I believe Nancy Pelosi.  In any controversy that alleges that the CIA has lied, I’m inclined to accept that allegation as fact. After all, the CIA is not exactly known for being open, honest, and forthcoming. How many instances of CIA obfuscation do we need before we understand that “muddying the waters” is standard operating procedure for our clandestine services?

In fact, the CIA has lied to members of Congress a number of times, detailed in Tim Weiner‘s history of the CIA, Legacy of Ashes. Here are just a few prominent instances:

  • In the 1950s, Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, after being told by Senator Joseph McCarthy that tha CIA was “neither sacrosanct nor immune from investigation,” began waging a “down and dirty covert operation on McCarthy” which included attempting to bug his office and feeding his staff with disinformation “in order to discredit him.”
  • Former CIA Director Richard Helms was convicted in 1977 of lying to Congress about the United States’ role in overthrowing the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende. Allende was succeeded by brutal dictator Augusto Pinochet.
  • In 1982, Congress passed a law prohibiting the administration from ousting the leftist regime in Nicaragua. The CIA kept trying to overthrow the Sandanistas.  CIA Director Bill Casey testified frequently before oversight committees Congress about the agency’s covert action plans, during which he was often misleading. “Casey was guilty of Contempt of Congress from the day he was sworn in,” Robert Gates, former head of the CIA and current Secretary of Defense, told Weiner. When the Iran Contra Scandal began to break, Casey lied to Congress, denying that they had traded arms for hostages with Iran.
  • On September 17, 2001, George Tenet told Congress that Iraq had provided al Qaeda with training in combat, bomb-making, and weapons of mass destruction. That information was based on a single source, the interrogation Ibn al-Shakh al Libi, who later recanted and whom we now know was tortured for that information. Tenet of course, hasn’t recanted.
  • http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=05&year=2009&base_name=the_cia_lie_to_congress_its_ha

A classified CIA report suggests that the agency lied to Congress and withheld information from the Justice Department concerning a clandestine drug interdiction        mission in Peru that resulted in the deaths of a missionary and her infant daughter in 2001, says a congressmen who helps oversee the intelligence community.
In a letter to John Helgerson, the CIA inspector general, Hoekstra said that his request to declassify portions of the findings were “without prejudice” to Hayden’s internal review.


Now that we have established that the CIA has history of being less than truthful in its dealings with Congress, it’s not hard to believe that Pelosi is the more credible party in this instance. Many have made the case far better than I ever could.  Among them are:

Robert Schrum on Morning Joe and in This Week

Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake

Alan Colmes on FOX News

Isn’t it time for the Republicans and the media to get off the “Blame Nancy” bandwagon and get back to discussing the real issues? Personally, I’d like to see a Truth Commission formed so we can finally learn what was done in our names, who ordered it and why. I’d also like to see some ideas as to how Congress can better fulfill its oversight function and new legislation to achieve that goal. It’s time.



Filed under Uncategorized


  1. bevntempe

    I’m with you, Nanny – great post. It’s just one more example of the crap the repugs spout for not having anything better.

  2. The repugs made a big mistake when they went after Nancy, and Newt is making a bigger fool of himself than usual, and that’s saying something!

    Good piece nanny.

  3. dnd

    You forgot Pete Hoekstra (R – MI) and Barry Goldwater (R – AZ) who’d claimed the CIA mislead them. Of course these are political appointees at the CIA who lie to Congress, not the career staff, something that for some reason never gets reported.

    The funniest lie is Newt Gingrich claiming that Pelosi said that the CIA repeatedly lies. She did not. But then Gingrich is a convincing, pathological liar.

  4. nannymm

    Thanks, Bev and Brian. I think Newt and the repugs may rue the day they went after Nancy.

    Did you hear the breaking news? The first GITMO detainee to be tried in the US will be transported to NYC for his trial. We New Yorkers aren’t cowering in fear like those gutless wonders in the US Senate.

