CIA director to Senate: So sorry we spied on you
CIA Director John Brennan apolgized to the Senate when an inspector general's report revealed that the agency hacked computers belonging to the Senate Intelligence Committee in order to glean information about the investigation into torture conducted by the CIA during the Bush years.
Ten agency employees, including two lawyers and three computer specialists, surreptitiously searched Senate Intelligence Committee files and reviewed some committee staff members’ e-mail on computers that were supposed to be exclusively for congressional investigators, according to a summary of the CIA inspector general’s report, released Thursday.
The document criticizes members of the computer team for a “lack of candor about their activities” when they were questioned by investigators working for CIA Inspector General David Buckley.
The investigation stems from a dispute that erupted in public earlier this year when the CIA and the Intelligence Committee traded accusations of illicit spying and security breaches — allegations that led to an extraordinary feud between Brennan and the Senate panel, which oversees his agency.
Brennan’s embarrassing apology comes as the CIA is bracing for the long-awaited release of a committee report that is said to be sharply critical of the agency, finding that it exaggerated the effectiveness of interrogation measures and repeatedly misled members of Congress and the executive branch. The report is expected to be released within weeks.
In a statement, the CIA said its employees had “acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached” between the agency and lawmakers in 2009, when the committee’s investigation began. The CIA acknowledgment was first reported by the McClatchy news service.
How about "acting in a manner inconsistent" with the values of a republic? The lead intelligence agency spying on our elected representatives? In a banana republic maybe but not America. Brennan should either be fired or resign - especially since he earlier assured the Senate that the CIA was not spying on them.
After briefing committee leaders, Brennan “apologized to them for such actions by CIA officers as described in the [inspector general’s] report,” the agency’s statement said. Brennan also ordered the creation of an internal personnel board, led by former senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), to review the agency employees’ conduct and determine “potential disciplinary measures.”
How about jail? Now, there's a novel idea. If an ordinary American hacked those computers, they would go to jail. Why not CIA employees?
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said President Obama supports Brennan and disputed the idea that the CIA director’s reversal on the clash with Congress had damaged his credibility. “Not at all,” Earnest said, noting that Brennan had initiated the inspector general’s review.
“He currently is operating in a very difficult environment to ensure the safety of the American public,” Earnest said. “He is somebody who has a very difficult job, who does that job extraordinarily well.”
Heckuva job you're doing there, Johnnie. And of course we believe you when you claimed that CIA was not spying on the Senate. You're a font of credibility.
Not much will come of this. There is a too cozy relationship between the intel committees of Congress and the CIA. Too many secrets, too much allowed that involves surveilling Americans. There will be some calls for Brennan's head but the president has demonstrated many times in the past if he wants to keep someone on his team, he will ignore the calls for resignation.
But it makes you wonder who else on Capitol Hill is being watched by the CIA.