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10 Jul, 2009 10:39

What did CIA lie about?

US Congress has once again accused the CIA of lying to lawmakers. This follows the statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in May that the agency failed to inform her about the use of harsh interrogation techniques.

Seven Democrats from US Congress stated that the CIA wasn’t telling Congress the whole truth about its crucial program related to national security policy.

The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes of Texas and six other members announced that CIA Director Leon Panetta had acknowledged that senior CIA officials have repeatedly misled lawmakers since 2001.

The legislators have not revealed exactly what program was being kept secret, given the sensitivity of the matter, so it is not known whether the case has to do with the occupation of Iraq, the US army’s actions in Afghanistan, or “harsh interrogation techniques”.

There is a suggestion that it is about the use of waterboarding on suspected terrorists, judging by the words of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Republican Peter Hoekstra criticized Reyes, calling the allegations “bizarre”. Republicans have also suggested that the announcement was timed to deflect a controversy involving Pelosi. Indeed, after her statement in May some media and her political rivals accused her of being aware of the use of torture but concealing the information.

Meanwhile, observers say Congress should have the authority to hold CIA officials accountable for deliberate deceptions.