May 17th, 2009
10:47 AM ET
14 years ago

Gingrich: Pelosi could be ousted as House speaker if she lied

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she was misled about the use of enhanced interrogation techniques."]

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."

Filed under: Nancy Pelosi • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (563 Responses)
  1. Mike from Ohio

    Please. Republicans think they have found a new target in Pelosi since all their Obama attacks flopped like the so-called Fox orchestrated Tea Parties. This is a phony argument. The CIA most likely DID lie to her, since their pattern of behavior during the Bush administration was more in line with trying to prove political points instead of actually collecting objective intelligence. Newt Gingrich is just keeping his wrinkled mug in the public eye by making such outlandish, but offensive allegations, the media gives him a forum and makes his ridiculous ideas news.

    May 16, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  2. Dave in Altmar

    Nuke Gingrouch will spare no opportunity to bloviate his party into oblivion.

    Keep it up, Nuke! With you running your mouth off there'll be no chance of Rethuglicans gaining any traction!

    May 16, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  3. Noel

    Bill Clinton the pot smoker and sleeps with the interns, their is no shame. Barack Obama smokes crack, lies his way through his campaign to get elected into the presidency. Nancy Pelosi just a plain as day liar. This is what we get from the democratic leadership, a government that has no morals that is running this country into decadence.

    May 16, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  4. Harry

    I agree with Newt. Bush, Cheney and Pelosi should all be in jail!

    Wait a second..... Newt is not saying anything about Bush and Cheney? Mmm, interesting. It almost feels like Newt's attack is political in nature.

    May 16, 2009 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  5. Charles Harold

    Ok, number 1: why does CNN give so much publicity to discredited, right-wing extremists like Gingrich? (is it showing Fox envy? how low can they go?); number 2: does Newt not realize that the GOP is the vast minority, and there is no chance of censure?; number 3: even if Pelosi knew about the waterboarding (and I have no idea whether she did or not, but I tend to doub it), the buck stops with Bush and Cheney–they are the ones who need censure, if not balls and chains (I think the public would go for it, even as we try to fix the economy, fight two wars, etc.); number 4: back to #1: CNN, please stop pretending that people like Newt Gingrich are relevant! Why not interview, say, Bo Derek, Joe the Plumber or Ms. California about these issues instead? They have more credibility.

    May 16, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  6. wayne

    and we should give credence to newt why...???

    this "man" began the vitrol with his scorched earth policies..back in the "90's..why would we listen or take any thing he says..?/

    go crwl back under your rock newt..

    May 16, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  7. wayne

    and we should give credence to newt why...???

    this "man" began the vitrol with his scorched earth policies..back in the "90's..why would we listen or take any thing he says..?

    go crawl back under your rock newt..

    May 16, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  8. ROC

    I think she should be disbarred if she lied. No politician is above the law, whichever party affiliation they're in. The same goes with all the officals who approved torture from the past Bush administration.

    May 16, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  9. xddy4u

    Gingrich is the pit bull for the GOP. Now pray tell me, how in the world this making Pelosi not fit to be Speaker of the House? The President and Vice President AUTHORIZED the Waterboarding. Condalese Rich was head of the National Security Council to Bush, and NONE of them are not even being mentioned now. Only the one that supposed to have been told about it is being "Sweated". Bring the ones that Authorized this to the forefront where they belong. Now is the time for the DEMs to push for Bush, Channey, Rice and Rumfield to be held for WAR CRIMES. Change the playing field.

    May 16, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  10. Phil ( Dallas )

    So Pelosi says that the CIA misled her a.k.a. lied to her, then she back tracks and says she respects the CIA and it was the Bush administration that lied to her, and let's just forget about the past anyway because she is focussing on the future.

    Her story certianly doesn't seem sound.

    Should she step down as Speaker? I don't think so, but it would be nice if there was at least one politician that didn't suffer from amnesia.

    May 16, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  11. lie hating Republican

    Who is Gingrich? The man that promised America that he was going to bring back morality to Washington,while married and sexing up his secretary. In his new position as the person to tell all Americans that all democrats are bad and all Republicans are good,Newt decided to personally further the lie about Pelosi's air travel so many times,I lost count of how many times he has made that statement.
    The lie; Speaker Pelosi is the only Speaker to have a designated plane furnished by our military.
    The truth; After 9/11 as ordered by the house sergeant at arms,ordered that the speaker of the house,at the time Dennis Hastert to have a designated aircraft for any travel.No democrats minded because the speaker is second in line if something happened to the President. Speaker Pelosi was told secure travel required an aircraft that had a longer range and ability to stay aloft longer. This should have stayed on the EIB and not picked up by Gingrich.
    Has one positive thing ever been said about Democrats on fox?
    Gingrich is now a fox pundit,he is no longer credible.
    Lets open Bob Grahams personal "note" book,which BTW the CIA has agreed is correct.
    This is a smear job,the Democrats will come out well above the Republicans on this,in short,this is a crap storm and you better duck!

    May 16, 2009 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  12. Tony - SLC

    I can't understand why Gingrich, or anybody else, republican or democrat, is ought to be coming down on Pelosi. It's not like she ordered it. It's not like Bush or Cheney would have scrapped the idea if she said she didn't approve it.

    What needs to be done is make sure torture doesn't happen again.

    What also needs to be done is make sure that moving forward we adopt policies that we are going to stand behind. Here is what I mean: back in the day, the US lead the creation of the League of Nations, then the UN. Sounded like a good idea back then because it favored the US. Now all you hear is people saying get out of the UN, because, well, it's not working out anymore.

    Same with torture. We signed up for the Geneva Convention, because it was convenient back then. But now, not so much.

    It's wartime. The torture argument is understandable. But support for the Iraq was was garnered by saying that we would bring democracy to the middle east. What can you say about a democracy that does one thing when it is convenient, and another when it is not?

    May 16, 2009 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  13. M. J. Moro

    I'm not sure why CNN is complicit in the smoke & mirror campaign by the torture apologists. The notion that hypocrisy is now being implemented (the knowledge of, and the now criminal characterization) by the house speaker is laughable. When speaker Knute led the way for impeachment, while practicing adultery, makes one think, how credible could this opinion be. Speaker Knute, please let us be amused with your policy positions, and leave the task of censure to elected officials that can make it happen. Oh yeah CNN, could you cover more of the participants who were actually in the loop of this epic occurrence? Its great to look back on what was once proclaimed, and where the truth actually is. Partisans on the periphery can only deflect, or cloud the matter at hand. Let the Inquirer cover the off key noise.

    May 17, 2009 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
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