Michael McAuliff reports that Nancy Pelosi Says CIA Snooping Scandal Is 'Appalling,' 'Befuddling,' referring to the controversy surrounding the 6,300-page Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the interrogation and detention practices used by the CIA after 9/11 that many, including President Obama, have described as torture.
CIA Director John Brennan seems to have crossed a line an offended one of his most important congressional defenders, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. This morning she called the CIA snooping scandal "appalling" and Brennan's comments about them were "befuddling."
Two days ago, Senator Dianne Feinstein accused agents of the CIA of searching through Senate computers and removing documents related to the Senates investigation of interrogation practices after the 9/11 attacks. She alleged these action may violate the law and the constitution and asked the Department of Justice to investigate.
Brennan responded by saying that Feinstein's allegations were "just beyond the scope of reason," even as he said that if it turns out that he did do something wrong, he would go take it up with the president.
"To tell you the truth, I haven't really seen much of Director Brennan's statements on this, but what I have seen are befuddling to me," said Pelosi, who served many years on the House Intelligence Committee and defended the intelligence community amid the recent uproar over National Security Agency surveillance.
"From what I know, from what senators said and what you have written, it's pretty appalling what is being alleged or charged," Pelosi added. "Whatever it is, we have to remove all doubt."
Pelosi praised Feinstein for being "brave enough to take her battle with the CIA public."
"I salute Sen. Feinstein. I tell you, you take on the intelligence community, you're a person of courage. And she does not do that lightly, not without evidence," Pelosi said.
Even though President Obama has called for declassification of the report, yesterday, it was revealed that thousands of pages of the report have, apparently, been withheld from the committee. Also, my understanding from what I heard on the radio yesterday, is that allegations have surfaced that the CIA spied on congressional aids, and Congresspeople who used the computers installed in the congress building so they could have controlled access to the documents.
"The administration is the custodian of intelligence information. It is not the owner," Pelosi said. "They're custodians, but it belongs to us as well, and we need to see the intelligence."
Well, now we see what it takes for our congresspeople to become concerned about excess domestic intelligence and secrecy. It has to be withheld from, or focused on them. Many of the rest of us have been upset about excess domestic surveillance, and out of control intelligence agencies exceeding constitutional boundaries, ever since candidate Obama reversed himself on the FISA laws during prior to the 2008 election. Those of us concerned about that were resoundingly told to leave it be until after the election, when the President and all good Democrats and Kossacks would come back and "fix" these problems after we won the elections.
Most of us did hold our tongues, although some needed substantial bullying to pipe down. Well, guess what folks, we never did come back to it. Like most problems we know about, but ignore, they come back to bite us in the ass, much worse later.