May 17th, 2009
12:36 PM ET
12 years ago

GOP leader on Pelosi's claim: Provide proof or apologize

WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Minority Leader John Boehner turned up the heat Sunday in the escalating war of words between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, congressional Republicans, and the CIA over Pelosi’s knowledge of enhanced CIA interrogation techniques including water boarding.

Last week, Pelosi claimed that the CIA had misled herself and other members of Congress about whether it was actually using water boarding to obtain information from high-profile detainees during 2002 intelligence briefings.

The Ohio Republican said Pelosi should provide evidence that she was misled or apologize to the country’s intelligence community.

“Lying to the Congress of the United States is a crime,” Boehner said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “And if the Speaker is accusing the CIA and other intelligence officials of lying or misleading the Congress, then she should come forward with evidence and turn that over to the Justice Department [for possible prosecution].”

“And if that’s not the case, I think she ought to apologize to our intelligence professionals around the world.”

After challenging Pelosi, Boehner sounded the praises of the nation’s intelligence gathering apparatus. “I’ve dealt with these people for three-and-a-half years on an almost daily basis,” Boehner told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “And I can tell you that I have never felt that I was misled. I’ve never felt that I’ve been lied to.”

The House Minority Leader described the information he’s received in intelligence briefings as “thorough” and “complete.” “They want to answer questions,” Boehner said describing the intelligence professionals he’d dealt with, “and there’s always, always an opportunity to object.”

“And Speaker Pelosi has, at times, objected to activities that were approved by the president. Those activities were changed as a result of her objection . . . in the intelligence environment.”

Boehner refused to say Sunday whether he thought it would be appropriate for the House of Representatives should begin an inquiry into whether Pelosi had lied about national security matters.


Filed under: CIA • John Boehner • Nancy Pelosi • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Dave in Albuquerque

    Just the GOP trying desperately to drag a red herring across the scent of war criminals.

    May 17, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. Matt

    I complety agree. Pelosi is behaving in a totally desctuctive manner.

    What she should do it shut up before she brings even more heat on herself. She has changed the story from a story about torture to a story about herself. And she's at risk of derailing this Administration's agenda by continually harping on an issue that Americans don't feel that passionately about.

    We would rather see our politicians focus on today's problems. Let's stop trying to exact vengence and move forward instead.

    May 17, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Didn't Bush/Cheney deny using water boarding for seven years? Is it a crime for the pesident and vice president to lie to congress. What about Senator Bob Graham who also said the CIA did not inform him that they were using water boarding? The meida is allowing Republcans to use the media to divert attention away from the FACT that Bush/Cheney violated internatinal law by using interrogation techniques that are in voilation of the Geneva Convention, for the purpose of getting detainees to say things that supported their desire to invade Iraq and had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.

    May 17, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. J. L. W.

    Pelosi is a political animal. She has distorted the truth and should resign or be removed. At a time when our country is facing huge problems representatives like her only complicate the situation and make things worse.

    May 17, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. TOCB

    We don't know what the CIA told Polosi because we weren't at the briefings. HOWEVER, we DO KNOW the CIA

    May 17, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. Donna from Colorado Springs

    If Nancy Pelosi is lying to save her -, then she should be thrown out. But, if the CIA is lying then the people who lied or misled her and many others, should be punished accordingly. Every government agency has lied to the American people........most of them just haven't been caught doing it!

    May 17, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Ranjit


    Richard Armitage released Valerie plame's name. Fitzgerald knew that from start and went on prosecuting a case just to get Someone from the administration to fall. He got scooter libby and finally wrapped up his investigations. Give me a break. Pelosi shoudl apologize or prove evidence. Do you remember her words during 2006 election, "honesty, integrity and accountability"?

    May 17, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. A. D.

    If the ther color guy, Boehner wants Nancy Pelosis to apologize, then I want Bush and Cheney to go before this country and apologize for that awful, terrible Iraq war, apologize to the families of the four thousand or more soldiers we lost. Apologize for leaving this doggone terrible economy mess behind for Obama to try to clean up. Apologize for torturing and destroying our standing in the world. Have I left anything out?

    May 17, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. TOCB

    We DO KNOW the CIA lied to the American public for seven years by denying they used water boarding and who authorized it. It wasn't until January 2009 that Cheney admitted the White House had authorized the use of water boarding. Further, at the time Republicans claim the CIA told Polosi about water boarding, she wasn't Speaker of the House, so what could she have doen about it? My guess is had she said anything to reveal they were using water boarding they would have citied her for revealing classified information.

    May 17, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. Joe the Troll

    If lying to Congress is a crime, who do we prosecute for the war in Iraq? Bush, Cheney, the CIA, or all three?

    May 17, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. max

    They told her they were using 'alternative tactics' ... they didn't tell her they were TORTURING !!!! OUR COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED BY PEOPLE TRYING TO ESCAPE TORTURE AND DICTATORSHIP ...for they repugs to endorse torture is turing away from the very basis of our founding fathers ... repugs should be treated as traitors to our nation

    May 17, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. Mick

    The best way to resolve this issue along with entire torture mess is to have a full investigation and drag all the skeletons and dirty laundry out into the day light of public exposure in order to let the chips fall where they may. Those who are guilty of lying or other deceptions will be properly punished and/or shamed and those who aren't lying or deceiving will be vindicated.

    Any innocent man never fears the truth.

    Until that happens, all the present juvenile yapping by Dems and Pubbies is just so much additional background noise distracting the congress from accomplishing anything of significance.


