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.
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.