Yes, Admits CIA Chief, We Spied on Senate Panel Investigating Torture
The findings of an internal investigation at the Central Intelligence Agency made available to the public on Thursday show that CIA agents did, in fact, spy on the Senate Intelligence Committee panel set up to investigate post-9/11 government torture under the Bush administration.
Lawmakers were briefed on the report by the CIA Inspector General’s Office earlier this week and the head of the agency, John Brennan, issued an in-person apology to lawmakers on Tuesday over the agency’s behavior during a meeting with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), who chairs the Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ala.), the committee’s vice chair.
In a statement obtained by McClatchy news, which first reported the story, CIA spokesman Dean Boyd confirmed to lawmakers “that some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between SSCI (Senate Select Committee on Intelligence) and the CIA in 2009.”
According to McClatchy:
During the public imbroglio that followed between Feinstein and Brennan, as the Washington Post points out, the CIA chief said lawmakers would regret accusing the agency of misconduct.
“When the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong,” Brennan said at the time.
To the contrary, it seems now that those concerned about the CIA’s attempt to infiltrate the panel’s investigation have been quite vindicated for holding those concerns. Among them, intelligence committee members themselves.
“The CIA Inspector General has confirmed what Senators have been saying all along: The CIA conducted an unauthorized search of Senate files, and attempted to have Senate staff prosecuted for doing their jobs,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said. “Director Brennan’s claims to the contrary were simply not true.”
“What’s needed now,” Wyden continued, ” is a public apology from Director Brennan to staff and the committee, a full accounting of how this occurred and a commitment there will be no further attempts to undermine Congressional oversight of CIA activities.”
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