Durbin Calls On Gingrich To Apologize For Attacking The CIA In 2007

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"Durbin Calls On Gingrich To Apologize For Attacking The CIA In 2007"

Last week, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich called on Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to resign her current position as Speaker. He said that she “disqualified herself” over her comments that the CIA was “misleading” Congress.

As ThinkProgress pointed out, Gingrich himself has accused the CIA, among other U.S. intelligence agencies, of misleading Congress and undermining the president. In response to the release of the 2007 Iran National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) — which concluded that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program — Gingrich said that he believed the NIE and its authors were “damaging to our own national security.” He said that the document was “a deliberate attempt to undermine the policies of President Bush by members of his own government by suggesting that Iran no longer poses a serious threat to U.S. national security.”

Today on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) brought up this point. He said that if Gingrich is so offended by Pelosi’s comments, then he should also apologize for what he said in 2007:

DURBIN: I’d just say that I’m afraid Mr. Gingrich is suffering from a little political amnesia here. He’s forgotten that in year 2007, he criticized the National Intelligence estimate in regard to the capability of Iran to develop nuclear weapons and said that — if I remember the quote correctly, I’m looking down here — that what they did damaged our national security and misled the American people. Mr. Gingrich, would you like to make an apology to our intelligence agency for what you said in 2007?

GINGRICH: I said that particular report was intellectually dishonest. It was a public, non-classified report, and we were debating it. I said it was intellectually dishonest. I never said the CIA lied to the Congress, which would be illegal. It would be a felony.

Watch it:

During the exchange, Durbin also brought up Rep. Pete Hoekstra’s (R-MI) criticisms of the CIA, including his 2008 statement 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. “Should he apologize?” asked Durbin. Gingrich, of course, responded that there was nothing wrong with what Hoekstra said.

Transcript:

DURBIN: I’d just say that I’m afraid Mr. Gingrich is suffering from a little political amnesia here. He’s forgotten that in year 2007, he criticized the National Intelligence estimate in regard to the capability of Iran to develop nuclear weapons and said that — if I remember the quote correctly, I’m looking down here — that what they did damaged our national security and misled the American people. Mr. Gingrich, would you like to make an apology to our intelligence agency for what you said in 2007?

GINGRICH: I said that particular report was intellectually dishonest. It was a public, non-classified report, and we were debating it. I said it was intellectually dishonest. I never said the CIA lied to the Congress, which would be illegal. It would be a felony.

DURBIN: Well, what would you say about Republican congressman Hoekstra, who did in fact say that the intelligence community had lied and misled the American people when it came to the killing of an individual in Peru. Should he apologize?

GINGRICH: Chairman Hoekstra, as he was at the time, was engaged in a specific incident. The Inspector General of the CIA actually did the right job. The investigating board of the CIA did the right job. There was a specific case. They reported that it was wrong, and the CIA actually insisted on telling Congress the truth. And if you check with Chairman Hoekstra, he’ll tell you he agrees with me on this particular issue.

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