Pelosi and Boehner Briefed on Middle East Unrest


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Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker John Boehner was set to hold his own news conference Thursday with reporters, but 15 minutes after he was scheduled to face the Capitol Hill press corps, a spokesman announced that the news conference was cancelled.

A senior aide close to the speaker later confirmed that he cancelled because an “Intel meeting ran too long.”

A senior Democratic aide confirmed that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi attended the same briefing, although neither source would reveal who briefed the congressional leaders.

Officials from the National Counterterrorism Center also briefed members of the House Intelligence committee, while CIA director David Petraeus briefed the Senate Intelligence committee. A senior aide at the House Intelligence committee told ABC News that Petraeus is expected to brief members of the House committee Friday at a previously scheduled meeting.

At the end of her own news conference, Pelosi hinted that she had a meeting for which she could not be late.

“I have to go,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “We have some briefings that are coming up, and so I’m going to have to excuse myself.”

Before cutting her news conference short, Pelosi paid tribute to the victims in Libya, who she described as “American diplomats [who] served on the front lines of Libya’s quest for democracy, freedom and stability.”

“All members of Congress stand united in condemning this brazen, brazen attack, and we stand united condemning it in the strongest possible terms,” she said. “Their commitment to peace and security stand in stark contrast to those cowards who perpetrated this act.”

Meanwhile, when asked Wednesday whether he considered the Egyptian government an ally of the United States, President Obama balked, telling Telemundo, “I don’t think that we would consider them an ally but we don’t consider them an enemy.”

The White House worked to clarify those comments Thursday.

Pelosi was also noncommittal Thursday, telling reporters, “I don’t know about the word ‘ally.’ We’ll see.”

“Egypt is, I believe, the largest Muslim country in the world, that is a force in the Middle East, that is a country with whom we must have a good relationship. It’s important, again, for our national security interests and part of our national security interests involve the national security of Israel,” she said.

“But the fact is that we have an interest in Egypt’s success, and let’s hope that we can do that as allies.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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