In recent days, conservatives have been on a media blitz accusing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of lying last week when she said that she believed she had been “misled” by the CIA during intelligence briefings regarding the use of torture. Last night on Fox News’s On The Record, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) continued this blitz, arguing that Pelosi did not want to “take accountability and responsibility for the actions that she took in 2002, 2003″ and is instead simply “blaming the CIA.”
When host Greta Van Sustern pointed out that “CIA has not been perfect” in recent years, Hoekstra explained that in his view it is okay to criticize the agency’s performance, but it is another thing to accuse the CIA of having misled Congress:
HOEKSTRA: I think you do go back and you break it into two different issues. One is the performance, how well, they’re doing their job. The second is whether they have misled or lied to Congress, two very, very different issues.
Yesterday on CNN’s American Morning, Hoekstra made similar remarks, referring to Pelosi’s claims as “outrageous accusations.” He also appeared last night on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight and this morning on talk radio with Bill Bennett and Laura Ingraham.
Hoekstra’s repeated objections to Pelosi accusing the CIA of having lied to Congress is quite odd given the fact that he’s made nearly identical claims on multiple occasions. As Marcy Wheeler first noted, Hoekstra wrote a letter to President Bush in 2006 accusing the intelligence community of withholding information on their activities from Congress. “I have learned of some alleged Intelligence Community activities about which our committee has not been briefed,” Hoekstra wrote. He said that he believed the Bush administration’s failure to fully brief his committee could constitute “a violation of law“:
Similarly, in 2007, Hoekstra described a closed-door briefing by representatives from the intelligence community (including CIA) on the National Intelligence Estimate of Iran’s nuclear capability, saying that the members “didn’t find [the briefers] forthcoming.” More recently, in November 2008, Hoekstra concluded that the CIA “may have been lying or concealing part of the truth” in testimony to Congress regarding a 2001 incident in which the CIA mistakenly killed an American citizen in Peru. “We cannot have an intelligence community that covers up what it does and then lies to Congress,” Hoekstra said of the incident.