Proposed CIA Chief Seems Happy To Spy On Americans, Even If Using Info Hacked By Russians

from the that's...-a-concern dept

Last Friday, the first three of Donald Trump's appointments were up for vote -- with his DOD and DHS nominees sailing through with an easy vote. However, the Senate blocked Mike Pompeo, Trump's nominee for CIA. As we've discussed in the past, Pompeo is not concerned with violating civil liberties. In the past, we've noted that Pompeo put forth a sneaky fake amendment that pretended to defund NSA metadata collection, but which really reinforced it. He's further defended spying on Americans' metadata as the way government is supposed to operate. Oh, and did we mention that he angrily denounced SXSW for daring to have Ed Snowden speak there.

That's all quite concerning. But in opposing Pompeo for the CIA slot, Senator Ron Wyden has raised even more concerns -- including about Pompeo's willingness (or even eagerness) to use information hacked by the Russians to spy on Americans (and not just the Russians, but anyone else as well). That... should be concerning. As Marcy Wheeler explains, there were a long series of questions all leading up to the basic idea that Pompeo has no problem using whatever info is given to him to spy on people domestically, even if it comes from foreign hacking.

Wyden’s persistent concerns in his post-hearing questions pertained to whether and how Pompeo would be willing to cooperate with the Russians. Raising a Pompeo hearing comment that if a foreign partner gave the CIA information on US persons “independently,” “it may be appropriate of CIA to collect [that] information in bulk,” Wyden raised Trump’s encouragement of Russian hacking and asked what circumstances would make foreign collection so improper that CIA should not receive such information. Pompeo responded, “information obtained through such egregious conduct may be appropriate for the CIA to use or disseminate.”

Wyden then listed out a bunch of conditions, such as information coming from an adversary, to disrupt US democracy, information implicating First Amendment protected political activity, or information affecting thousands or millions of Americans. “The listed conditions could all be relevant,” Pompeo responded, remaining non-committal.

The full post-hearing questions can be found at that link, if you'd like to look them over. Meanwhile, Wyden is clearly not at all satisfied with Pompeo's answers, putting out a statement this morning saying:

Rep. Pompeo showed he's perfectly comfortable saying one thing on Monday, and the opposite on Tuesday. But his record reveals extreme positions, including enthusiasm for sweeping new surveillance programs targeting Americans and an openness to sending our country backward with regard to torture. Furthermore, his views on intelligence assessments on Russian interference in our election shifted along with the presidents', raising questions about the nominee’s objectivity.

There's been much made (especially over the weekend) about a potential rift between the CIA and Donald Trump, but no matter what, the CIA has a pretty long history of abuse of its powers in often dangerous ways. A person who has a history of supporting expanded spying on Americans (as a normal thing that government should do), and one who sees no problem using data hacked by foreign adversaries to then spy on Americans, seems like someone who should not be running the CIA right now.


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:45am

    Well, at the very least it seems somebody in the legislative is doing their jobs at the bare minimum. Though I'd like to see many other blockades due to conflicts of interest. But better little than nothing.

    One has to wonder though if another person that's even worse than Pompeo will end up there.

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

    • identicon
      Thad, 23 Jan 2017 @ 12:11pm

      Re:

      One has to wonder though if another person that's even worse than Pompeo will end up there.

      That's it in a nutshell. I hate Comey but find myself relieved he's staying because I'm confident we could end up with somebody even worse instead.

      I've got reservations about Mattis, but he seems like he's a well-informed, big picture kind of guy and won't let Trump start a nuclear war. That's where we are right now; that's how low the bar has gotten.

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

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 23 Jan 2017 @ 12:33pm

    Anyone still think this is about stopping Terrorism?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 12:47pm

    "In the past, we've noted that Pompeo put forth a sneaky fake amendment that pretended to defund NSA metadata collection, but which really reinforced it. He's further defended spying on Americans' metadata as the way government is supposed to operate. Oh, and did we mention that he angrily denounced SXSW for daring to have Ed Snowden speak there."

    So business as usual then?

    Well, I might take that back if Pompeo stays blocked or if his replacement is not any better at fooling people about their agenda.

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

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 23 Jan 2017 @ 12:58pm

    The Rabbit Hole is Mighty Deep

    As Marcy Wheeler explains, there were a long series of questions all leading up to the basic idea that Pompeo has no problem using whatever info is given to him to spy on people domestically, even if it comes from foreign hacking.

    foreign hacking is a scheme that was been put into play by NSA and the four other members of the Five Eyes total surveillance program decades ago (Five Eyes is still in effect today).

    The Five Eyes surveillance scheme operates under a twisted form of quid pro quo where each member government allows another member government to surveil it's citizens/subjects and then the surveilling government will turn the pertinent hacked information over to the host government allowing the hacking/surveilling.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Eyes

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 1:26pm

    CIA meets FSB, a love story.

    Great. Now the CIA wants to team up with the Russian FSB.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 2:35pm

      Re: CIA meets FSB, a love story.

      Love stories get downright weird when it comes to government agencies, in those stories the only people that get screwed are the respective citizens.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 4:16am

    I missed the American Pussy Riots. Unlike American intelligence agencies the Russians know whom to spy upon.

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

  • identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:42am

    Big Govern... oh, never mind.

    >>>He's further defended spying on Americans' metadata as the way government is supposed to operate.

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:46am

      Re: Big Govern... oh, never mind.

      Methought the GOP was supposed to be against big government but their objections seem to melt away when they're running it.


      >

      Mike, there's a problem with posting in which only the first line of the post is retained and posted, necessitating a second post to finish my point. I don't know if it's restricted to me or if others are experiencing this as well. Oh, and _markdown_ doesn't work for me.

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

  • identicon
    john, 24 Jan 2017 @ 6:23am

    Hypocritical, tribal-poltics at techdirt

    So pretty much business as usual, right?

    Where are the techdirt links relating to the mass surveillance state we already live in? Nothing on the two-faced Obama administration that has done nothing but push and pass surveillance and data-mining measures. Nothing on the administration before that.

    You can't play tribal politics when it comes to surveillance of American citizens. Your silence over last 10+ years is part of the reason we're neck-deep in monitoring tools with no end in sight.

    There should also be legislation and accountability when it comes to giant tech companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, etal when it comes to their surveillance, data-mining and sharing practices (including backdoor sharing with federal agencies). Same with ad-servers.

    Stop playing politics and start dealing with the real issues!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:38am

    Pompeo needs to be *seriously* doxxed and indicted, tried and convicted.

    That's the ONLY way this schmo will understand that information abuse is *BAAADDD*, mmkay?

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


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