Oh, this is hilarious.

You may recall that at a recent Senate hearing, oil industry execs were asked whether their companies participated in Cheney’s notorious 2001 energy task force.

They said No. That was … what’s the word? … a lie.

Or was it? Apparently there’s some dispute:

Yesterday, Marnie Funk, a spokeswoman for the GOP staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, one of the two panels that convened the hearing, said its lawyers had reached a preliminary conclusion: Based on a court decision in which two groups unsuccessfully challenged the secrecy of the Cheney task force, Funk said the executives appeared to be telling the truth.

“What we simply determined was that the definition of ‘participation’ was something litigated, and what the court concluded was that attending meetings, and even making presentations, did not rise to the level of fully participating,” Funk said.

Gosh, it seems like, what, only one administration ago that these kinds of carefully parsed word games were considered a dire threat to the moral fiber of our children. Guess times change.