Panetta: Don’t Politicize the CIA

Leon Panetta said Monday that Congress should stop drawing the CIA into their partisan political battles. “If they start to use these issues as political clubs to beat each other up with, that’s when we not only pay a price but this country pays a price,” the CIA director said in a question and answer session after a speech in Los Angeles. Panetta added that he wanted to improve the CIA’s relationship with Congress, which was going through “a rough period.” Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed the CIA misled her in 2002 about interrogation techniques (she later said it was the Bush administration that was to blame). Panetta sent out a written statement refuting this claim, but seems to resent engaging in the political back-and-forth. He said he hopes the interrogation issue doesn’t become “so divisive” that it interferes with the CIA’s ability to prevent current threats to the U.S.