Brennan apologizes after internal report finds CIA spied on Congress

John Brennan and Dianne FeinsteinBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS |
The director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency has apologized to Congress members after an internal inquiry found that the Agency spied on Congressional staff investigating its use of torture in interrogations. The investigation, conducted by the CIA’s Office of the Inspector-General, was prompted by the very public spat back in March between the Agency and the Senate Intelligence Committee. The latter is tasked, along with its sister body in the House of Representatives, with exercising legislative oversight of the Intelligence Community. Many members of the Committee, which has just concluded a probe over the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation against terrorism detainees, believe that, not only was the CIA’s use of torture methods illegal, but that it also failed to generate useful intelligence. The CIA, however, has denied this all along, and has been quite possessive of documents relating to the subject, which the Committee believed had a right to access. When the Committee accused the CIA of illegally searching the computers used by staffers to carry out their research into CIA files, the Agency responded by asking the Federal Bureau of Investigation to look into whether Congressional staffers illegally removed classified documents from the CIA’s archives that were beyond the scope of the Committee’s investigation. But the CIA’s own report appears to have completely vindicated Congress, having found that CIA officers created a fake online identity in order to surreptitiously access a number of computers used by Congressional staffers. The report’s findings prompted a private meeting earlier this week between CIA Director John Brennan and two senior members of the Committee, Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga), during which Brennan reportedly apologized. Feinstein, however, who was very vocal in denouncing the CIA’s shenanigans back in March, allegedly took Brennan to task about his staunch defense of his employees last spring. Brennan then informed Feinstein that the Agency would set up “an internal accountability board”, chaired by former Senator Evan Bayh, which would look further into the CIA’s conduct and “recommend potential disciplinary measures” among other “steps to address systemic issues” within the Agency. Meanwhile, the CIA is bracing itself for a wave of public criticism over the content of the Congressional report, which accuses the Agency of “brutally treating terror suspects and misleading Congress” about its actions.

One Response to Brennan apologizes after internal report finds CIA spied on Congress

  1. cacramsay says:

    I view this exchange with mixed feelings.
    While I am upset that the CIA operatives violated both the CIA’s mandate and the constitution by their actions. and I am distressed to hear about that, it is also somewhat of a poetic justice experience for the Intelligence committee members. They got a glimpse of what out of control snoops can get up to, as a further reflection of what average Americans are experiencing with NSA collecting electronic messages on millions of us.
    The committee are staunch defenders of intelligence gathering when is does not focus on them, but on us. A small taste of the violation of privacy that the rest of us are exposed to by our “intelligence” agencies.

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