BY CARL HULSE
The House on Thursday rejected a Republican call for a special investigation into whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi was told in September 2002 that the C.I.A. was subjecting terror suspects to waterboarding.
On a mainly party line vote of 252 to 172, Democrats upheld a ruling that a request for a special panel to look into the conflicting accounts of Ms. Pelosi and the intelligence community did not merit special treatment, but should be proposed as regular legislation.
The brief floor fight was the latest — but almost certainly not the last — development in the dispute revolving around Ms. Pelosi’s assertion that C.I.A. officials told her in the fall of 2002 only that they had determined the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were legal, not that they were employing them.
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI DECLINES FURTHER COMMENT
Democrats said the effort was purely partisan, a feeble attempt by Republicans who have found little other success countering Democrats in recent months. They circulated a document listing times when top Republicans had challenged the credibility of the C.IA.
“This resolution is a political stunt,” Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi, said. “It is a deliberate attempt to distract from the work the House is doing to create jobs and make progress on health care, energy, and education.”
But Republicans demonstrated they would continue to press the issue and, with the Memorial Day break approaching, were working to keep the clash alive.
Representative Rob Bishop, Republican of Utah, interrupted the House’s scheduled proceedings to offer his request that a special subcommittee of the Select Committee on Intelligence be formed to reconcile the claim of Ms. Pelosi and the position of the C.I.A. and others that she was told of the tough interrogation tactics.
Noting that Ms. Pelosi last week accused C.I.A. representatives of a pattern of misleading Congress in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Bishop said such a broad disagreement between the House speaker, who is second in line to the presidency, and the C.I.A. “is an untenable and improper situation to have.”
“It is imperative to find the truth of the matter,” he said.
But Representative William Lacy Clay, the Missouri Democrat presiding over the House, ruled that since the investigation would have to examine the statements of executive branch officials, it went beyond the scope of the special House procedure invoked by Mr. Bishop. At the urging of Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, Democrats voted to uphold that decision.
As the House was voting, former Vice President Dick Cheney delivered his verdict on Ms. Pelosi as he recounted his view of the interrogation program during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.
“On numerous occasions leading members of Congress, including the current speaker of the House, were briefed on the program and on the methods,” Mr. Cheney said, later adding: “Some members of Congress are notorious for demanding they be briefed into the most sensitive intelligence programs. They support them in private, and then head for the hills at the first sign of controversy.”
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