Democrats on the House intelligence committee said Thursday that CIA officers broke the law in 2002 if they told Nancy Pelosi then that they had not yet engaged in waterboarding.
"If they make a false report, absolutely it's illegal," said Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. "If they fail to make a report when they're obligated to that is also illegal — a violation of the National Security Act."
Said CIA Spokesman George Little: “It is not the policy of the CIA to mislead the United States Congress.”
Schiff said that the "question of recourse [against the CIA] has come up actually a number of times — not just in this context." But he said it's "very difficult because for one thing you can't publicly disclose the information and to actually bring perjury charges or bring an action under the National Security Act without making it public is probably not possible."
The act provides little in the way of recourse, but the committee is seriously looking at revising the law so that there are ramifications for failing to brief Congress on critical intelligence matters, aides said.
At a press briefing Thursday, Pelosi denied that the CIA told her in Sept. 2002 that the United States had waterboarded al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah.
Pelosi was the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee at the time of the 2002 briefing. The current chairman, Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), acknowledged Thursday that the "committee does not keep any records" about briefings that leaders of the committee and Congress receive.
"I tell you who you need to get — that's Hoekstra, who is running for governor with irresponsible undertakings, and you tell him I said so," said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), referring to Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the committee and a leading Pelosi critic.........