Senate Intelligence Committee Members Ask White House For Official Apology From CIA For Hacking Senate Computers

from the CIA:-it's-time-to-let-unacknowledged-wrongdoing-remain-unacknowledged dept

Ron Wyden, Martin Heinrich and Mazie Hirono — all members of Senate Intelligence Committee — have sent a letter to the President demanding an official apology from CIA head John Brennan for the agency’s surveillance of Senate staffers working on the Torture Report.

“In January 2014, CIA personnel conducted an unauthorized, unprecedented search of Senate committee files, including the emails and other files of Senate staff investigating the CIA’s use of torture,” says the letter…

“The CIA Inspector General stated in a July 2014 report that this search involved ‘improper agency access to [Senate Intelligence Committee] files.’ A review board selected by CIA Director Brennan concluded in December 2014 that this CIA search ‘resulted in inappropriate access to [Senate Intelligence Committee] work product’.”


“We believe that it is necessary for you to ensure that senior officials in your administration recognize the importance of adhering to the rule of law,” the lawmakers wrote to Obama. “We ask that you instruct Director Brennan to acknowledge that the CIA’s unauthorized search of Senate files was improper and will not be repeated.”

The White House and CIA have yet to comment on the letter and there’s nothing in the history of the incident that suggests either will move forward on this. Obama’s on short time and the CIA already cleared itself of all wrongdoing with an in-house “investigation” and further showed its disdain for independent oversight by throwing its Inspector General and his report on the spying efforts under the bus.

Jason Leopold and Vice obtained hundreds of documents through FOIA requests that appeared to show the opposite of what the CIA’s internal investigation claimed. But it was the CIA that had the last word, proclaiming itself innocent and simultaneously accusing Senate staffers of improperly accessing restricted documents.

But the most damning document — at least in the context of a demand for an official apology from the CIA — was the apology the agency unofficially disavowed when it cleared itself of hacking allegations.

[T]he documents turned over to VICE News included a July 28, 2014 letter from Brennan that was addressed to Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss, who was then the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, in which he apologized to them and admitted that the CIA’s penetration of the computer network used by committee staffers reviewing the agency’s torture program was improper.

The thing is, Brennan never signed or sent this apology. It just sat in a Torture Report-related file until it was FOIAed. Brennan even offered a closed-door, off-the-record apology to Dianne Feinstein, but to date, the final official word remains the CIA’s: we did nothing wrong.

Filed Under: , , , , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Senate Intelligence Committee Members Ask White House For Official Apology From CIA For Hacking Senate Computers”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Median Wilfred says:

CIA's motivation in all this oddness?

I’m not sure I understand the CIA’s position or motivation in all this. Sure, they don’t want to be tried for torturing prisoners, that would be un-American. But it’s pretty clear that the CIA does torture prisoners, all we’re missing is a public admission, or a guilty verdict.

But why the offer of an off-the-record personal apology? Why bother? Why the whitewash about torture, if the CIA’s own internal studies done before 9/11 said that torture just didn’t work?

Is the CIA a totally rogue agency? They used to be the President’s private secret army, but surely this whole thing indicates they’ve grown beyond that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Nothing to do with laws

They don’t care that the CIA broke the law, they are just pissed off that they got spied on.

If they cared about laws being broken they would be pushing for criminal charges. Quite telling that they only want criminal charges brought against people who reveal the illegal acts instead of those committing them.

This is what they truly wanted to say:
“We believe that it is necessary for you to ensure that senior officials in your administration recognize our power to remove their funding.”

christopher (user link) says:


working for the CIA is an automatic death sentence. I do not
trust CIA and I want nothing to do with CIA. CIA is responsible for the death of my brother and almost had me assassinated several times which required surgery. I almost died because of CIA. I was tortured by CIA for several years
which was extremely painful. I am an innocent man who happens to be a visible minority. I want CIA destroyed because of what they did to me and my family. I am not a terrorist or KKK radical extremists. CIA destroyed my privacy and reputation. I want justice and revenge.

Michael (profile) says:

Ron Wyden, Martin Heinrich, and Mazie Hirono,

We apologize for discovering that you are addicted to porn, bisexual, and have an embarrassing sexually transmitted disease respectively. While we had the best of intentions in protecting US citizens from harm, we overstepped our bounds when we discovered all of the secrets that we have outlined in schedule A of this apology letter.

Deepest Regrets,

Central Intelligence

DannyB (profile) says:

An official apology

Dear Senate Intelligence Committee

The White House sincerely regrets that those who were harmed by our actions had to discover that it was the white house who was to blame.

We ask for your forgiveness and pledge that in the future we will not get caught doing anything like this ever again.

We are deeply sorry that bad judgment and poor choice of actions resulted in personal embarrassment for the white house and many others who assisted in committing these terrible crimes.

The white house takes full responsibility for negligence and lack of diligent care to ensure that we would not get caught. You have my personal assurance that we will be much more careful next time.

To all of those who were hurt by our inappropriate, selfish and thoughtless actions I would like to humbly offer my sincerest indifference.


The President of the United States

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...