Last week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the CIA misled her when they first briefed her on the Bush administration’s torture program. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) responded by saying that it was “hard” for him “to imagine that anyone in our intelligence area would ever mislead a member of Congress.” Today, Boehner made similar comments as he announced that Congressional Republicans would introduce a resolution calling for an investigation of Pelosi’s claims (the resolution failed). Boehner said an investigation was justified because Pelosi made what he called a “serious charge”:
BOEHNER: It has nothing to do about — it has nothing to do with detainees. It has nothing to do with anything else.
The speaker of the House is third in line to the presidency. And for the speaker of the House to lay this kind of charge at the men and women who are charged with helping to protect us is a serious charge.
But when reporters questioned Boehner about his own comments that the intelligence community could not be trusted when the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear capabilities came out 2007, the Minority Leader demurred. Boehner said that the comparison was “mixing apples with oranges”:
QUESTION: [I]n 2007 — I just looked at the transcript — you had accused the intelligence community of greatly misleading the nation by changing their national intelligence assessment about the…
BOEHNER: We’re mixing apples — we’re mixing apples and oranges here.
QUESTION: Why is that different?
BOEHNER: Because when the National Intelligence Estimate came out with regard to Iran, it — it contradicted most everything that I had been told in the six months leading up to it. … I was questioning how this National Intelligence Estimate could — could vary and contradict a lot of information that I’d been told for the six months coming up to it.
In fact, Boehner and his Republican colleagues worked extremely hard to portray the intelligence community as misleading Congress and the President on Iran’s nuclear capability. At the time, Boehner said that he doubted the CIA’s conclusions, while Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) called the presentation that the intelligence committee delivered to members of Congress on the Iran NIE “pathetic.” “Members didn’t find them forthcoming, or even well-versed in answering very tough questions,” Hoekstra added.