WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter is backing up his new party in the dispute between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the CIA, following up tough comments about the agency's "bad record" on honesty with a call for official transcripts of their congressional briefings to head off future controversies.
The Pennsylvania senator sent letters Thursday to CIA Director Leon Panetta and White House Counsel Greg Craig, as well as the Intelligence Committee’s Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Silvestre Reyes, and GOP Sen. Judd Gregg and Pete Hoekstra, with remarks panning the agency's record on congressional briefing accounts.
"From my experience on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which I chaired in the 104th Congress, I found there were frequent disputes as to whether the CIA did the requisite briefings; and, if they did, whether the briefing was adequate. While those disputes did not reach the level of controversy involving Speaker Pelosi and the CIA today, they were significant," the Republican-turned-Democrat said in excerpts of the letters released by his office Thursday.
(CNN) - Moments before Dick Cheney took the stage, his audience seemed to belong to President Obama.
The conservative crowd waiting to hear from the vice president Thursday morning at the American Enterprise Institute gave its attention in the meantime to the CNN.com/Live broadcast of Obama's National Archives address.
Cheney argued that the Bush administration "didn't invent" the authority exercised in the war against al Qaeda and others. He said it was clearly granted by the Constitution and legislation passed by Congress after the September 11 attacks.
He also said the use of controversial "enhanced interrogation techniques" was a success that saved thousands of lives.
At the same time, Cheney argued that Obama's decision to release Bush-era interrogation memos was a reckless and unfair distraction in the fight against extremists.
Full text of Cheney speech after the jump
"The record is clear: rather than keep us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security," he said during an address on national security at the National Archives in Washington.
"It is a rallying cry for our enemies. It sets back the willingness of our allies to work with us in fighting an enemy that operates in scores of countries. By any measure, the costs of keeping it open far exceed the complications involved in closing it."
He said that the facility resulted in the creation of more terrorists than it detained, and he said that over the last seven years, the system of military commissions at Guantanamo succeeded in convicting "a grand total of three suspected terrorists."
Full remarks after the jump
(CNN) - Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, told CNN's John Roberts Thursday he believes the U.S. can safely house terror detainees.
(CNN) - A member of the House Republican Conference will offer a resolution on the House floor Thursday calling for a bipartisan investigation into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claim that the CIA misled her on the use of waterboarding, two Republican sources tell CNN.
"The speaker has had a full week now to either produce the evidence or retract and apologize, and she's done neither," a senior Republican aide told CNN. "There is no choice now. A bipartisan investigation is needed to get to the facts."
Earlier: Gingrich says time for Pelosi to resign
Since House Republicans don't have the votes, this resolution will likely be voted down by House Democrats. Once the resolution is offered, the House has two legislative days to take it up, and a vote could be pushed until after the Memorial Day break.
(CNN) - Members of Congress are saying no to Guantanamo detainees in their backyards, CNN's Jim Acosta reports.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney Thursday will critique President Barack Obama's national security decisions and philosophy and defend the moves of the Bush administration, two of his advisers told CNN.
He will be delivering the address at the American Enterprise Institute at nearly the same time that Obama makes what his administration says is a major address on national security. In his speech, the president will rally support for his plan to shut down the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
"When President Obama makes wise decisions ... he deserves our support," Cheney will say, according to an excerpt of his speech. "And when he faults or mischaracterizes the national security decisions we made in the Bush years, he deserves an answer."
One adviser said the former vice president will "challenge the Obama administration's rationale for closing Guantanamo Bay" and argue that "our values are not abrogated by prioritizing security for innocents over rights for terrorists."
The adviser - who worked on the speech - said Cheney "will dispute the assertion" that targeting militants backfired and "was a recruitment tool" for terror groups.
The president spoke Wednesday with the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis after the astronauts repaired the Hubble Telescope during several spacewalks. (Photo Credit: NASA)
(CNN) - President Barack Obama beamed up a special message to the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on Wednesday, two days before the astronauts are scheduled to return to Earth.
"I wanted to tell you personally how proud I am," Obama said in a brief phone chat. "I think you're just providing a wonderful example of the kind of commitment to exploration that represents America."
Atlantis launched May 11 for NASA's fifth and final repair visit to the Hubble Space Telescope. It was released back into orbit Tuesday morning.
In space for 19 years, the Hubble can capture clear images that telescopes on Earth cannot, partly because it does not have to gaze through murky atmosphere.
Obama said it was amazing to watch the astronauts do their work and called the Hubble "an iconic symbol of the quest for knowledge."
"By allowing Hubble to continue on its journey, you've really allowed all of us to continue on our journey for growth and exploration."
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
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NYT: Obama Is Said to Consider Preventive Detention Plan
President Obama told human rights advocates at the White House on Wednesday that he was mulling the need for a “preventive detention” system that would establish a legal basis for the United States to incarcerate terrorism suspects who are deemed a threat to national security but cannot be tried, two participants in the private session said.