House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she won't talk any more about her charge that the CIA lied about using waterboarding on terrorism suspects.
"I have made the statement that I'm going to make on this," she told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference. "I don't have anything more to say about it. I stand by my comment."
After CBS News' Capitol Hill Producer Jill Jackson asked the speaker to comment on the political storm sparked by her accusation, other reporters jumped in with a barrage of follow up questions, Jackson reports.
Pelosi said the topic was a distraction from important issues like health care and global warming, according to CBS News correspondent Bob Fuss.
But Republicans aren't letting this one slide.
Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, issued a statement after the news conference calling Pelosi a political liability to the Democratic party.
"Her obsession with the previous administration and her disdain for America's intelligence officials has reduced her to cheerleader status within the far left wing of her party and a distraction to the substantive debate over how to best move our economy forward," said Spain.
House Republicans on Thursday demanded that a bipartisan panel investigate her allegations.
"To have this charge out there and not have it resolved I think is damaging to our intelligence efforts, and certainly will have a chilling effect on our intelligence professionals around the world," House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.
Democrats beat back the proposal, calling it a political ploy. Republicans Ron Paul of Texas and Walter Jones of North Carolina joined Democrats in a 252-172 vote to block the resolution.
"This is a serious matter," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said of the CIA interrogation program, which at one point included waterboarding, or simulated drowning. President Barack Obama has called the method torture.
"But it's not being treated seriously," he said. "It's being treated politically."
Some Republicans, including Boehner, say the enhanced interrogation techniques were necessary to gain valuable intelligence after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Earlier this month, Pelosi told reporters that she had not been told that waterboarding had been used against terrorism suspects, even though it had been. When asked whether she was accusing the CIA of lying to her, she said "yes."
Pelosi has asked the CIA to declassify information supporting her claims. The CIA sent lawmakers its notes and memos on 40 congressional briefings on the interrogation techniques. But that document has been found to include several errors.
Upon leaving the news conference on Friday, Pelosi declined to answer a question about whether she had called CIA Director Leon Panetta to discuss the matter further.
Instead, Pelosi stuck to her script, saying that Democrats are making progress on other issues.
"We're going forward in a bipartisan way for jobs, health care, energy for our country," she said. Regarding the CIA's briefing of Congress on waterboarding, "I won't have anything more to say about it."
Panetta acknowledged in a May 6 letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Tex., that the CIA's list may not be completely accurate.
"In the end, you and the committee will have to determine whether this information is an accurate summary of what actually happened," Panetta wrote.
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