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CIA Refutes House Leader Claim

The head of the Central Intelligence Agency is rejecting claims by the leader of the House of Representatives that the CIA misled her about the use of waterboarding on suspected terrorists during a 2002 briefing.

CIA Director Leon Panetta told employees in a written statement Friday that records show the agency truthfully briefed lawmakers that year, during a closed session on enhanced interrogation methods.

Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who is the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, told reporters Thursday a CIA team under the Republican Bush administration specifically told her waterboarding, a practice that stimulates drowning, was not being used. Pelosi said she did not learn until five months later that the practice had already been used at the time of that 2002 briefing.

Pelosi has been under pressure by rival Republicans to answer questions about what she knew, and when she was told about the use of waterboarding, a practice President Barack Obama has called torture.

Panetta, a Democrat, and former senior member and close colleague of Pelosi in the House of Representatives, who was appointed by Mr. Obama, told employees it is not the agency's practice to mislead Congress. He also urged them to ignore the political battle and remain focused on their mission.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.