Leon Panetta today backed off on comments he made accusing the Bush administration of deliberately sending terror suspects abroad to be tortured, CQ Politics reports. "It's news to me," Sen Christopher Bond told the nominee to run the CIA. Panetta responded that he was referring to widely publicized allegations. But pressed further on “deliberative intent,” Panetta relented, saying, “To that extent, I retract” the remarks.
Bond then delivered a little lecture. “You cannot be making assumptions or judgments based on rumor or news stories,” he said, cautioning Panetta about “rash judgment on hearsay.” Panetta agreed. "You have my assurance. My approach is going to be to seek the truth.” A confirmation vote could come next week.