- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 19, 2009


House Democrats on Tuesday challenged the accuracy of CIA records showing who was briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques, with Rep. David R. Obey, House Appropriations Committee chairman, saying they have discovered an inaccuracy in the records.

The dispute over the accuracy of the records sparked fierce partisan bickering after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said last week the CIA lied when it said its records showed she was briefed personally on harsh interrogation tactics as far back as 2002.

In a letter to CIA Director Leon Panetta, Mr. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat, said that in light of the controversy, he wants the record corrected on the 2006 briefing.

“The list the agency released entitled ‘Member Briefings on Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs),’ shows that House Appropriations Committee defense appropriations staffer Paul Juola was in that briefing on that date. In fact, Mr. Juola recollects that he walked members to the briefing room, met General Hayden and Mr. Walker, who were the briefers, and was told that he could not attend the briefing. We request that you immediately correct this record,” Mr. Obey wrote.

The CIA record of the meeting says the briefing was on the “full detainee program, including the 13 EITs.” The records shows the meeting included Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young, Florida Republican, and Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat, who were the top members of the House defense appropriations subcommittee.

The CIA document does say Mr. Juola was there, and notes Mr. Murtha “did not stay for EIT portion of the briefing.”

Mr. Obey released the letter Tuesday morning.

Paul Gimigliano, a CIA spokesman, said the agency’s records are not definitive.

“While CIA’s information has Mr. Juola attending briefings on September 19, 2006, and October 11, 2007, there are different recollections of these events, which Mr. Obey’s letter describes,” he said. “As the agency has pointed out more than once, its list — compiled in response to congressional requests — reflects the records it has. These are notes, memos and recollections, not transcripts and recordings.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Mr. Obey’s challenge to the CIA ignored the main problems Mrs. Pelosi is facing.

“The speaker accused our intelligence professionals of lying to her. Where’s her evidence to back up this charge? If she doesn’t have any, she should apologize to these men and women, who spend their lives protecting this country,” Mr. Boehner said.

Mrs. Pelosi has said the CIA lied to her in 2002 by concealing it was using tactics such as waterboarding against suspected terrorist detainees, and continues to lie about the content of those briefings now when it says she was informed.

But Mrs. Pelosi has acknowledged learning the tactics were used after a top staffer of hers was briefed in 2003. Mrs. Pelosi, who has criticized the Bush administration for approving the tactics, said she didn’t object in 2003 both because it was too late and because she was no longer the top Democrat on the intelligence committee.

Mr. Panetta sent a memo to employees on Friday saying the CIA does not lie to Congress and said employees should “ignore the noise” coming from Capitol Hill.

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