  5. nannymm

    You forgot Pete Hoekstra (R – MI) and Barry Goldwater (R – AZ) who’d claimed the CIA mislead them.

    Good point, dnd. Thanks for pointing that out.

  6. llabesab




  7. lurker

    If this were in court Nanny, which I guess it isn’t, the prior instances you cite would be inadmissable, especially considering that the wrongdoers in most of your examples are no longer at the agency. The point is that Pelosi has no proof of CIA lying in THIS instance — and clearly neither do you, since you’ve resorted to recitations of irrelevant historical events perpetrated by now-departed officials. Would you be so generous if the Speaker was a Republican?

  8. lurker

    Your link to Shrum is not so impressive. As proof of the CIA’s pattern of “deception,” all he cites are “WMDs in Iraq,” the “illegal gun-running of the Iran-Contra scandal,” and the “run-up to the Bay of Pigs invasion”

    Three dubious examples spread across five decades is not so persuasive of a persistent pattern.

  9. lurker

    Finally, Nanny, I take it that you are disappointed that Obama (via Panetta) kicked her ass?

  10. dnd

    “4 Arrested in Plot to Bomb New York City Temple ”

    Boy, talk about bad timing for Dick Cheney and his speech today. I wonder if he’s going to claim that torture was used to get information about these four terrorists.

  11. These are home grown terrorists, even for Darth Cheney that would be quite a stretch!

  12. nannymm

    I think I must have a touched a (lurker’s) nerve. 😉

  13. nannymm

    Well, Cheney has been known for some wild stretches before…..

  14. dog's eye view

    Good morning all.

    Good to see lurker commenting. Makes for an exchange.

    It would seem the more information that comes out, the better for Pelosi, because it’s more likely to support her stance — ALTHOUGH I suspect many of the Democrats were not sterling examples of courage in the aftermath of 9/11. They are political animals too, after all. Wondering if Obama wanted to keep the Pandora’s box closed for a while for that reason as well.

    Last, see Talking Points Memo for recent item on parsing CIA Director’s Leon Panetta’s remarks on Pelosi’s allegation. It is not a denial.

    “Reading More Closely”


    Obama speaking now on dealing with Gitmo. CNN has it streaming live.


    What do you all think about the 90-6 vote to withhold funding for closing Gitmo? Not sounding like a profile in courage vote to me, but haven’t studied the issue.

  15. eprof2

    I’m with you, Nanny, Pelosi was lied to, says so, and now, because the Repugs have a knack of turning things around, has to prove the secret agency lied. What was it that Rumsfeld said about “knowing what you know…et cetera.”

    The United States has been feeding the CIA and the military with such largess since WWII that whenever there is a disagreement between civilian authority and the CIA and military occur, these agencies have all the power and all the guns. Back that up with one political party that believes these agencies can do no wrong and “they protect us,” and you have a perfect storm for any who criticize these agencies of government.

    Thanks, Nanny, for your reference post. Well done!

  16. dog's eye view

    Washington Post web headline:

    “Obama Offers Defense of Guantanamo Plans”

    Yes. He has much to defend.

    In subhead: “Cheney’s Remarks to Follow.”

    Yep. It’s a debate, and Cheney’s an objective opponent.

    The Washington Post.

    Saving me money daily.

  17. dog's eye view

    Text of Obama’s prepared remarks on Guantanamo Bay.


    WaPost has changed its headline:

    Obama Vows Not to Back Down on Guantanamo

    That’s more like it.


    Cheney says he’d like to spend more time at AEI — American Enterprise Institute — in his role as trustee.

    One wonders: is he traveling abroad much? We must keep an eye out on him and Rumsfeld.

    Who knows if they’re in demand abroad. But wonder if they worry over any legal peril? (You know I hope so!)

  18. nannymm

    Thanks, eprof2.

