CIA Boss Lies About His Earlier Lie, Proved Wrong By Earlier CIA Statements

from the lies-catch-up-to-you dept

Last week, we wrote about how CIA boss John Brennan was trying to do a bit of history rewriting concerning the CIA’s spying on Senate staffers’ computers. As you may recall, when the allegations first came out, Brennan insisted:

“Let me assure you the CIA was in no way spying on [the Senate Intelligence Committee] or the Senate.”

Except, back in July, the CIA’s Inspector General put out a report that not only confirmed the story, but showed that the spying was even worse than initially detailed. At the time, Brennan apparently apologized to Feinstein, but things have heated up recently, after Brennan further refused to reveal to the Senate who authorized the spying.

Now Brennan is continuing to try to spin the story, angrily hitting back at the reports out there. First up, he tries to spin that quote above by claiming the context was different:

?This is part of the mischaracterizations. The Council on Foreign Relations, [moderator] Andrea Mitchell, said, did in fact CIA officers hack into the Senate computers to thwart the investigation on potential interrogation? Thwart the investigation, hacking in ? no, we did not, and I said that?s beyond the scope of reason.”

But, no, what he actually said is that “the CIA was in no way spying on [the Senate Intelligence Committee] or the Senate.” It wasn’t about thwarting an investigation. He made a definitive statement about the spying. And that was a lie.

From there, he tries to spin the spying away as well, with his new go to line about those computers being CIA computers, so they had every right to search them:

?When the inspector general determined that based on the common understanding between the CIA and the [committee] about this arrangement of computers, that our officers had improperly accessed it, even though these were CIA facilities, CIA computers, and CIA had responsibility for the IT integrity of the system, I apologized to them for any improper access that was done, despite the fact that we didn?t have a memorandum of agreement.

?What I?ve said to the committee and others is that if I?ve done something wrong, I?ll stand up and admit it, but I?m not going to take, you know, the allegations about hacking and monitoring and spying and whatever else, no. ? When I think about that incident, I think there are things on both sides that need to be addressed.?

Except, of course, if you read what Feinstein actually said, she indicates that there was an agreement, and the agreement meant the CIA wouldn’t touch those machines.

Director Panetta proposed an alternative arrangement: to provide literally millions of pages of operational cables, internal emails, memos, and other documents pursuant to the committee?s document requests at a secure location in Northern Virginia. We agreed, but insisted on several conditions and protections to ensure the integrity of this congressional investigation.

Per an exchange of letters in 2009, then-Vice Chairman Bond, then-Director Panetta, and I agreed in an exchange of letters that the CIA was to provide a ?stand-alone computer system? with a ?network drive? ?segregated from CIA networks? for the committee that would only be accessed by information technology personnel at the CIA?who would ?not be permitted to? ?share information from the system with other [CIA] personnel, except as otherwise authorized by the committee.?

So, first off, Brennan appears to be lying that there was no agreement concerning that. But he’s also misleading in other ways, since it was just a few months ago that the CIA itself insisted that it wasn’t allowed to search those computers.

Senator Ron Wyden points our attention to a declaration from Neal Higgins, director of the CIA’s “Office of Congressional Affairs” in a FOIA lawsuit brought by the ACLU demanding the CIA release the Senate Intelligence Committee’s terror report. In that declaration, Higgins insists that the works on those computers are not the CIA’s and the CIA cannot access them, contradicting the new story from Brennan’s latest spin attempt. In fact, Higgins confirms Feinstein’s claim that there was a clear agreement between the Senate and the CIA concerning these computers.

One key principle necessary to this inter-branch accommodation, and a condition upon which SSCI insisted, was that the materials created by SSCI personnel on this segregated shared drive would not become ?agency records? even though this work product was being created and stored on a CIA computer system. Specifically, in a 2 June 2009 letter from the SSCI Chairman and Vice Chairman to the CIA Director, the Committee expressly stated that the SSCI?s work product, including ?draft and final recommendations, reports or other materials generated by Committee staff or Members, are the property of the Committee? and ?remain congressional records in their entirety.?

The SSCI further provided that the ?disposition and control over these records, even after the completion of the Committee?s review, lies exclusively with the Committee.? As such, the Committee stated that ?these records are not CIA records under the Freedom of Information Act or any other law? and that ?[t]he CIA may not integrate these records into its records filing systems, and may not disseminate or copy them, or use them for any purpose without prior written authorization from the Committee.? Finally, the SSCI requested that in response to a FOIA request seeking these records, the CIA should ?respond to the request or demand based upon the understanding that these are congressional, not CIA, records.?

So, we have both the Senate and the CIA admitting that there was an agreement that these systems were under Senate control and that both would treat the content on those machines as being the Senate’s property.

In other words, Brennan is now lying again to try to rewrite history concerning the original lie. That’s fairly impressive, but as Senator Wyden notes, it just highlights the culture of lying that has become pervasive at the CIA. You lie. Then you get caught and you apologize, but a few months later you lie again to pretend you never lied originally. But the facts here are clear. The CIA spied on the Senate, despite an agreement between the two that what’s on these computers was to be considered the Senate’s alone, even if the equipment was set up by the CIA. Then the CIA got caught. And now Brennan is lying again in pretending there was no agreement, even though someone who works for him already admitted that there was just such an agreement.