    May 17, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. Pat in IL

    I'm a democrat and very supportive of Obama. Nancy Pelosi, though, is very divisive and a thorn in the side of progress. She should either bow out or get kicked out. She doesn't lie any better than Palin does.

    May 17, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. gl, Pittsburgh

    Fredrik May 17th, 2009 1:00 pm ET

    The GOP is demanding that Pelosi apologize.

    How about she apologize AS SOON AS Bush/Cheney and the GOP apologize for outing a CIA agent, Valeri Plame?


    May 17, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. Lowell

    Instead of Pelosi proving to anyone that the CIA wasn't completely honest, let's have the CIA prove that they told Congress that they knowingly, willingly, with forethought and with the blessing of the president broke/defied international laws and treaties and tortured people AND that they told Congress every single detail of what they had done, were doing and were planning to do.

    If the CIA did admit to Congress that they were committing these crimes with full disclosure like they're claiming, then that means there are a lot of other problems that need to be addressed, the people tried and convicted. There's everything from committing treason to aiding and abetting known felonies. There's harboring criminals such as the ones who committed the torture at Gitmo.

    IF the CIA did tell Congress that they were guilty of such criminal actions, then why are these particular individuals not under arrest?

    May 17, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. Mike in Texas

    Boehner. Burden of proof is on the accuser not the one being accused. Tell the CIA to provide proof or they should shut up. Face it, Dems and Repubs are all liars and full of crap. Once again this a partisan issue. If Pelosi lied what damage did it cause? Most of you crying about her lying don't think waterboarding is torture so what is the big deal then? Quit being drama queens and let's work on looking to the future and not dwell on the past which is the problem that too many of us have.

    May 17, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. Sally

    Pelosi doesn't have to prove her innocence. Boehner has to prove her guilt, which he can't do...obviously. This article is promoting more Republican attempts at deflecting attention away from themselves for their illegal torture stance!

    May 17, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. Concerned Citizen

    Speaker Pelosi is trying way too hard- this is absolutely ridiculous. How dare she accuse an agency that works to protect the security interests of this nation with charges of fraud, deception, and lieing. This is just absurd, not to mention the fact that her stories constantly change. To all you Liberals out there: stop be blinded by Pelosi's awfully wide grin and enameled reflection, realize that she isn't actually that much of a Democrat, and that she is almost entirely motivated by self-interest. Also, learn to compose coherent thoughts and statements while you're at it. The point is that this is not a partisan issue; therefore, Democrats, stop using your typical "Republicans are to blame for everything, they are the 'Party of No'" tactics and realize that a supposed party leader is lieing to the nation. It's interesting how the one to blame is always so quick to point fingers.

    May 17, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. A Real American

    Nancy Pelosi didn't institute torture as a national policy, nor did she order anyone to be tortured.

    The same can't be said for the top members of the Bush II regime.

    We toppled Saddam Hussein and hunted his lackies down like dogs in part because they practiced some of the same barbaric policies advocated by Bush, Cheney, and Rice.

    Investigate to find out who knew what when, who ordered what when, and who did what when. Let the chips fall where they may. Then indict the ones found responsible and afford them the benefits of the American justice system to defend themselves. The same rights they so insistently and wrongheadedly denied to others.

    Because we're Americans and we are better than they are.

    May 17, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Darlene

    Perhaps Barack Obama should apologize for not thinking of the possible incrimination of complicity within his own party when he released the initial CIA memos.

    May 17, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Ray Fisher

    America is well aware of how Georgie neutered Congress and did as he wished, so poo-pooing Pelosi was easy to image, the CIA simply acted as instructed. I was dissappointed the she didn't impeach him but nothing could be done with torture accusations because who could she tell Wolf Blitzer??? The WH didn't care, the press was impotent, the voters were struggling to survive, so what???

    May 17, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. Leah

    Why isn't the GOP demanding an apology from former Senator Bob Graham, a man who is known for making meticulous notes at meetings, stating that he also was not notified about torture being used at the 2002 briefings?

    It is interesting that CNN and politics as usual for Rep. John King, to ignore the torture and fall in step with the GOP talking points and diversion from the real issue: that Bush and Cheney authorized torture and call Cheney on his undocumented claims that they saved "hundreds of thousands of lives".

    If that is "true", he obviously would be able to produce the details; such a momentous saving of lives would be something that the Bush administration would have been leaked long ago.

    May 17, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. kamenwati

    Don't let the republicans and their media shills deflect attention away from the architects of America's torture program. Pelosi is not even a bit player in the implementation and commission of the Bush-Cheney war crimes. All his huffery-puffery about CIA briefings is just a distraction from efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

    May 17, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Craig Nazor

    The point SHOULD be that the President, Vice President, and others in the Executive Branch of the United States Government appeared to have lied to the American people, and may have broken the law and violated the Constitution. That's a whole lot more important than what happened in a top secret meeting with Congressional representatives who couldn't have done anything about it, anyway!

    We need an independent prosecutor to investigate, and let justice prevail! Let the chips fall where they may. Whoever did anything wrong needs to be held accountable. We are a country of laws, not a cult of personality. Anything less is UNAMERICAN.

    May 17, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  25. Bill in Austin

    If the Speaker was a Republican, we wouldn't hear a whisper from Boehner. In fact, anyone that would raise that question, would be considered unpatriotic. If you look up 'hypocrisy" in the dictionary, it would refer you to "GOP".

    May 17, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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