WASHINGTON (CNN) – Newt Gingrich continued his attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Saturday, saying she "defamed everyone" in the intelligence community and he can't "see how she can serve as speaker if it turns out that she has lied about national security both to the House and to the rest of the country.”
"I would expect at that point a motion of censure, and I think under the rules of the House, you can't serve for the rest of that term if you've been censured," Gingrich, a former Republican speaker of the House, said in an interview with CNN.
Pelosi has been under fire from critics who say she was fully briefed on the controversial waterboarding technique - now deemed torture by the Obama administration - in 2002 and 2003. On Thursday, the California Democrat accused CIA officials of misleading her, reiterating a claim that she was briefed on such techniques only once - in September 2002 - and that she was told at the time the techniques were not being used.
Pelosi said the briefing she received from the CIA was incomplete and inaccurate, and she called on the CIA to release a full transcript of the briefing.
The dispute over intelligence prompted CIA Director Leon Panetta to stand up for the agency Friday in a letter to CIA employees and challenge Pelosi on her assertion that the CIA had misled her.
"There is a long tradition in Washington of making political hay out of our business. It predates my service with this great institution, and it will be around long after I'm gone. But the political debates about interrogation reached a new decibel level yesterday when the CIA was accused of misleading Congress," Panetta said in a letter to employees.
"Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the agency indicated previously in response to congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing 'the enhanced techniques that had been employed.' Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened."
Pelosi issued a response to Panetta on Friday in which she shifted her criticism from the CIA to the Bush administration.
"My criticism of the manner in which the Bush administration did not appropriately inform Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe," she wrote. "What is important now is to be united in our commitment to ensuring the security of our country; that, and how Congress exercises its oversight responsibilities, will continue to be my focus as we move forward."
But Gingrich says Panetta's letter puts "strong clear pressure" on the House to open a formal investigation.
"I think the house has an absolute obligation to investigate whether or not the third ranking official, after all she is third in line to be president, whether or not that person can be allowed to lie about national security both to the country and to the House of Representatives, and I think that it's a very very serious charge."