In a rare gesture, House intelligence committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes sent a letter this week to all CIA employees suggesting that Congress shared some blame for the CIA interrogation controversy and should play a more robust role in the intelligence policymaking process.
By Eli Lake and Bill Gertz, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The letter, which was sent Wednesday and made available to The Washington Times on Thursday, appeared to undercut remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that there was little Congress could do about harsh interrogations, including waterboarding. The Times reported last month that members of Congress, including Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, had been briefed on numerous occasions about the interrogation program for high-value detainees.
“One important lesson to me from the CIA’s interrogation operations involves congressional oversight,” wrote Mr. Reyes, Texas Democrat. “I’m going to examine closely ways in which we can change the law to make our own oversight of CIA more meaningful; I want to move from mere notification to real discussion. Good oversight can lead to a partnership, and that’s what I am looking to bring about.”
The letter both seeks to excuse Democrats who were briefed after Sept. 11, 2001, about interrogation techniques such as waterboarding and at the same time suggests that members of Congress cleared to receive highly classified material have a responsibility in the future to let their criticisms be known.