CIA Accused Of Spying On Senate Intelligence Committee Staffers

from the biting-the-hand-that-oversees-you dept

While at times, it’s appeared that the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Dianne Feinstein, serves more to prop up the intelligence community than to handle oversight, it has actually clashed quite a bit with the CIA. We’ve discussed a few times how the Committee has been pushing to release a supposedly devastating 6,000 page report about the CIA’s torture program, which cost taxpayers an equally astounding $40 million to produce. However, the CIA has been fighting hard to block the release of the report, arguing that it misrepresents the CIA’s actions.

However, things are getting even more bizarre, as the NY Times is reporting that the CIA is now accused of spying on the Intelligence Committee and its staffers in its attempt to keep that report from being released.

The details are still a little cloudy, but in December, Senator Mark Udall revealed that the Senate Intelligence Committee had come across an internal CIA study that apparently corroborated the information that is in the big Senate report — and which directly contradicted claims by the CIA to the Committee about how the report was inaccurate — suggesting that, on top of everything else, the CIA lied to the Intelligence Committee. Udall quizzed CIA boss John Brennan about that internal report. And according to the NY Times, it appears that CIA folks freaked out that the Intelligence Committee somehow got access to that internal study, and responded the way the CIA knows best: by starting to spy on Intelligence Committee staffers:

The agency’s inspector general began the inquiry partly as a response to complaints from members of Congress that C.I.A. employees were improperly monitoring the work of staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to government officials with knowledge of the investigation.

The committee has spent several years working on a voluminous report about the detention and interrogation program, and according to one official interviewed in recent days, C.I.A. officers went as far as gaining access to computer networks used by the committee to carry out its investigation.

On Tuesday, Udall sent a strongly worded letter to President Obama, pushing for the declassification and release of the big 6,300 page report, but also that internal CIA study, which would highlight how the CIA lied. On top of that, he made an oblique reference to this spying activity by the CIA:

As you are aware, the CIA has recently taken unprecedented action against the Committee in relation to the internal CIA review, and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the Committee’s oversight responsibilities and for our democracy. It is essential that the Committee be able to do its oversight work — consistent with our constitutional principle of the separation of powers — without the CIA posing impediments or obstacles as it is today.

In many ways, the idea that the CIA is directly spying on the Senate Committee charged with its own oversight is a bigger potential scandal than many of the Snowden NSA revelations so far. Even more importantly, it may finally lead to Congress taking action against an out-of-control intelligence community.

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Comments on “CIA Accused Of Spying On Senate Intelligence Committee Staffers”

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anon says:

Rope more Rope

I think Politicians honestly think they are immune from what happens around them, they honestly think they are not the same as anyone else, their greed for wealth and power will be their downfall when more and more of them fall due to something coming out due to the spying they have approved.

I am waiting with baited breath for the tapes to be released where Obama has been spied on by all intelligence agencies, damn who could ever give up on the one phone tap of a family that could give more information about what is happening in the country and the world.

Nothing will be released now Obama could have too may people destroyed with his power , but when his is relived of his position as President …well i am sure there will be many many leaks of his conversations and those of his wife and children.

Anonymous Coward says:

Even more importantly, it may finally lead to Congress taking action against an out of control intelligence community.

I agree. This was targeted against their own staffers. Since it affects people they work with every day, they’re more likely to care. That’s just human nature.

and according to one official interviewed in recent days, C.I.A. officers went as far as gaining access to computer networks used by the committee to carry out its investigation.

Kinda too bad they apparently don’t know exactly who was in charge of ordering this. Can’t they use their investigatory powers to find out? This isn’t the sort of thing the CIA can claim executive privilege on, and they can’t claim it’s classified to the committee in charge of their oversight.

edpo says:


“Asked about the tension between the committee and the spy agency it oversees, Ms. Feinstein said, ?Our oversight role will prevail.?


At the tail-end of her career, Sen. Feinstein is seeing just how ineffective she is, and just how much the spy agencies abuse our own citizens. Maybe if she hadn’t supported them at every turn instead of abandoning her actual oversight role, the abuses could have been stopped prior to the agencies spying on a legally-authorized investigative committee of the legislative branch.

The U.S. executive branch is out of control, and neither the legislative nor the judicial branches have the integrity and wherewithal to stop it. Let’s just get rid of those two branches of government and go straight to tyranny.

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