House Dems shoot down idea of Pelosi investigation

Democrats kill Republican measure to investigate House Speaker's allegations about the CIA

Published May 21, 2009 10:01PM (EDT)

On Thursday, House Democrats decisively blocked a Republican measure that sought the creation of a bipartisan subcommittee to investigate allegations leveled by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that the CIA misled her about the use of interrogation methods like waterboarding.

Pelosi's accounts of CIA briefings have exposed her to a barrage of attacks over the last few weeks, with Republicans trying to redefine the investigation into Bush-era torture methods as a hypocritical partisan stunt. The embattled speaker had responded to criticism last week by accusing the CIA of lying to her and to Congress about the Agency's use of waterboarding, further igniting the controversy. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called for her resignation, while Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, demanded that her security clearances be suspended, saying she “can’t be trusted with intelligence secrets until this matter is cleared up."

The defeated measure was just the latest of the GOPs attempts to keep the controversy boiling -- Republicans feared it would die down over Memorial Day weekend -- and to find a conclusive answer as to how much Pelosi knew about the CIA's controversial interrogation techniques at the time they were being used. Said Minority Leader John Boehner, R-OH., "To have this charge out there and not have it resolved I think is damaging to our intelligence efforts, and certainly will have a chilling effect on our intelligence professionals around the world."

Democrats, who have rallied around the speaker, continued to dismiss the GOP's ploys as political sleight of hand. "This is partisan politics and an attempt by the Republicans to distract from the real issue of creating jobs and making progress on health care, energy and education," said Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami.

The measure went down to defeat by a vote of 252 to 172.

By Ben Travers

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Cia Nancy Pelosi D-calif.