Throughout efforts by the Senate Intelligence committee to investigate the Bush Administration’s war crimes, the committee faced one obstacle after another. First, Republicans decided they would have no part of an investigation of the war crimes that Republicans continue to defend.
When the committee decided it would make the a redacted version of the executive summary public, the CIA engaged in the sort of dirty tricks one would expect from someone with something to hide. They tried to discredit the report’s findings and according to Senator Diane Feinstein, they hacked the committee’s computers while staffers were working on the report.
When Senator Diane Feinstein, accused them publically, the CIA denied it and accused committee staffers of wrongdoing. Thursday, the CIA admitted the accusation was true and offered a caveated apology.
In a statement to The Hill, CIA spokesman Dean Boyd offered up a contemporary version of the few bad apples explanation. “Some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding”.
According to Politico’s Josh Gerstein, John Brennan apologized.
The director subsequently informed the SSCI chairman and vice chairman of the findings and apologized to them for such actions by CIA officers as described in the OIG report.
According to the Inspector-General’s report released on Thursday,
Agency Access to Files on the SSCI RDINet: Five Agency employees, two attorneys and three information technology (IT) staff members, improperly accessed or caused access to the SSCI Majority staff shared drives on the RDINet.
Agency Crimes Report on Alleged Misconduct by SSCI Staff: The Agency filed a crimes report with the DOJ, as required by Executive Order 12333 and the 1995 Crimes Reporting Memorandum between the DOJ and the Intelligence Community, reporting that SSCI staff members may have improperly accessed Agency information on the RDINet. However, the factual basis for the referral was not supported, as the author of the referral had been provided inaccurate information on which the letter was based. After review, the DOJ declined to open a criminal investigation of the matter alleged in the crimes report.
Office of Security Review of SSCI Staff Activity: Subsequent to directive by the D/CIA to halt the Agency review of SSCI staff access to the RDINet, and unaware of the D/CIA’s direction, the Office of Security conducted a limited investigation of SSCI activities on the RDINet. That effort included a keyword search of all and a review of some of the emails of SSCI Majority staff members on the RDINet system.
Lack of Candor: The three IT staff members demonstrated a lack of candor about their activities during interviews by the OIG.
In other words, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee called it as it was, back in March.
While Senator Feinstein accepted Brennan’s apology as a “positive first step”, other members were less charitable.
In a statement, Senator Ron Wyden called on Brennan to make a public apology to the committee and its staff and to provide “a full accounting of how this occurred and a commitment there will be no further attempts to undermine Congressional oversight of CIA activities.”
Mark Udall called for Brennan’s resignation in a statement. ”After being briefed on the CIA Inspector General report today, I have no choice but to call for the resignation of CIA Director John Brennan. The CIA unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into Senate Intelligence Committee computers.”
Republican members of the committee were silent on a subject one might think is important to the self-described guardian party of the constitution. Of course, Brennan has also been a long time defender of the Bush torture program, so that might be why we can only hear crickets from Republican members.
As a long time defender of Bush’s torture program, Brennan was always a controversial choice to head the CIA. He tried to talk the President out of releasing the Bush Administration’s torture memos. Now that the spy agency had to admit that it violated the constitution by spying on a congressional committee out to expose the CIA’s involvement in a program that Brennan has repeatedly tried to keep from the American people, he has to go.
Image: Denver Post