Leon Panetta, Director of the CIA, reportedly gave closed-door testimony to Congress indicating that the CIA withheld certain information from Congress, but there is no indication what that information concerned. This stands in stark contrast to Panetta’s prior public statement that Congress was “truthfully” informed regarding interrogation techniques, despite Nancy Pelosi’s public statements to the contrary.
Needless to say, the testimony is being used to exonerate Pelosi from her accusation that she was misled as to interrogation techniques. In fact, unless the testimony specifically speaks to the interrogation disclosures, Panetta’s testimony actually confirms that Pelosi was not misled as to interrogations.
A letter from several Congressmen asking Panetta to correct Panetta’s general statement that it is not CIA practice to mislead Congress, does not address specifically the interrogation techniques issue. The CIA denies that Panetta told Congress that the CIA lied. By leaking a letter addressing only generalized accusations, the Democratic Congressmen get the best of all worlds; they get to underhandedly accuse the CIA of lying to Congress, without having such accusations tested because the substance is classified. They also give their Speaker some ammunition with which to defend herself, and avoid this question:
Why would Panetta confidentially disclose that some programs or information were withheld (assuming that such characterization of the testimony is accurate), but be willing to state publicly that Pelosi was not misled on interrogations?
Until we learn more about the testimony, we cannot say for sure, but as of now, it appears that Panetta is standing by his prior public statement that Congress, including Pelosi, was not misled as to interrogation techniques, even if Congress allegedly was misled as to some other issue.
UPDATE: This Washington Post story appears to confirm that the program allegedly concealed from Congress had nothing to do with interrogation methods. So whatever is in dispute between Congress and the CIA, it does not exonerate Nancy Pelosi from her representation that the CIA concealed information from her regarding interrogation of al-Qaeda detainees.