  19. dnd

    Cheney speech is really a surprise:
    1. torture is cool. Oh, and necessary. Otherwise you’re gonna die.
    2. Every right-wing talking point you’ve heard in the last two months.

    Good job, Dick.

  20. Yet again Dick Cheney proves himself to be a scum bag, like we needed further proof!

  21. nannymm

    And he’s all the media can talk about.

  22. nannymm

    At least Lawrence O’Donnell is calling Cheney what he is, a LIAR!

  23. Yeah O’Donnell is doing a fine job of it!

  24. dog's eye view

    OK. Giving this a fresh try. Fingers crossed an avatar will show up.

    Brian: thank you for freeing my posts.

  25. What Cheney seems unable to accept is that we had this debate last summer and fall, and on election day the American people rendered a verdict and his side lost!

  26. bevntempe

    My gosh, just got back from lunch and read about DICK’s speech and Obama’s speech. Can DICK be prepping for a run at 2012? God, I hope not!

    I have also wondered if DICK and the members of the “party of no” are actually being racist because of all their criticism of Obama. What other new prez has received the kind of reception and criticism that he is getting?

    Are the repugs jealous because their party is falling apart or are they really upset because the nation elected an African-American as president who is trying to change what they f—k’d up the last 8 years.

    Didn’t really think about the racist part until last week – but it seems more apparent to me that it may be the reason for their anger and being buttheads. This is only an idea that popped up in my wee little brain – no proof, just a feeling that I would be very sad if it were true.

  27. nannymm

    I suspect that idea of yours is spot on, Bev. I have never seen anything like this Cheney situation. No former president or vice-president in my lifetime has ever put himself out there as the chief critic of the sitting president. What I find especially appalling is the media attention Cheney is getting. He is being accorded an equal footing with President Obama, an honor that is neither necessary nor deserved.

  28. nannymm

    The following is a letter written by former Senator Bob Graham regarding intelligence briefings and how to improve them. It’s well worth reading, IMO, and fits in well with today’s thread.

  29. dnd

    I have an alternate theory. I think Cheney is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. I think the stress from 9/11, and the guilt that his negligence may have allowed it to happen, has pushed him over the edge.

  30. dnd

    Thanks for the link to the Bob Graham letter. I agree with him. The reality is that there is no way we will ever know what happened in that briefing seven years ago. We need to move on or our enemies will make ground while we fight amongst ourselves.

  31. dnd

    dnd’s conspiracy theory on Gitmo: It’s not the Cheney-ites, or the NIMBY crowd who don’t want the detainees transferred from Gitmo to Super-max. It’s the detainees. Compaired to Super-max, Gitmo is Club Med.

  32. Six senators with a spine!

    Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois
    Tom Harkin of Iowa
    Patrick Leahy of Vermont
    Carl Levin of Michigan
    Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

  33. bevntempe

    Dnd – I think your theory may have possibilities! I just can’t understand why the MSM is giving him so much coverage.

  34. bevntempe

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear a discussion with Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich. I wonder whose voice would reach the level of a classical soprano if they disagreed.

  35. dog's eye view

    testing. Good evening.

  36. dog's eye view

    Testing yet again.

  37. trout boy

    I see ya little doggie

  38. Ken H


    you are incorrect. Al Gore was doing the same thing as a former VP to GWB in 2004. They key thing to remember here is that by throwing out insults like ‘repugs’ we are acting just like them. Debate on merit, not on emotion or perception. It happens on both sides. I agree with Gore, but to keep things fair and on track here’s an excerpt from his 2004 speech:

    AL GORE: Today I want to speak on behalf of those Americans who feel that President Bush has betrayed our nation’s trust. Those who are horrified at what has been done in our name and all those who want the rest of the world to know that we Americans see the abuses that occurred in the prisons of Iraq and Afghanistan and Guantanamo and secret locations as yet undisclosed as completely out of keeping with the character and basic nature of the American people and at odds with the principles on which America stands.

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