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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Geno0wl (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 7:48am

    And yet nobody will be prosecuted over this, let alone actually convicted. No no, that would mean actually having actual accountability in our federal government. And that is something that we just can't have.
    Finally something both sides can agree on.

     

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

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 7:54am

    OK DOJ...

    Where are your prosecutors threatening each of those responsible with 35 years in jail for exceeding unauthorized access now?

     

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

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:07am

    and people are surprised by this? i'm surprised they haven't a lot more than known now! what is even more wrong is the lack of action taken against those concerned, from the top giving orders, to the bottom actually spying. anyone from the 'ordinary sector, doing a lot less than this would have been whisked away to somewhere unheard of to never be heard of again, other than to say how long the prison sentence was. even worse, some have even lost their lives!!

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:08am

    What's the difference between a statement that is false and one is that is a blatant lie? Not-truth is not-truth, no matter how prettily it's gift wrapped.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:09am

    Re: OK DOJ...

    oops. *...exceeding authorized access...

     

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  6.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:15am

    Re:

    A lie is when you say something in the full knowledge that it is false.
    Brennan is the head of the CIA. That means he is ultimately responsible for everything that happens under his command. So either he lied, thus meaning he has violated his oath of service, and thus, cannot be trusted to continue in his office...or he was himself lied to by those under him, this meaning of course that he is dangerously incompetent, and thus cannot be trusted to continue in his office.

     

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  7.  
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    Trevor, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:19am

    Wait.

    I read the previous article about the CIA admitting spying on Senate Intelligence Committee staffers and accessing their computers, and noted that if they would spy on the SENATE, what WOULDN'T they do?

    After reading this, another thought popped into my mind: Snowden was right:

    He indicated that he could access anyone's information so long as he had an email address - INCLUDING THE PRESIDENT.

    Of course, the NSA denied this type of access was possible.

    HOWEVER.

    The CIA just admitted that 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.

    Did you see that? Five agency employees, two attorneys, and three IT Staff (isn't that what Snowden was?) accessed Senate Computer systems "improperly."

    It appears Snowden was telling the truth - again. EVEN IT STAFF CAN ACCESS SENATE COMPUTERS. The CIA almost got away with spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee - the very committee tasked with CIA oversight. If they can do that, I have no doubt that the President can be equally monitored as well.

     

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  8.  
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    AC (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:28am

    Why is the Senate surprised?

    This isn't just a matter of broken policies, this is a systemic flaw.

    A new Director, or a new President could come in and put a stop to the illegal spying on the SIC. But as long as the capability remains, it's always going to be a threat to happen again. In other words, all the laws, and all the policy changes in the world won't be able to fully rebuild trust in the system.

    Then again, that's exactly the same relationship the NSA has with the public at large, and the Senate seems to have no desire to change anything about that, so maybe this is really a self-awareness problem.

    The government has become too big to succeed.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:35am

    Anybody else think its funny that the DCI's initials abbreviate to JOB? And he works at 'The Company'

     

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  10.  
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    Prateek, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:37am

    CIA has been doing spying from a long time from backdoor. They spy almost everyone..

     

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  11.  
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    OldMugwump (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:44am

    Constitutional crisis?

    So the executive branch is spying on the legislative branch, in order to intimidate them?

    Sounds like the end of the Republic and start of the Empire...

     

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

  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:44am

    Response to: Prateek on Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:37am

    Why yes, they use the backdoor to obtain...compromising information, IYKWIM

     

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

  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:55am

    Given all this coming out, it just enforces more the idiocy of letting the CIA filter it's own report with black ink before public releasing of the data.

    They can't even keep their lies straight and have a huge problem with owning up to going far beyond what is legally allowed. As was mentioned in an earlier post, this isn't just the CIA; it's systemic through out all the government. Everyone appears to be corrupt enough that they don't want evidence of their law breaking out unless forced by court.

    FOIA requests show that time and again, it is the courts that actually force them to release the info, years past when it should have been. The only reasons you do that beyond real national security, pending cases, and investigations, are for cover up.

