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May 20th, 2009
11:58 AM ET

Former Powell aide: CIA has history of lying

Colin Powell's former chief of staff says CIA leadership has a history of not telling Congress the whole truth.

Colin Powell's former chief of staff says CIA leadership has a history of not telling Congress the whole truth.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still under fire for her words that the Central Intelligence Agency misled her about enhanced interrogation techniques. Many responded with surprise and some with outrage at the claim, but should we really expect America’s chief spy agency, known for its covert operations and layers of secrecy, to tell Congress everything?

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson says not necessarily. He was the Chief of Staff for former Secretary of State Colin Powell. He spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday.

Chetry: You say it’s a common practice for the CIA not to tell Congress everything they’re doing. It might not be policy, but you say it happens all the time. Give us some examples.

Wilkerson: Well, it does happen. And let me say right off the bat - let me just say something about my bona fides, as opposed to Michael Gerson’s, for example, writing on the op-ed page of the "Washington Post" this morning. The "Post" continues to stun me with what they allow to appear on their op-ed pages, lambasting the Democratic and others who might as he calls it "attack the CIA."

Well, Michael Gerson has no bona fides. I’ve got 35 years of bona fides. I have used tactical, operational, strategic intelligence from the agency for 35 years from Vietnam all the way forward to Iraq. I’ve studied it as an academic. I know about its origins in the OSS
 during World War II. I know about its institution in the 1947 National Security Act. And I
 know the crimes and the ravages that have been perpetrated in the name of the American people, the blood and the treasure that's been expended by the CIA over that half century. Plus, I also know the successes that it’s achieved. So, it's a mixed bag.

But to answer your question directly – 
the CIA does not have the leadership, not the good people in the ranks of the CIA, but the leadership of the CIA does not have a stellar record about telling the full and unequivocal truth about its covert operations.

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Filed under: CIA