- The Washington Times - Friday, May 22, 2009

In her first press conference since she accused the CIA last week of lying to her about harsh interrogation techniques, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said she stood by her statement but refused to answer additional questions about the fierce political fallout from her comments.

Flanked by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, and other House Democratic leaders, Mrs. Pelosi irked reporters as she and her colleagues devoted 23 minutes to a recounting of the party’s accomplishments thus far this session, spending only five minutes to take questions.

Friday’s highly anticipated news briefing came on the heels of Republican calls to investigate Mrs. Pelosi’s assertion that the CIA mislead her when she was briefed in September 2002 about so-called enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, which the Obama administration has deemed torture. House GOP leaders have demanded that she back up her claim or apologize to the intelligence agency, but Democrats voted down a resolution Thursday that would have created a special panel to investigate her charges.

Surprisingly, the first question Mrs. Pelosi took dealt with whom she intended to nominate to a bipartisan financial commission slated to investigate the economic meltdown. Only one of the four questions and a follow-up focused on the CIA controversy, and Mrs. Pelosi brusquely declined the invitation to expand on her previous remarks.

“I have made the statement that I’m going to make on this,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “What we are doing is staying on our course and not getting distracted from it.”

She added, “I won’t have anything more to say.”

The conference ended after about six minutes of questions.

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