The CIA or the Democrats?  We’re analyzing the controversy in Washington over allegations that the CIA misled members of Congress -- we have four different perspectives on this story.

You probably remember Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s fight with the CIA over whether or not she knew about waterboarding terrorist suspects.

Now, this letter surfaced.  It’s signed by seven Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee -- who claim the CIA’s director, Leon Panetta, admitted behind closed doors that the agency misled Congress for as long as eight years about a separate secret matter -- but, the CIA says it’s not policy or practice to mislead Congress.

We start our analysis with MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.  She brings up the possibility that the Democrats are exaggerating the issue for political gain.

“The timing seems really weird, the letter is dated June 26th, so it’s been out for a few weeks now, it’s just surfaced today, the only thing that we know that’s going on in intelligence politics right now is that there is a bill, intelligence bill is moving through congress that has some controversial assertions about how many members of congress should be in on the super secret briefings, do you do you think it’s possible that this whole kerfuffle, this release of this document is related to that bill trying to change current politics?   Absolutely, that bill was scheduled to come to the house floor tomorrow.”

Turns out -- U.S. President Barack Obama threatened to veto that bill that his own party was pushing.  That has a blogger on Politics Daily sarcastically backing up the Democratic lawmakers -- but criticizing the Obama administration and CIA:

“If you increase the number of people who get access to this sensitive information, it only adds to the number of people who will be misled.  Not only that, but the next thing you know, people will be demanding an ‘open government.’ We can't have that.”

But a reporter for Politico, speaking on CNN, says the Democrats are starting a dangerous battle they don’t want to fight.

“The public by in large is going to side with the CIA in this.  It doesn’t look good for a democratic White House and a democratic congress to be picking this fight. Democrats have been looking strong in national security, they want to stay there, so this is an issue this president will want to put to bed as soon as possible.  It doesn’t help him and it certainly doesn’t help the democratic leadership on Capitol Hill.”

Disagreeing, a political blogger for The Nation magazine says it’s an important battle about transparency that the Democrats SHOULD fight.

“Step one must be to get to the bottom of exactly what the CIA was lying about… Congress and the American people have a right to know the broad outlines of the deception -- and the extent to which it may have warped, and may continue to warp, U.S. policy.”

So is the CIA or the Democrats to blame?  Is this a fight even worth having?

Congress Dems Take On CIA

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Jul 9, 2009

Congress Dems Take On CIA

The CIA or the Democrats?  We’re analyzing the controversy in Washington over allegations that the CIA misled members of Congress -- we have four different perspectives on this story.

You probably remember Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s fight with the CIA over whether or not she knew about waterboarding terrorist suspects.

Now, this letter surfaced.  It’s signed by seven Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee -- who claim the CIA’s director, Leon Panetta, admitted behind closed doors that the agency misled Congress for as long as eight years about a separate secret matter -- but, the CIA says it’s not policy or practice to mislead Congress.

We start our analysis with MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.  She brings up the possibility that the Democrats are exaggerating the issue for political gain.

“The timing seems really weird, the letter is dated June 26th, so it’s been out for a few weeks now, it’s just surfaced today, the only thing that we know that’s going on in intelligence politics right now is that there is a bill, intelligence bill is moving through congress that has some controversial assertions about how many members of congress should be in on the super secret briefings, do you do you think it’s possible that this whole kerfuffle, this release of this document is related to that bill trying to change current politics?   Absolutely, that bill was scheduled to come to the house floor tomorrow.”

Turns out -- U.S. President Barack Obama threatened to veto that bill that his own party was pushing.  That has a blogger on Politics Daily sarcastically backing up the Democratic lawmakers -- but criticizing the Obama administration and CIA:

“If you increase the number of people who get access to this sensitive information, it only adds to the number of people who will be misled.  Not only that, but the next thing you know, people will be demanding an ‘open government.’ We can't have that.”

But a reporter for Politico, speaking on CNN, says the Democrats are starting a dangerous battle they don’t want to fight.

“The public by in large is going to side with the CIA in this.  It doesn’t look good for a democratic White House and a democratic congress to be picking this fight. Democrats have been looking strong in national security, they want to stay there, so this is an issue this president will want to put to bed as soon as possible.  It doesn’t help him and it certainly doesn’t help the democratic leadership on Capitol Hill.”

Disagreeing, a political blogger for The Nation magazine says it’s an important battle about transparency that the Democrats SHOULD fight.

“Step one must be to get to the bottom of exactly what the CIA was lying about… Congress and the American people have a right to know the broad outlines of the deception -- and the extent to which it may have warped, and may continue to warp, U.S. policy.”

So is the CIA or the Democrats to blame?  Is this a fight even worth having?
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