May 15th, 2009
09:20 PM ET

Panetta urges Agency to 'ignore the noise'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/15/art.cia.gi.jpg caption="The CIA Director is urging the workforce to 'ignore the noise.'"]

CIA Director Leon Panetta is urging the agency's employees to "ignore the noise" surrounding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claim she was misled by the organization on interrogation techniques.

In a memo obtained by CNN, Panetta tells the workforce, "There is a long tradition in Washington of making political hay out of our business. It predates my service with this great institution, and it will be around long after I'm gone."


Filed under: Raw Politics • T1
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Leon Panetta has to stand up for his own agency, of course, but the CIA's abysmal reputation is well deserved. Spying is a dirty, amoral business, and they are the last people to whom I would give the benefit of doubt. Torture, extraordinary renditions, secret prisons ... need I go on? Oh, I'm sure the bureaucrats observe the letter of the law and dutifully brief the selected representatives from the Congressional intelligence committee, but you'd be a fool to think that they don't spin those briefings to their best advantage and that of the executive.

    The fact remains that the US tortured as a matter of policy in violation of US and international law. In turn, President Bush repeatedly lied to the American people by claiming over and over, "the US does not torture."

    Whether or not Pelosi, as the ranking minorty member of the intelligence committee, knew about waterboarding in 2002 or 2003, the issue is a red herring. The important question is "Why did the US knowingly engage in torture in violation of our laws, knowing full well that it is a war crime?"

    From news reports, it appears that torture was not limited to Guantanamo or even secret CIA prisons, but included Afghanistan and Iraq as well. Iraqi prisoners, following the US invasion, were certainly prisoners of war by any definition and there can be no doubt that they were covered by the Geneva convention. What justification then could there be for using "enhanced interrogation techniques" with them?

    Personally, I am sick of apologists for torture on both sides of the aisle.

    May 17, 2009 at 1:59 am |
  2. JC-Los Angeles

    The mere fact that Nancy Pelosi ascended to such a position of authority in the first place says an awful lot about the egregiously horrid state of our nation.

    It's quite apparent that most members of Capitol Hill, Wall Street and Corporate America are abject failures who achieved their lofty positions simply through connections and money.

    Until hard work, talent, ethics, vision and leadership are required, our nation will mirror the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    May 16, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  3. W. Bishop

    Here's a new word: Pelosigate 🙂

    May 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  4. Pat, VA

    This is bordering on crazy. All of a sudden Nancy is the only one who knew what was going on and the torturing is her fault? Any reasonable person would not believe she is the only one who knew what was going on. Even if she did, who was she going to report her opposition to! This was the Bush/Cheney era and no one was going against them.
    Everyone is saying she needs to come clean or resign her position. Doesn't that go for all in the know? It seems the news media is jumping on the "tar and feather" Pelosi bandwagon too and not trying to find the real truth about our use of torture following 9/11.

    May 16, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  5. niki

    The CIA lies to Congress
    I'm not surprised that the Republicans have targeted Nancy Pelosi. Throughout her career she has been a partisan and a progressive and the Republicans have been the target of her criticism. But for the media – and particularly for David Gergen – to suggest that the CIA doesn't lie to Congress is a joke. Intelligence Agencies are created to lie to the public to justify whatever the government wants done.

    Lying is just one technique in their repertoire of dirty tricks. How many ex-CIA agents were involved in the Watergate break-in or Iran – Contra – if you can be ex-CIA – and how many of them are now talk-radio hosts and occasional contributors to CNN.

    Oliver North exploited his intellgence connections in Iran-Contra and bragged about lying to Congress. TV News hosts who talk about Pelosi impugning the reputations of people defending their country are the one's who are lying. Congress needs to revive true oversight committees like the one chaired by Idaho senator Frank Church in the 70's. Unfortunately most of the CIA's illegal activities such as domestic spying, assassination, torture and other crimes were covered up by successive administrations.

    Isn't it ironic that Nancy Pelosi is being attacked by the media, the CIA and the Republicans for accusing those innocent honest professional CIA defenders of lying to to Congress about the fact that they were illegally torturing people to extract information to justify an invasion of Iraq.

    The CIA is like some TV News announcers – You can tell when they're lying because their lips are moving.

    May 16, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  6. Larry, Ohio

    Are we talking about the same CIA here? The CIA who most recently boasted that they destroyed a mountain of video evidence showing torture? Or, perhaps the CIA who provided the evidence for WMD in the race to war with Iraq? I know, the CIA who used the illegal Bush doctrines of wire tapping American Citizens. Maybe were talking about the CIA who orchestrated the Iran – Contra deal. No, maybe we're talking about the CIA who invested massive amounts of time investigating people like John Lennon for their dangerous stance on peace and love. I think it's time that Bush, Cheney,Rice, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Pelosi, and any member of the CIA who have made a mockery of the rule pf law, do a little hard time of there own.

