Democrats on the House Intelligence panel are calling for a full-scale investigation into allegations that the Central Intelligence Agency misled Congress multiple times over the past eight years.
Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois said in a recent letter to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee that the CIA's actions were inexcusable and called for lawmakers to launch an immediate investigation into the agency's alleged deception.
Democrats say that CIA Director Leon Panetta informed Congress in late June that his agency had been withholding important information about a secret program, begun after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Schakowsky announced today that the director has terminated the "very serious" covert program without the knowledge of Congress.
In response, Panetta is also launching an internal probe at his agency to determine why Congress was not told about the program.
Earlier this week, another recently publicized letter sent from seven Democrats on the Intelligence Committee to the director asked him to publicly admit that his agency had deceived Congress for several years. The release of the letter Wednesday reignited a continuing dispute between the spy agency and congressional Democrats.
"Recently you testified that you have determined that top CIA officials have concealed significant actions from all members of Congress, and misled members for a number of years from 2001 to this week," the letter said.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Democratic Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, wrote in a separate letter that the committee "has been misled, has not been provided full and complete notifications, and (in at least one occasion) was affirmatively lied to."
But some Republicans are accusing Democrats of using the matter as a diversion tactic to quiet controversy surrounding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi was criticized for not being forthcoming about when she received information on the agency's enhanced interrogation techniques.
She accused the CIA in May of misleading Congress in a 2002 briefing about the use of waterboarding against a terrorism suspect.
"I do not believe that the CIA lied to Congress," Minority Leader John Boehner told reporters on Thursday. "I'm still waiting for Speaker Pelosi to put up the facts or retract her statement and apologize."
The letters did not include any details about what information the CIA officials allegedly concealed or how they misled members of Congress.