges. It would have included two Democrats and two Republicans.
Mrs. Pelosi has challenged CIA records that say she was briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques, including such techniques as waterboarding, on Sept. 4, 2002, and said last week the CIA continues to lie today about that briefing.
Still, she has acknowledged she learned the interrogations methods were being used by the CIA from her top intelligence aide after he was briefed on Feb. 5, 2003.
CIA Director Leon Panetta sent a memo to employees the day after Mrs. Pelosi made her accusations, defending their honesty and asking for Washington to tone down the rhetoric.
Afterward, Mrs. Pelosi sent out her own statement saying she did not intend to disparage the CIA, but rather the Bush administration officials who oversaw it.
The two Republicans who voted with Democrats to block the inquiry were Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina and Ron Paul of Texas, both of whom opposed the war in Iraq.
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