CIA Spying On The Senate Went Much Further Than Originally Reported
from the because-of-course-it-did dept
We already covered how the CIA has admitted to and apologized for its spying on the Senate, but the CIA’s official “unclassified” statement on the matter shows that what the CIA did was even worse than the initial allegations. Here’s the basic summary, according to the CIA’s Inspector General:
Agency Access to Files on the SSCI RDINet: Five Agency employees, two attorneys and three information technology (IT) staff members, improperly accessed or caused access to the SSCI Majority staff shared drives on the RDINet.
Agency Crimes Report on Alleged Misconduct by SSCI Staff: The Agency filed a crimes report with the DOJ, as required by Executive Order 12333 and the 1995 Crimes Reporting Memorandum between the DOJ and the Intelligence Community, reporting that SSCI staff members may have improperly accessed Agency information on the RDINet. However, the factual basis for the referral was not supported, as the author of the referral had been provided inaccurate information on which the letter was based. After review, the DOJ declined to open a criminal investigation of the matter alleged in the crimes report.
Office of Security Review of SSCI Staff Activity: Subsequent to directive by the D/CIA to halt the Agency review of SSCI staff access to the RDINet, and unaware of the D/CIA?s direction, the Office of Security conducted a limited investigation of SSCI activities on the RDINet. That effort included a keyword search of all and a review of some of the emails of SSCI Majority staff members on the RDINet system.
Lack of Candor: The three IT staff members demonstrated a lack of candor about their activities during interviews by the OIG.
So, the first bit we already knew. That’s what Senator Feinstein initially revealed — and Brennan pretended to deny, while actually admitting to the facts about them accessing the Senate Intelligence Committee’s private network where they were storing documents for their investigation into the CIA’s torture program.
We also knew that the CIA had bogusly reported the Senate staffers to the DOJ, claiming they had “improperly accessed” CIA information. However, now the CIA is admitting that “the factual basis for the referral was not supported.” In other words, for all of Brennan’s blustering about how awful the Senate staffers were and how they were breaking the law, it appears that the CIA knew they were making it up. That’s really bad.
But it’s the next item where things get really dicey. After all of this came out and Brennan told the CIA folks to knock it off, CIA people spied on the emails of the Senate staffers. Let’s repeat that. After Feinstein had already made this public and called the CIA out on its spying of intelligence committee staff members and after Brennan told them to knock if off, the CIA went and directly spied on emails. The AP is further reporting that “the CIA used classified “hacking tools” and created a fake user account in an effort to retrieve documents the CIA believed the Senate staffers had improperly accessed.”
This is a major problem, and something of a Constitutional issue, given the separation of powers. No wonder Mark Udall is demanding Brennan’s resignation.
Oh, and then we find out that the CIA staffers involved “demonstrated a lack of candor” about all this during the internal investigation by the CIA? Sure, it’s an intelligence agency that’s built on lying, but it certainly looks like the culture of professionally lying all the time is pretty deep there. Over at Foreign Policy, Shane Harris has gone through the many statements Brennan made vehemently denying the spying. It appears that all of them were false and in some cases, blatant lies.
And, remember, this is only what the CIA has deemed worthy of revealing publicly. The full Inspector General report may be even more devastating.