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Thread: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

  1. #1
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    I don't think CIA director John Brennan can waterboard his way out of this one.

    source

    The chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, Dianne Feinstein, on Tuesday accused the Central Intelligence Agency of a catalogue of cover-ups, intimidation and smears aimed at investigators probing its role in an “un-American and brutal” programme of post-9/11 detention and interrogation.

    In a bombshell statement on the floor of the US Senate, Feinstein, normally an administration loyalist, accused the CIA of potentially violating the US constitution and of criminal activity in its attempts to obstruct her committee’s investigations into the agency’s use of torture. She described the crisis as a “defining moment” for political oversight of the US intelligence service.

    Her unprecedented public assault on the CIA represented an intensification of the row between the committee and the agency over a still-secret report on the torture of terrorist suspects after 9/11.

    Feinstein, who said she was making her statement “reluctantly”, confirmed recent reports that CIA officials had been accused of monitoring computer networks used by Senate staff investigators. Going further than previously, she referred openly to recent attempts by the CIA to remove documents from the network detailing evidence of torture that would incriminate intelligence officers.

    She also alleged that anonymous CIA officials were effectively conducting a smear campaign in the media to discredit and “intimidate” Senate staff by suggesting they had hacked into the agency’s computers to obtain a separate, critical internal report on the detention and interrogation programme.

    Staff working on the Senate investigation have been reported to the Department of Justice for possible criminal charges by a lawyer at the CIA who himself features heavily in the alleged interrogation abuses. The CIA’s inspector general has another inquiry open into the issue. John Brennan, the CIA director, rejected Feinstein’s claims that the agency had monitored the Senate committee’s computer networks, which were set up specifically for it to access confidential CIA documents.

    Feinstein said the two investigations, launched at the behest of the CIA, amounted to an attempt at “intimidation”. She revealed that CIA officials had also been reported to the Department of Justice for alleged violations of the fourth amendment and laws preventing them from domestic spying.

    “This is a defining moment for the oversight role of our intelligence committee ... and whether we can be thwarted by those we oversee,” said Feinstein in a special address on the floor of the the US Senate.

    “There is no legitimate reason to allege to the Justice Department that Senate staff may have committed a crime... this is plainly an attempt to intimidate these staff and I am not taking it lightly.”

    Feinstein said that she would immediately appeal to the White House to declassify the report’s major findings. The White House is formally on record as supporting the declassification, which the president has the power to order.

    Last week, CIA director John Brennan, a former counterterrorism aide to President Obama, issued a rare scathing public statement on the deepening crisis, suggesting that unspecified “wrongdoing” had occurred in “either the executive branch or legislative branch.” Brennan, who withdrew from consideration as CIA director in 2008 out of allegations he did not consider torture to be a serious offence, is a year into his tenure after being nominated by Obama .

    At a previously scheduled event reflecting on the first year on Tuesday, Brennan rejected the accusation that the CIA had thwarted the Senate investigation, and denied the agency had inappropriately accessed Senate computers. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn’t do that,” he said. Brennan pointed out that he had referred the matter to the CIA inspector general, who was investigating, and would defer to his conclusions.

    He also acknowledged there was a Justice Department investigation that encompassed the Senate committee staff members. “There are appropriate authorities are looking at what CIA officers and SSCI staff members did – and I defer to them as to whether there was any violation,” he said.

    Brennan said the CIA wanted to put the issue of the torture programme, which he described by its agency nomenclature as “rendition, detention and interrogation”, behind it. “Even as we have learned from the past, we must also try to put the past behind us.” he said.

    The White House said Obama was aware of the Senate claims but refused to say whether the president was concerned or pass comment on the substance of the allegations. “This is a matter involving protocols established for the interaction between committee staff and the CIA,” said spokesman Jay Carney. “There are periodic disputes about this process and it is under two separate investigations so I am not going to provide an analysis of it.”

    He also criticised reporters who questioned the independence of the review led by the CIA inspector general, accusing one of “impugning the integrity” of inspectors general across Washington by suggesting such a review was insufficient response to allegations of this magnitude. The White House has “great confidence” in CIA director John Brennan, added Carney.

    On the Senate floor earlier, Patrick Leahy, chairman of the judiciary committee and the longest serving US senator, described Feinstein’s speech at the most important he had witnessed in his time in Congress.

    “I cannot think of any speech by any member of any party as important as the one the senator from California just gave,” Leahy said.

    Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, an intelligence committee member, said in a statement he applauded Feinstein for “setting the record straight today on the Senate floor about the CIA’s actions to subvert congressional oversight”.

