Panetta Looks to Improve CIA’s Ties to Hill

Posted May 18, 2009 at 4:41pm

Acknowledging that “we’ve been through a rough period,— CIA Director Leon Panetta on Monday said he wants to repair relations with Congress. Panetta, who spoke in Los Angeles to the Pacific Council on International Policy, said he wants Congress to share with the CIA the responsibility for defending national security. “I do believe in the responsibility of the Congress not only to oversee our operations but to share in the responsibility to ensure we have the resources to protect this country,— Panetta said. “My goal is to do everything I can to try to improve that relationship.—Panetta said there has “been a lot of poison in the well in these last few weeks,— adding he had “never seen Washington as partisan as it is.—In an apparent reference to the furor surrounding the dispute between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the CIA over whether she was informed in 2002 that the agency was practicing waterboarding, he said that when lawmakers use “political clubs— to beat each other up, “the country pays a price.— Panetta said he supports a policy in which the CIA would brief all members of the Intelligence committees instead of just the chairman and ranking member.Panetta will be on Capitol Hill to visit with lawmakers Tuesday, he said, although he did not describe what will be discussed.