    May 16, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  7. Gary

    Everyone wants Pelosi to tell the truth. When did the people of the Bush regime ever tell the truth? And what truth will Pelosi reveal, that she was told about the interrogations? So she was told? Was she the one who suggested using torture in the first place? Were "enhanced interrogations" her idea? Does being informed make
    her a conspirator?

    The answer to those questions is no. Pelosi does not need
    to share the blame for torture by the Bush regime. Pelosi was in the
    minority camp, the Democrats, at the time and anyone who thinks that
    she had any political clout that she might have used to change the
    policies of the Bush regime is dreaming. Has everyone forgotten the utter contempt Bush and his Republicans had for the "loser" Democrats at that time? Does anyone really believe either Bush or Cheney gave a rat's ass about what Pelosi wanted or believed? Or any other Democrat, for that matter?

    Telling Pelosi that they were using certain methods of interrogation is not the same as asking her for an opinion and showing respect for her opinion. No way. They simply presented her with a fait accompli
    with the understanding that she could lump it or leave it. What did
    Bush and Cheney care? They had all the power.

    May 16, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  8. Sam Smith

    Watching 360 May 15 and A. Cooper made the statement "Someone isn't telling the truth." You call youself a reporter with that statement? If you can't tell who is lying by the actions and statments of Pelosi then you have to be the worse news man ever, that goes double for David Gergen who was on the program that day and he said the same thing.

    It's no wonder I watch Fox.

    May 16, 2009 at 5:26 am |
  9. Patrick Wheeler

    Nancy Pelosi has got to go. You folks at CNN need to keep pursuing this story until the truth is obtained. Nancy and her far-left backers started this whole sordid mess, she lied and they lied. David Gergen should also insist on the pursuit of the truth. Newt Gingrich is right Nancy is one of two things: 1) incompetent ( stupid) or 2) a" lying liar " as Al Franken would say. Cudos to your reporter Yeltsin. I'm 65 yrs. old, once a democrat, but left the party due to Bill Clinton and his sordid behavior. Why has no one ever pursued the story behind Hillary Clinton diverting over 100 million dollars of Katrina Disaster Funds to the state of NY? No wonder there are still people out of their homes, and all the while the Dems blaming FEMA and Bush. Where has the media been? When will you provide facts and truth?

    May 16, 2009 at 1:36 am |
  10. Cynthia

    My fellow citizens-there will be no getting to the bottom of this lying mess because as Ms. Young states, too many in office would be proven not fit for service. The only way "we the people" will beable to take OUR country back is to force the administration to reveal ALL the facts. I personally am not hopeful that will happen. The good news is there really is a creator and I am betting Jehovah is about had enough!

    May 15, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  11. Lewis Odom

    I was surprised with David Gergen's superficial analysis of Panetta's statement. He referred to a report of the briefing with Pelosi that "indicated" that the briefing included all types of interrogation techniques, including waterboarding (although it did not say so), used by the CIA. Panetta has no personal knowledge of what took place. I would like to know what he meant with the use of "indicated". Before Cooper assumes that either Panetta or Pelosi is lieing he needs to read more carefully the statements by both. But it makes for a better story to assume the worst of each. And that is what Cooper is all about.

    May 15, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  12. Sid Badakhsh

    Dear Annie Kate, I respect your judgment on this issue but I have to inform you that the sordid chapter of our history was opened up starting with the end of 19th century and has never been and will never be closed. This is how America has conducted its business for a long time.
    I recommend a book by Stephen Kinzer called "OVERTHROW – America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq". It's an eye-opener.

    May 15, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  13. Peter

    Now we know the only think faker then her smile is her version of what she knew.It would have served her best to tell the truth but now she has proven to me that she is not fit to serve.

    May 15, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  14. Annie Kate

    The time for impeachment is past – Bush and Cheney are already out of office and Obama didn't make the decision to use torture and hopefully won't. We do need to investigate what actually happened, when, by whose authority, and how long it went on and who all knew about it. The truth needs to be sought on this so that this sordid chapter of our history can be finally closed.

    May 15, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  15. Marcella Young

    I'm a Democrat but when Nancy Pelosi said Impeachment was off the table I knew she had something to hide. Now she should fess up and face the music. I am tied of dishonest people in Washington and if that means getting rid of everyone, fine with me. It they can't let go of the big company lobby and all the pork each person thinks he/she has to have for his state then it is time to get rid of the old and put in some new blood. For the record, I'm 65.

    May 15, 2009 at 4:41 pm |