    Udall said: “The actions the chairman outlined are the latest events that illustrate why I directly pushed CIA director Brennan to acknowledge the flaws in and misrepresentations about the CIA’s brutal and ineffective detention and interrogation program.

    “Unfortunately, the CIA responded by trying to hide the truth from the American people about this program and undermine the Senate intelligence committee’s oversight role by illegally searching committee computers.”

    In her speech, Feinstein described repeated attempts by the CIA to frustrate the work of Senate investigators, including providing the committee staff with a “document dump” of millions of non-indexed pages, requiring years of work to sort through – a necessity, Feinstein said, after former senior CIA official Jose Rodriguez destroyed nearly 100 videotapes showing brutal interrogations of detainees in CIA custody.

    “We are not going to stop our investigation and have sent our report to the president in the hope it can be declassified and published for the American people to see,” Feinstein said on the Senate floor.

    She said the goal of declassifying the report, exposing the “horrible details of a CIA programme that never, never should have existed,” was to prevent torture from ever again becoming American policy.

    Zeke Johnson of Amnesty International called on the White House to publish the committee’s report. “President Obama, who has claimed to have the most transparent administration in history, should move immediately to declassify and release the report. Otherwise, the legacy of torture he inherited will become his own,” he said.
    What do you guys think? If true, this is an astonishingly brazen move to by the CIA to hack into the Senate committee's computers to remove documents about their legacy of "enhanced interrogation" (or better yet, torture) as well as monitor the committee's meetings.

    It's one thing for agencies like the NSA to screw over private citizens, which the Washington establishment (including Feinstein) hardly bats an eye over, and another thing entirely when the CIA targets their betters and superiors. I'm guessing the Senate isn't going to lie down on that one. It is funny, though, how Feinstein is completely fine with the NSA mass surveillance and meta data collection, yet when it comes to her personal computer she puts on the political boxing gloves and makes a right hook to Brenner's face.

    Also, there's something terribly wrong and dysfunctional about a government that allows one of its own intelligence agencies to snoop on it and intervene like this. I'd say it's about time someone on Capitol Hill reined the CIA in. Especially since President Obama and former President Bush aren't going to lift a finger, seeing how they're such good buddies with people like Brennan. After all it was Bush who gave Brennan his newly created position of Director of the National Counterterrorism Center ten years ago.

  2. #2
    Hoplite of Ilis's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report


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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoplite of Ilis View Post
    Unfortunately no, but that would be hilarious.

    Getting back to the article, this all sounds like the premise to a Jason Bourne movie, doesn't it? Or an episode of the TV show Burn Notice. That is, serious infighting, brewing legal battles, and cloak-and-dagger intrigue in Washington involving the very director of the CIA.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Getting back to the article, this all sounds like the premise to a Jason Bourne movie, doesn't it? Or an episode of the TV show Burn Notice. That is, serious infighting, brewing legal battles, and cloak-and-dagger intrigue in Washington involving the very director of the CIA.
    At Langley, we call it Tuesday.

    It is important to keep in mind that these accusation come from a staunch supporter of the NSA; anyone who trying to dismiss her as commie/liberal would have a very hard time with this line of smear.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    I don't really understand why the CIA would act to subvert any investigation into the matter since the documents are classified. How exactly is monitoring the computers, if they are indeed doing that, subverting the investigation? The documents they want are classified right? So either they get a hold of them by getting them declassified, or they are indeed using surreptitious means to get a hold of the material they want. In that case I guess I could see the CIA responding. Otherwise I feel like why risk a widening of the situation rather than just wrapping yourself up in a cloak of secrecy. If Obama has the authority to declassify the reports and hasn't yet then I'm not sure why the CIA feels like it would need to take an active role in subverting the investigation. The administration doesn't seem like its too hasty to throw them to the wolves.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Jin View Post
    I don't really understand why the CIA would act to subvert any investigation into the matter since the documents are classified. How exactly is monitoring the computers, if they are indeed doing that, subverting the investigation? The documents they want are classified right? So either they get a hold of them by getting them declassified, or they are indeed using surreptitious means to get a hold of the material they want. In that case I guess I could see the CIA responding. Otherwise I feel like why risk a widening of the situation rather than just wrapping yourself up in a cloak of secrecy. If Obama has the authority to declassify the reports and hasn't yet then I'm not sure why the CIA feels like it would need to take an active role in subverting the investigation. The administration doesn't seem like its too hasty to throw them to the wolves.
    Sounds like shes looking for an excuse to pressure declassifying the report.

