In a diary yesterday I shared the story CIA being accused of secretly monitoring its overseers:
The CIA Inspector General’s Office has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations of malfeasance at the spy agency in connection with a yet-to-be released Senate Intelligence Committee report into the CIA’s secret detention and interrogation program, McClatchy has learned.
The criminal referral may be related to what several knowledgeable people said was CIA monitoring of computers used by Senate aides to prepare the study. The monitoring may have violated an agreement between the committee and the agency.
Since then a war of words and accusations has broken out between the Senate and the CIA. The Hill goes as far to call itWWIII Between The Senate and CIA.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), an ex officio member of the Intelligence panel, said the charge of spying is “extremely serious.”The discussion of a Justice Department investigation was originally thought to be related to the spying on congressional computers:
“There are laws against intruding and tampering, hacking into, accessing computers without permission. And that law applies to everybody,” he said.
Brennan in a statement said he was "dismayed" by the “spurious allegations,” which he said were "wholly unsupported by the facts."
Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) confirmed Wednesday that the CIA inspector general was investigating accusations that the covert agency had peered into the panel’s computers.However there is now discussions that the CIA is accusing the Oversight Committee of 'stealing' and 'leaking' the documents the CIA mistakenly gave them that prove the CIA has been lying to Congress and the Public about torture. McClatchy:
Congressional aides involved in preparing the Senate Intelligence Committee’s unreleased study of the CIA’s secret interrogation and detention program walked out of the spy agency’s fortress-like headquarters with classified documents that the CIA contended they weren’t authorized to have, McClatchy has learned.Brennan's sudden concern for the relationship between intelligence officials and congressional overseers is especially ironic considering that the CIA first allowed themselves and 'outside contractors' to review the documents it granted the oversight committee access to as I discussed in my previous diary:
The documents removed from the agency included a draft of an internal CIA review that at least one lawmaker has publicly said showed that agency leaders misled the Intelligence Committee in disputing some of the committee report’s findings, according to a knowledgeable person who requested anonymity because of the matter’s extraordinary sensitivity.
In a combative statement issued Wednesday evening, CIA Director John Brennan chastised unidentified senators for making “spurious allegations about CIA actions that are wholly unsupported by the facts.”
“I am very confident that the appropriate authorities reviewing this matter will determine where wrongdoing, if any, occurred in either the executive branch or legislative branch,” he said in an apparent reference to the request for a Justice Department investigation. “Until then, I would encourage others to refrain from outbursts that do a disservice to the important relationship that needs to be maintained between intelligence officials and congressional overseers.”
Some committee members regard the monitoring as a possible violation of the law and contend that their oversight powers give them the right to the documents that were removed. On the other hand, the CIA considers the removal as a massive security breach because the agency doesn’t believe that the committee had a right to those particular materials.
The Senate’s investigation into the C.I.A. program took four years to complete and cost more than $40 million, in part because the C.I.A. insisted that committee staff members be allowed to review classified cables only at a secure facility in Northern Virginia. And only after a group of outside contractors had reviewed the documents first.The back and forth has escalated to the point of:
White House officials have held at least one closed-door meeting with committee members about the monitoring and the removal of the documents, said the first knowledgeable person.A concern is that the White House seems more interested in covering for the CIA (and by proxy themselves) because Obama could call for the report to be released today, instead there are concerns that the report may never see the light of day.
White House officials were trying to determine how the materials that were taken from CIA headquarters found their way into a database into which millions of pages of top-secret reports, emails and other documents were made available to panel staff after being vetted by CIA officials and contractors, said the knowledgeable person.
It also has fueled uncertainty over how much of the committee’s report will ever be made public.Marcy Wheeler as usual is far ahead of the conversation, and calling all of this Operation Stall:
“The CIA has gone to just about any lengths you can imagine to make sure that the detention and interrogation report won’t be released,” said Sen. Mark Heinrich, D-N.M., a Senate Intelligence Committee member who has pushed hard for the release of the report.
All of which is to say the SSCI busted the CIA for lying in their official response to the Committee. And as a result, CIA decided to start accusing the Committee of breaking the law. And now everyone is being called into the Principal’s office for spankings.
But it seems that this is part of a larger CIA effort to stall. As McClatchy notes, CIA took 3 extra months to provide their initial response to SSCI. Then this erupted 2 months later. It has now been almost 3 months since Udall first revealed the existence of the Panetta report. Which brings us just 8 months away from an election in which the Democrats stand a good chance of losing the Senate, and with it, the majority on the Committee that might vote to declassify the report in defiance of CIA’s wishes.