You know things have gotten bad when Congress is itself accusing the CIA of overstepping their bounds in domestic surveillance. The previously “behind-the-scenes” dispute between the CIA and Congress overflowed into public view today when the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the CIA of breaching constitutional principles, and federal law in their efforts to undermine an investigation into the agency’s controversial interrogation program.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) publicly called out the CIA for secretly removing documents, as well as searching committee-used computers and further attempting to intimidate Congressional investigators. The Director of the CIA John O. Brennan denied these allegations.
One senator exclaimed that if the accusations are true, “this is Richard Nixon stuff.”
Brennan said that “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.”
Feinstein suggested that the CIA sabotaged committee efforts from the beginning by loading a massive amount of files without any index or ability to search.
“It was a true document dump,” Feinstein explained.
When the Senate tried to get around this, the CIA referred the matter to the FBI, alleging that they had violated the law. Feinstein was outraged.
“There is no legitimate reason to allege to the Justice Department that Senate staff may have committed a crime,” Feinstein explained, describing this move as “a potential effort to intimidate this staff, and I am not taking it lightly.”
When Brennan was asked if he would resign if the CIA was proven to be in the wrong, he said that he would let the president decide. “If I did something wrong, I will go to the president.” Confident that President Obama would support the moves made by the CIA, Brennan continued that “He is the one who can ask me to stay or to go.”
(Article by M.B. David)