"Director Panetta stands by his May 15 statement," says CIA spokesman George Little. "It is not the policy or practice of the CIA to mislead Congress. This Agency and this Director believe it is vital to keep the Congress fully and currently informed. Director Panetta's actions back that up. As the letter from these six representatives notes, it was the CIA itself that took the initiative to notify the oversight committees."
According to an intelligence official familiar with the briefing, Panetta never said the CIA misled Congress.
"He took decisive steps to inform the oversight committees of something that hadn't been appropriately briefed in the past," the official said. "He didn't attribute motives to that."
Some Republicans don't see any wrongdoing.
"I don't believe the CIA has lied to Congress," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said today. He added that he is still waiting for Pelosi to back up her statement with facts or apologize for her remarks.
And, in fact, not even Reyes, the Democratic chairman of the intelligence committee, sees this as vindication for Pelosi.
In a statement released last night, Reyes tried to navigate his way to a position somewhere between Panetta and Pelosi. He says he agrees with Panetta that "the Agency does not and will not lie to Congress ... but, in rare instances, certain officers have not adhered to the high standards held, as a rule, by the CIA with respect to truthfulness in reporting."
That's a far cry from Pelosi's statement in May that "they mislead us all the time," but it leaves open the possibility they could have fallen short of those "high standards" of "truthfulness in reporting" when they briefed Pelosi back in September 2002.