     

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  14.  
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    The Moral Monster (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:58am

    Trust

    From the original movie animal house;

    "You Fu*K UP"; "You trusted us!"

    The government should consider making it the national saying. ;(

     

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

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 9:10am

    How is the media not yelling TREASON over this? We're talking about an agency spying and hacking the US Senate here.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 9:32am

    What now, DiFi?

    And what exactly is the Senate Intelligence Committee prepared to do about this? Very likely nothing.

    If that is the case, Dianne Feinsten, I think it's time you stepped down, and let someone who has something resembling a set a balls in there, who's interests aren't so conflicted with the agency you're supposed to be overseeing.

    You're spineless, and it shows.
    It's beyond pathetic, at this point.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 9:36am

    CIA Spying On The Senate Went Much Further Than Originally Reported

    "The CIA just admitted that 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."

    Better get five cells next to Chelsea Manning's ready for a very long occupancy...

     

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

  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 9:52am

    Lack of candor

    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.
    Lying to the public or to other agencies is bad, but at least has the supposed justification that it is part of the job. Lying to the internal investigators should never be considered part of the job. Intentionally lying to internal investigators ought to be a firing offense, at minimum. Some would say that intentionally lying to internal investigators should carry the same penalties that regular citizens face for "lying to an officer in the course of an official investigation." If the internal investigators cannot even expect that the answers they get are truthful, their ability to effectively monitor the organization is nearly zero.

     

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  19.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:14am

    Re: Wait.

    And the conspiracy theories become less and less theories and more and more truths.

     

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

  20.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:16am

    Re:

    Now imagine if it was some random guy revealing such things... Oh wait.

     

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

  21.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:16am

    Re: What now, DiFi?

    Feinstein must have orgasmed with the news.

     

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

  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:17am

    NSA ?

    I wonder if the NSA leaked all this.

     

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

  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 11:03am

    Re: Why is the Senate surprised?

    Or the intelligence agencies have become a state within the state. More or less they make their own interpretations to a point where the difference between how politicians and ordinary people read official texts and the interpretations used has reached a point where black is white and so on. It is hard to stop the agencies in this situation. The intelligence agencies will basically be able to bend interpretations on almost all proposed laws to mean whatever they want. The real problem here is CIA operating undeniably domestic. It is against the fundamental laws governing the agencies. If that gets bend, there is not much holy left.

     

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

  24.  
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    FauxReal (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 1:26pm

    Re:

    What I find so sad about this is how many hardcore right wingers just say stuff like, "Oh now we have a double standard since they used the IRS to spy on conservatives!"

    They'd rather pull some petty tit-for-tat BS than support the idea of actually fixing the damn problem.

    I don't know why the terrorists bother messing with us, between staunch partisanship, widespread spying, the attack on science & education, financial fuckery, and the only terror plots we bust up are FBI sideshows; are really doing a much better job at wrecking things on our own soil than they are.

     

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

  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 1:45pm

    CIA has gone rogue. They're spying on US Senators and domestic citizens.

     

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

  26.  
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    Michael_P_Shipley (profile), Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 12:32am

    I WANT the CIA to spy on the US govt. I WANT them to reveal all the heinous things they do.

    Govt is the enemy that needs monitoring because they are the threat to us, not made up foreign enemies.

    The US Govt is the one who wages manufactured wars that kill millions for their own maniacal desire at world domination.

    They're the ones who create central banks that steal trillions and give it to themselves and their cronies.

    They're the ones who kidnap people and put them in cages for years for not being good slaves (drug war: govt owns your body and tells it what it can put in its mouth).

    If you cant get rid of govt, at least let the CIA tap their communications and leak all their psychopathic mass murdering schemes so we can stop them before they kill us all.

     

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

  27.  
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    Eldakka (profile), Aug 3rd, 2014 @ 10:37pm

    Re: Re:

    ..or he was himself lied to by those under him, this meaning of course that he is dangerously incompetent, ...
    UNLESS he's told those under him to not tell him the whole truth in situations where he WANTS to be able to deny knowing stuff, i.e. plausible deniability...that's good management in the eyes of the civil service, just ask Sir Humphrey Appleby!

     

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


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