The Campaign Spot

Will Panetta Respond to Pelosi’s Accusation That the CIA ‘Misleads Us All the Time’?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, yesterday, discussing the CIA: “They mislead us all the time.”

That’s a pretty explosive accusation, Madam Speaker. Got any evidence to back it up?

It’s generally reassuring that we have not heard much from Leon Panetta since he stepped into the position of CIA director; it’s a sign that he’s keeping his head down, scaling the learning curve, and doing his job, one would think. But perhaps he could spare a moment to offer a thought or two on the Speaker of the House accusing his organization of committing the crime of lying to Congress all the time.

Slate’s John Dickerson notes that when it is put this starkly, it’s going to be hard for the president to respond, “no comment” — or some other rhetorical equivalent of voting present: “At some point the president may be asked what his view of the Pelosi matter is. It’s a tricky spot. He doesn’t want to get in the middle of a he-said/she-said debate. If he defends Pelosi, he alienates the CIA. That relationship is already tender because Obama released Bush-era torture memos against the wishes of the CIA, whose agents participated in the torture. On the other hand, if Obama defends the CIA, he undermines his leader in the House and angers her liberal supporters.”

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