“Congress, FBI Clash on Lie Test”

Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau chief Lynn Sweet reports. Excerpt:

WASHINGTON–The FBI is trying to find out whether lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committees have been leaking classified information about the Sept. 11 attacks, even asking them if they would be willing to take lie detector tests.

But some of the lawmakers are balking at submitting to a polygraph.

”The Senate and, I assume, the House, has always investigated their own,” Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told the Associated Press.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the intelligence panel, was interviewed by the FBI for about 20 minutes in a special room at the Capitol–a super secure soundproof chamber swept for electronic listening devices.

Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), on the House intelligence panel, also was quizzed for about 30 minutes.

Durbin, in Springfield on Friday, did not want to comment on the leak probe, said Joe Shoemaker, his press secretary. He said Durbin did not tell him about the contents of the FBI interview because “it is all classified.”

“The senator is certainly not going to comment on a leak investigation by leaking,” Shoemaker said.

LaHood “can’t say a whole lot about it,” said Tim Butler, his press secretary.

The House and Senate committee members were not asked to take a polygraph exam; the FBI asked if they would be willing to submit to one if requested.

Shoemaker said he did not know what Durbin told the FBI. Butler said LaHood would be willing to take the test if the committee members, in a vote, decided that was the best course to take. That way, no one would be singled out.

There is always a question about the reliability of polygraphs, and the results of such tests are not admissible in court.

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