From NBC's Mark Murray
Republicans are doing everything they can to pour lighter fluid on the controversy surrounding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Repeating his call from this past weekend, House Minority Leader John Boehner has penned an op-ed in U.S. News & World Report that asks Pelosi to either produce evidence that the CIA misled her about its use of waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques, or to apologize.
Accusing our intelligence professionals of lying to Congress is a very serious charge. If true, the speaker should produce evidence supporting her claim and turn it over to the Justice Department for potential prosecution. If she is unwilling to do so, then she should retract her statement and apologize to the men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our nation. It is as simple as that, and as of this writing, the ball remains squarely in the speaker's court.
Let's be clear: this entire controversy never should have happened. It all began with the Obama administration's decision to selectively release some of the memos describing enhanced interrogation techniques utilized in the wake of September 11—the same techniques the speaker now acknowledges she knew about.
*** UPDATE *** NBC's Luke Russert has more on this Pelosi-vs.-CIA flap: "In his weekly pen and pad news conference this week, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer continued to deal with questions regarding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the accusations she made against the CIA... On the issue, Hoyer said: 'Let me be clear, so there is no misinterpretation of my view: I believe the speaker.' Hoyer went on to say that the perpetuation of the controversy surrounding the speaker was a 'Republican tactic to distract the public from focusing on what was done what the justification for doing it was.'"
More from Russert: "When asked what she should do to put the CIA issue past her, Hoyer said: 'She's telling exactly what happened.' He then accused the media of overplaying the story. 'As long as you feed on it, the Republicans will continue to feed.' Hoyer called the controversy a 'distraction' and said to the dozens of reporters in the room: 'You guys want to hang on to this thing like a laser...that's unfortunate.'"