Longtime Arlen Specter watchers are familiar with the phenomena: Are we going to see Good Arlen, or Bad Arlen? Well, this time, Good Arlen comes out to defend Nancy Pelosi - and attacks the CIA's record on honesty:
Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) took the opportunity Wednesday to defend House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has come under fire in recent weeks over a controversy surrounding when she was told of the use of enhanced interrogation techniques being used by the CIA.
"The CIA has a very bad record when it comes to — I was about to say 'candid'; that's too mild — to honesty," Specter, a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a lunch address to the American Law Institute. He cited misleading information about the agency's involvement in mining harbors in Nicaragua and the Iran-Contra affair.
"Director [Leon] Panetta says the agency does not make it a habit to misinform Congress. I believe that is true. It is not the policy of the Central Intelligence Agency to misinform Congress," Specter said. "But that doesn't mean that they're all giving out the information."
Because of leaks that have come from Congress, Specter said, he understands the agency's hesitancy to disclose all its information.
"The current controversy involving Speaker Pelosi and the CIA is very unfortunate, in my opinion, because it politicizes the issue and it takes away attention from ... how does the Congress get accurate information from the CIA?" Specter said. "For political gain, people are making headlines."