Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, panned the recent criticism of Pelosi as a "distraction" during a verbal tangle with Republican Whip Eric Cantor on the House floor.
But when asked directly whether he shares Pelosi's belief that the CIA misled Congress, he backed off.
"I have no idea of that. I don't have a belief of that nature because I have no basis on which to base such a belief," Hoyer said. "And I certainly hope that's not the case. And I don't draw that conclusion."
Hoyer was challenged on the issue after Pelosi, facing questions over how much she knew early on about the Bush administration's interrogation policies, told reporters Thursday afternoon that the CIA misled Congress. She adamantly insisted that she was not aware that waterboarding or other enhanced interrogation techniques were being used on terrorism suspects.
"Every step of the way the administration was misleading the Congress, and that is the issue and that's why we need a truth commission," she said, referring to her call for a congressional investigation into such Bush-era policies.
But Republicans stirred skepticism over her accusation against the CIA.
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