CIA Admits Spying on Senate Panel


Central Intelligence Agency

Late summer an internal CIA inspector general admitted that certain officers spied on members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, deleted information from their computers, and knowingly referred false information to the U.S. Department of Justice for the prosecution of Senate staffers.

The spying came after reports of Senate committee Democrats working on a report about the CIA’s detention and interrogation techniques, which used brutal interrogation techniques including waterboarding. Portions of the report opined that these methods, and many others used by the agency, produced so few results that they were ineffective. And, in fact, the CIA misled the White House and Congress about the effectiveness of its interrogation and detention program.

Has the CIA gone renegade? Many would say so.

The CIA’s admission came after months of denying that it had either hacked into the Senate computers or deleted pertinent information from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s network, the CIA’s director John Brennan, at one point saying that that the allegations were nothing “further from the truth. I mean, we wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s—that’s just beyond the scope of reason in terms of what we would do.”

So now that the truth is out, what will the CIA director do to ensure members of the Senate Intelligence committee that this will never happen again? A CIA spokesman issued a statement apologizing to the Senate committee’s chairwoman, Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and the committee’s ranking Republican, Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and pledged to set up an internal accountability board to review the issue. While the CIA only admitted to considering potential disciplinary measures, the Senate committee, understandingly angered by the situation, suggested a much harsher punishment. Mr. Chambliss stated, “This is a serious situation and there are serious violations.” Other members of the committee commented that the spying was not only a violation of the Fourth Amendment, but also a constitutional violation of the separation of powers.

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