But, of course, in this administration, apparently flat-out lying is not grounds for losing your job.

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Comments on “CIA Boss Lies About His Earlier Lie, Proved Wrong By Earlier CIA Statements”

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Anonymous Coward says:

People have been forcibly resigned for less

Why has he not been forced to step down yet? He’s perjured, broken the law, disgraced many facets of the government, and still has a job?! Some of us spied-upon plebs lose our jobs if we’re two effing minutes late clocking in, and he can literally lie to Congress and keep his. The only way he could get away with more murder is if he was a cop.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: People have been forcibly resigned for less

While Congress is in charge of the funding for the CIA, the President is in charge of appointing the director – and Obama does not seem to care if the CIA director lies to Congress.

So unless Congress de-funds the CIA, I’m not sure there is much they can do other than kicking and screaming.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: People have been forcibly resigned for less

Serious question: Does Congress have no authority to impeach him? Can they not sue as they are currently over Executive Orders? I find it hard to believe that Congress cannot do anything, as that runs counter to the (nowadays obviously useless) checks and balances system. Far more believable, though, that they simply do not give a shit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: People have been forcibly resigned for less

Serious question: Does Congress have no authority to impeach him?

Pretty sure they can. “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” I think he’d qualify as a “civil officer”.

But they’d have to get 2/3 of the Senate to agree. Normally that would be impossible, given the political makeup of the Senate… but since they actually spied on Senate members… well, it’s still unlikely, but no longer impossible.

David says:

Re: Re: People have been forcibly resigned for less

the President is in charge of appointing the director – and Obama does not seem to care if the CIA director lies to Congress.

I think you are being unfair here: I think Obama cares very much. In fact, if Brennan had not expressed his willingness to lie to congress, press and people as much as can be expected from a high-ranking member of this administration, he would not likely hold his current position.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: People have been forcibly resigned for less

I’m always amazed that nobody can see the obvious.

An employee gets fired from a job when the employee does something that the employer does NOT want its employees to do.

John Brennan has obviously done NOTHING that his employer did NOT want him to do.

To put that in a simpler phrase with fewer negatives;

Brennan has consistently done exactly what he has been told to do by his employer and thus, remains an exemplary employee, whose pay has probably increased continuously since he started the job.

To put that in an even simpler phrase;

Brenna is a paid liar, and just doing the job he was hired to do.

Why Brennan appears to be less than effective at his job, is entirely due to Snowden’s expose’ of the reality behind the standard plausible denials that Brennan was trained to vomit into the public’s face on command.

If not for Snowden, everything Brennan (and his boss) has said, would have been accepted as untarnished gospel by the American public.

Sadly, due entirely to the position of power he holds and the high esteem Americans bestow on those who hold such positions, most Americans STILL accept everything Brennan (and his boss) say, as gospel.

Which is of course, why nothing is getting better and why people like Brennan keep on lying and keep their jobs.

Jerrymiah (profile) says:

Re: Scooter Libby did time.

Why is he not in jail??? Name me one of Barack Obama’s appointee that in jail or has been in jail since he took office in 2008. His whole administration and a lot of his appointees have been caught lying to the Senate or Congress and none of them have been sentence to jail time. Even Eric Holder for a lot of the anti contitutional activities he has carried on during his term in office.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Scooter Libby did time.

Most of the time it is the wink and nudge system. Everyone knows this was a crime, and everyone knows they should do something about it. But the executive branch has no incentive to clean up their own, and the legislative doesn’t either unless they think the political hay will be worth it.
Congress knows that they, or their friends, lie and commit what we the people would consider crimes all the time. If they go after these guys, someone might go after them.
No one in Congress wants to actually reform anything because they know their own words will be used against them and theirs down the road.

Sorry, the system is too corrupt for internal reform. Both political parties have it too good. Pressure for reform has to come from outside the DC bubble universe, and must be intense and continuous.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Scooter Libby did time.

Too bad all the Real American Patriots died off so long ago.

They sure as hell would not have put up with this government for hire and its candy-ass marriage to the Mob and Big Business.

These new folks, pretending to be Americans, are such insecure wussies that they’re willing to sell grandma to the butchers if it means a promise of evading the butcher’s block themselves – even though that promise, like all the rest before it, will soon be broken.

Who was it that said:

“You get the government you deserve.”


“Today, Americans would be outraged if UN troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful!

This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence.

It is then that all peoples of the world will pledge with world leaders to deliver them from this evil.

The one thing every man fears is the unknown.

When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being, granted to them by their world government.”

Henry Kissinger, May 21st, 1992, Evian France.


That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

But but but if we punish him people might lose faith in the system!

Because letting a liar go unpunished who is willing to lie to the people who are supposed to provide oversight, is the perfect way to run things.

Screw the optics & spin.
He lied to Congress, he lied to the American people.
How can he still have a position of trust and authority?
Does that undermine a little bit more?

GEMont says:

As the Nose Grows...

“But, of course, in this administration, apparently flat-out lying is not grounds for losing your job.”

…grounds for losing your job??

Hell, the ability to lie straight-faced, often and sincerely, is the primary prerequisite for getting the job in the first place.

Lying effectively and fooling most of the people all of the time for the Most Transparent Administration In American History, is actually the standard criteria for promotion.

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