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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 3:28am

    I can just picture Dianne Feinstein sputtering as an aid explains for the 4th time that the spooks lied to her, they spy on her just as much as the little people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Rob McMillin (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 4:57am

      DiFi's Fraudulent "Oversight"

      It really makes me wonder what the Spook-Industrial Complex has on DiFi. Or are they doing her so many favors that she no longer can say "no"?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 5:20am

        Re: DiFi's Fraudulent "Oversight"

        It's almost certainly her husband's trading activity if anything.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 6:45am

        Re: DiFi's Fraudulent "Oversight"

        I think she willingly takes part in all this. I've watched her since she was first elected. At the time she was my senator. I firmly believe that she hates civil liberties in all their forms and will do anything eliminate them.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 5:15pm

          Re: Re: DiFi's Fraudulent "Oversight"

          Perhaps it is time for hers to be removed first, so she can sample what she wants done to others.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 4:09am

    I guess now we know who's watching the watchers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    anon, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 4:15am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 5:05am

    $40 million dollars?!

    and some complain about space shuttle toilet seats

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 5:29am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 5:52am

    In all honesty I'd prefer the CIA/FBI/NSA keep an eye on our elected officials and actually start opening Investigations on the activities of our elected officials and corporate lobby ,Its a shame that they only do this to protect themselves and not the American People.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      PRMan, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      Shouldn't Congress just fire the head of the FBI, NSA and CIA (and TSA and DHS while they are at it) and then cut their budgets by 20%.

      They could tell the next leaders that they would like to give an increase next year if they can find a way to do their jobs without violating the Constitution.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 6:07am

    at least now they know how us mere mortals feel!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    limbodog (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 6:49am

    How is this not as bad as Watergate?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    edpo, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 6:49am

    DiFi

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

    Hahahahahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahahhaha.

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Jake, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 8:40am

    "Seven Days In May" Much?

    Seriously, this is starting to look less like abuse of power for some perceived common good and more like a coup in progress.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:16am

    CIA is committing treason against Congress!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      nasch (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:15am

      Re:

      CIA is committing treason against Congress!

      Not really. "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:54am

        Re: Re:

        I don't know about congress but the CIA certainly are levying war on the American people. Doesn't get much more war than launching missiles at them.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          John Fenderson (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 12:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          But not war as the Constitution defines it. We haven't had one of those since WW2. In fact, constitutionally speaking, the US has only been in five wars in its entire history!

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    DonFromFairfax, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 2:41am

    CIA accused of spying on senate intelligence committee

    So, FINALLY, we can hope for a law outlawing spying on ...
    the Senate Intelligence Committee and it's staff. The rest of us can still expect every phone call, email, internet search to be monitored, as well as our snail mail envelopes to be scanned and our license plates to be tracked.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    MaryO, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 7:34am

    How available will the evidence be?

    LeftVoices.Net news reporter asked an ACLU attorney about the possibility of the CIA trying to label all its documentation as essential to national security--and therefore keeping it from the investigators. Interesting interview.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Advertisement
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Techdirt Reading List
Advertisement
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Support Techdirt - Get Great Stuff!

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.