CQ Homeland Security: Pelosi Controversy Suggests Changes to Congressional Briefings Are Due

The partisan feuding over what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew and didn’t do about harsh interrogation techniques used during the George W. Bush administration has prompted a debate over Congress’ authority to receive information on or halt classified executive branch programs.

Pelosi, D-Calif., said on Thursday that she was exploring whether congressional briefings needed to be strengthened, and the chairman of the House Select Intelligence Committee signaled that his panel would soon advance legislation on the subject.

But while Pelosi said that only Democratic control of Congress and the White House could stop the harsh methods from being used, Republicans countered that they have at times employed tools Pelosi did not employ herself to effectively object to classified programs and have fought to overhaul the briefing process.