Surprise: CIA-Appointed Panel Finds No Real Problem With CIA Spying On Senate

from the show-trials dept

After the CIA's Inspector General basically revealed that not only did the CIA spy on the network of Senate Intelligence Committee staffers who were investigating the CIA, but that CIA boss John Brennan lied about it and that the breaches were much worse than originally detailed, Brennan appointed a panel to "investigate." Take a wild guess what the panel appointed by the guy who lied about the spying has concluded? If you said that it found serious problems and recommended real consequences for those involved and their leadership, you haven't been paying much attention.

Instead, if you said it would do some hand-wavy talk about "mistakes being made" but recommend no real consequences and downplay the severity of what happened, well, you get a gold star and a special tissue in which to weep about the loss of the separation of powers:
While effectively rejecting the most significant conclusions of the inspector general’s report, the panel, appointed by Mr. Brennan and composed of three C.I.A. officers and two members from outside the agency, is still expected to criticize agency missteps that contributed to the fight with Congress.

But its decision not to recommend anyone for disciplinary action is likely to anger members of the Intelligence Committee, who have accused the C.I.A. of trampling on the independence of Congress and interfering with its investigation of agency wrongdoing. The computer searches occurred late last year while the committee was finishing an excoriating report on the agency’s detention and interrogation program.
The message that we keep sending is, if you're powerful enough, there's almost nothing you can do with any actual consequences attached. Is it any wonder that the intelligence community keeps pushing the boundaries further and further?

Filed Under: cia, evan bayh, john brennan, senate intelligence committee, spying


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2014 @ 12:28pm

    similar to what happened in the UK over whether the GCHQ spying was an invasion of privacy. the intelligence committee found it didn't! surprise!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2014 @ 12:34pm

    The result of self-policing

    What we have here is yet another typical result when you let agencies police themselves.

    The Catholic church "took care" of all the priests accused of molesting children - as a result, they simply were reassigned somewhere else. No punishment whatsoever (until decades later).

    The police departments do the same with cops accused of, say murdering an unarmed citizen. As a result, they either continue their jobs with no punishment or get administrative leave (what most of us would call vacation). Again, no punishment whatsoever.

    The CIA spys on the same people charged with overseeing them. They take it a step further and openly lie about it. Guess what happens when they self-investigate?

    Why haven't we learned from this pattern what a bad idea it is to let those accused of wrongdoing investigate themselves? Would you let someone accused of shoplifting investigate him/her self? If it's ridiculous for criminals, why then isn't it ridiculous for everyone else?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2014 @ 12:57pm

      Re: The result of self-policing

      This is what has been going on for years in government from local levels to top senior levels. As soon as some move is made to call them into account, they either take over the investigation or committee, block them out so they can't find anything, or put on a media campaign to claim either innocence or minor digressions.

      Since much of this revolves around corruption, everyone is keeping everyone's secrets to prevent exposure to daylight. Cleaning house is one suggested method to take care of it but so far that has not worked at all. There's always some left over to infect the newest.

      Either there is an outlet that allows serious change or it gets bottled up till there's a revolution.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 22 Dec 2014 @ 1:01pm

      Re: The result of self-policing

      Indeed. It's also a shame, but totally unsurprising, that the object lessons of the Catholic church and the police scandals aren't being learned by the CIA. The Catholic church has pretty much lost all moral authority in the eyes of people who aren't members, the police are increasingly losing moral authority in the eyes of people who aren't members.

      If the CIA (and NSA and FBI, etc.) is actually chiefly concerned with protecting US citizens, they would all do well think about the implications of the loss of authority they are bringing down on themselves.

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

  • icon
    MadAsASnake (profile), 22 Dec 2014 @ 12:41pm

    It isn't that likely that the fox is going to give a credible answer as to whom raided the hen-house. I mean, why bother asking the fox in the first place?

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

  • identicon
    Michael, 22 Dec 2014 @ 12:41pm

    the panel, appointed by Mr. Brennan and composed of three C.I.A. officers and two members from outside the agency

    Nice that they added two members from outside the CIA. How did that conversation work?

    Hi guys! The three men next to you are agents for the premiere intelligence agency in the world and would have little trouble killing you. They think everything outlined in this report was appropriate behavior. What do YOU think?

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 2 Jan 2015 @ 8:30am

      Re:

      Nice that they added two members from outside the CIA. How did that conversation work?

      Hi guys! The three men next to you are agents for the premiere intelligence agency in the world and would have little trouble killing you. They think everything outlined in this report was appropriate behavior. What do YOU think?


      That isn't even necessary. Three CIA members with one vote each, and two other people with one vote each. They could bring in Edward Snowden and Michael Geist and it wouldn't matter.

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

  • icon
    limbodog (profile), 22 Dec 2014 @ 1:02pm

    You can blame the CIA all you want for this report...

    But it's Congress that let them get that way.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 22 Dec 2014 @ 3:55pm

      Re: You can blame the CIA all you want for this report...

      Not only Congress. The Judiciary also has an oversight role, so they get blame as well. But, since the CIA is an executive branch agency, the bulk of the blame belongs there.

      In short, it's a complete and total failure on the part of all branches of government. This is one area where the notion of "checks and balances" doesn't work.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 22 Dec 2014 @ 9:37pm

        Re: Re: You can blame the CIA all you want for this report...

        Largely because for the idea of 'Checks and balances' to work, you need the different agencies/branches to not be operating under the understanding of 'I won't investigate your actions, if you don't investigate mine'.

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

    • identicon
      Pronounce, 22 Dec 2014 @ 8:36pm

      Re: You can blame the CIA all you want for this report...

      And it's the dirt that they uncovered about Congress that keeps it this way. (See J. Edgar Hoover's secret files.)

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 22 Dec 2014 @ 9:39pm

        Re: Re: You can blame the CIA all you want for this report...

        Come now, the NSA/CIA/FBI would never use the massive treasure trove of data they've scooped up for personal gain, that would be wrong, and I'm almost positive I've heard that someone at one of those agencies pinky-promised not to, so clearly they would never do something like that.

        /s

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

    • icon
      Ben Dover (profile), 23 Dec 2014 @ 9:48am

      Re: You can blame the CIA all you want for this report...

      True...but this does get a bit difficult when said agency has every piece of dirt that ever happened. Logically the dirtiest person will be (s)elected as agencies will have the most leverage.

      That being said, be comforted by the NSA's assertion that "Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2014 @ 1:02pm

    First Senior Chair Fox in charge of Hen Houses says there are no hens unaccounted for and that all hen houses are operating as normal.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2014 @ 6:08am

    While I'm in agreement that we need someone to look at the senate with much scrutiny the CIA should not be involved with cases against themselves , and IF the cia is going to watch our government officials we need some heads on sticks, to curtail all the side deals being made on our behalf . police the corporate world and not the avg joe.

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

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 24 Dec 2014 @ 3:01pm

    Oh, right

    What the hell do you mean, "Surprise"? I think the word you were looking for was, "Inevitable".

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


Add Your Comment

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



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

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



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

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