    "See the report the CIA doesn't want you to see!"
    "When I die, I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like Fidel Castro, not screaming in terror, like his victims."

    My shameful truth.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    My question is...if they can hack into computers of Senators and other US politicians for that matter, can't they dig up dirt on those politicians and use it as blackmail? I think this is what politicians fear the most. They don't want their skeletons in the hands of the CIA or NSA, so they may fight for privacy rights not because they want privacy for Mr. Smith in their state, but because they want to secure their closet of skeletons.
    [ Under Patronage of Jom ]
    [ "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21 ]

  8. #8

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Quote Originally Posted by Armenum View Post
    My question is...if they can hack into computers of Senators and other US politicians for that matter, can't they dig up dirt on those politicians and use it as blackmail? I think this is what politicians fear the most. They don't want their skeletons in the hands of the CIA or NSA, so they may fight for privacy rights not because they want privacy for Mr. Smith in their state, but because they want to secure their closet of skeletons.
    The more I hear members of congress speak, the more I think they are only vaguely aware of this sort of thing.
    "When I die, I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like Fidel Castro, not screaming in terror, like his victims."

    My shameful truth.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Quote Originally Posted by Phier View Post
    The more I hear members of congress speak, the more I think they are only vaguely aware of this sort of thing.
    They should be. NSA/CIA can tap into their conversations, emails, files, you name it. I'm sure they can find some blackmail on each and every Senator and Representative. That should be a wake up call to these dinosaur politicians.
    [ Under Patronage of Jom ]
    [ "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21 ]

  10. #10
    YuriVII's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Hmmmm CIA spying on Congress?!?!? Well it is their job to spy on terrorists...

  11. #11

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Is this not the same senator who blasted Snowden, the irony.

  12. #12
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Quote Originally Posted by Wadehampton View Post
    Is this not the same senator who blasted Snowden, the irony.
    The very same senator, good sir. I'm fairly certain she gets plenty of iron in her daily diet to support that level of irony.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    The very same senator, good sir. I'm fairly certain she gets plenty of iron in her daily diet to support that level of irony.
    There's no irony here. It's just another hypocrite in Washington. She's okay with spying just so long it's not her being spied on. Or maybe it's one of her powerful friends, who knows. I doubt this is just a gut reaction though.

    The problem here I suppose is these people are suppose to be better then that.. oh and that's funny.

    Well I figure it's either that or she has a bone to pick with the likes of John Brennan. She's playing politics and John Brennan is in her way.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    I don't think shes being spied on myself. I think shes grandstanding.
    "When I die, I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like Fidel Castro, not screaming in terror, like his victims."

    My shameful truth.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    CIA has so much power over US government.. Why not just take it over and blackmail all key figures into submission? Or maybe they have already done that?
    By means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms -- elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest -- will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial [...]. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.
    -
    Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, 1958

  16. #16

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Still funny that an NSA cheerleader suddenly has a problem with domestic espionage when it happens to her friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heathen Hammer View Post
    CIA has so much power over US government.. Why not just take it over and blackmail all key figures into submission? Or maybe they have already done that?
    They've been doing that since the Cold war gave them these powers in the first place.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Quote Originally Posted by War lord View Post

    They've been doing that since the Cold war gave them these powers in the first place.
    Question is.. Is there blackmail to be used against CIA itself? With all the leaks that are going on, CIA could be a juicy target for Anonymous and like-minded individuals. Hell, they politicians that are getting blackmailed now know where to put their money...
    By means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms -- elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest -- will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial [...]. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.
    -
    Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, 1958

  18. #18

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyx732 View Post
    There's no irony here. It's just another hypocrite in Washington. She's okay with spying just so long it's not her being spied on. Or maybe it's one of her powerful friends, who knows. I doubt this is just a gut reaction though.
    This isn't about her being spied on, it's about the CIA deleting documents from an official Congressional investigation. There's kind of a huge difference there.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Sounds more like CYA and obstruction.
    Eats, shoots, and leaves.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Feinstein accuses CIA of 'intimidating' Senate staff over torture report

    Quote Originally Posted by General Mosh View Post
    This isn't about her being spied on, it's about the CIA deleting documents from an official Congressional investigation. There's kind of a huge difference there.
    I suppose then they had no back-ups of the deleted documents and/or all of documentation was digital. I try to do my best at not getting angry when stupid people do stupid things. It's the CIA..

    There's kind of a huge difference there.
    An even bigger difference is what it says in the first sentence. "catalogue of cover-ups, intimidation and smears aimed at investigators".
    Last edited by sleepyx732; March 14, 2014 at 07:01 PM.

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