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CIA admits to searching Senate computers

CIA admits to searching Senate computers

John Brennan’s apology may be the beginning of the end of his rocky career

In extraordinary backtracking today, Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan apologized to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) because some CIA officers improperly accessed computers used by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

A declassified CIA inspector general’s report released to the Senators on Thursday revealed that agency officers improperly accessed Senate computers, read emails of Senate committee staff, and tried to hide their actions from agency investigators.

From the Los Angeles Times:

In a statement issued by the agency, a CIA spokesman said Director John Brennan had apologized to Senate Intelligence Committee chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and other committee leaders for the computer search.

The spokesman said the agency’s inspector general had found evidence that CIA officers’ actions were “inconsistent with the common understanding” between the agency and committee.

“The director is committed to correcting any shortcomings related to this matter,” CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said Thursday.

The CIA has set up an accountability board, led by former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, to review the inspector general’s findings and recommend disciplinary actions, if necessary, Boyd said.

Feinstein raised eyebrows in March when she made the original snooping allegations against the CIA during a speech on the Senate floor.

It turns out she was right and Brennan had to eat crow today. The big question now is will Brennan remain as the head of the CIA. He has always been a controversial player in Washington, DC, and today’s revelations may be the beginning of his end.

The admission brings Brennan’s already rocky tenure at the head of the CIA under renewed question. One senator on the panel said he had lost confidence in the director, although the White House indicated its support for a man who has been one of Barack Obama’s most trusted security aides.

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd acknowledged that agency staff had improperly monitored the computers of committee staff members, who were using a network the agency had set up, called RDINet. “Some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between [the committee] and the CIA in 2009 regarding access to the RDINet,” he said.

Asked if Brennan had or would offer his resignation, a different CIA spokesman, Ryan Trapani, replied: “No.”

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) who is in a tough re-election campaign this year wasted no time in calling on Brennan to step aside.

“From the unprecedented hacking of congressional staff computers and continued leaks undermining the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program to his abject failure to acknowledge any wrongdoing by the agency, I have lost confidence in John Brennan,” Udall said in a statement.

One need only look to this piece at Salon to wonder if Brennan’s days are numbered. Brennan is deeply mistrusted by Obama’s progressive base and snooping on Senate staffers could be the last straw.


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Did they search Leakey Lehey’s computer?

Funny how when Democrats are affected suddenly there are no claims of ‘false scandals’ or ‘witch hunts’.

MouseTheLuckyDog | July 31, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Seems like Obama is becoming quite Nixonian.

BannedbytheGuardian | July 31, 2014 at 8:58 pm

– #equality4USenators

Well, we may as well find out what they have on Lois Lerner and the IRS, The EPA, Benghazi, Fast & Furious…
The Birth Certificate, draft registration, SSN, College records..
Or did they just cherry pick the stuff?

Why would anyone be surprised that the CIA spied on a network they set up? I would have figured from the start that they were seeing everything I did on their net.

    The bigger issue was that Brennan was threatening to have staffers brought up on extremely serious felonies against flag and country, stealing and attempting to steal national security information wrongfully (and supposedly accidentally) placed on the database available to the Senate committee. Conviction of such charges would have resulted in hard prison time and complete destruction of these individuals’ careers in government.

    And now, oops, sorry, we were wrong?

      Estragon in reply to JBourque. | August 1, 2014 at 12:41 am

      They were not wrong. The Senate staffers did violate the agreement by printing out unauthorized copies of classified material, some of which they proceeded to leak.

      They belong in prison.

      CIA should not have tried to investigate it themselves since it is outside their jurisdiction. It should have been handed over to NSA or DOJ for investigation.

      That doesn’t mean the “victims” were innocent of anything.

What may be missing here is that the CIA spied on the only oversight it has-Senate Intelligence Committee.

Wierder….is that they knew it.

Wierder still, they don’t seem to care a whole lot.

    Estragon in reply to Browndog. | August 1, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Wrong again. They only checked the separate computer they had set up to give Senators and approved staff access to classified materials they would normally have had to go to Langley to view. They did so because it was fairly obvious that Senate staffers were violating the rules by printing and leaking documents.

    But they had no jurisdiction to investigate it themselves. That’s the sin.

    They were clearly not “spying on the oversight committee,” just on the computer CIA made available to them.

      JerryB in reply to Estragon. | August 1, 2014 at 7:53 am

      That’s a distinction I didn’t catch from the coverage. Thanks.

      MarlaHughes in reply to Estragon. | August 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Estragon, if you write anywhere I’d love to follow you. You keep a rational head, have a mind for the nuances and remember relevant facts, putting them together in ways others often miss. Like this instance.
      Brennan is still evil, though. I hope you agree. 🙂

Oh, what’s the fuss? He apologized. Get over it.

Had Dubya’s CIA hacked Feinstein, there’d be prosecutions, and rightly so. Will DiFi do the right thing?

Maybe it’s just the end of the beginning.

The peter principle is in full on mode in DC

Does anyone get fired there? For anything? Ever?

Haven’t liked this guy since his “al-Quds” address at NYU in 2010.

The enemy is way inside the halls of US power. And Feinstein only reacts cause she got bit.

They’re all disgusting.