CIA director apologizes to lawmakers as probe finds officers read Senate emails
The director of the CIA, offering a rare apology, has acknowledged an internal probe’s findings that CIA employees in the Executive Branch improperly spied on the Legislative Branch by searching Senate computers and reading staffers’ emails earlier this year.
According to a declassified CIA inspector general’s report, CIA officers improperly accessed Senate computers, read the emails of Senate staff, and exhibited a “lack of candor” when interviewed by agency investigators. The document, released Thursday by the CIA, is a summary of an internal CIA investigation — which prompted CIA Director John Brennan to abandon his defiant posture in the matter and apologize to Senate Intelligence Committee leaders.
Brennan also has convened an accountability board that will investigate the conduct of the CIA officers and discipline them, if need be.
But the admission already has led to fierce recriminations from Senate lawmakers.
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said he has “lost confidence” in Brennan, and urged the administration to appoint an independent counsel to investigate.
By Thursday afternoon, he had called for Brennan’s resignation.
“The CIA unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into the Senate Intelligence Committee computers,” Udall said. “This grave misconduct not only is illegal, but it violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of separation of powers. These offenses, along with other errors in judgment by some at the CIA, demonstrate a tremendous failure of leadership, and there must be consequences.”
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called for a “public apology” from Brennan.
“The CIA Inspector General has confirmed what Senators have been saying all along: The CIA conducted an unauthorized search of Senate files, and attempted to have Senate staff prosecuted for doing their jobs,” Wyden said. “Director Brennan’s claims to the contrary were simply not true.”
The forthcoming CIA inspector general report examined conflicting allegations that CIA personnel and Senate intelligence committee staff each improperly accessed documents.
The report determined agency officers searched Senate computers without permission for information gathered in the course of a Senate investigation into the CIA’s interrogation techniques. Five agency employees improperly accessed Senate computers in an effort to track down certain documents, the inspector general found. Then, after Brennan ordered a halt to the review, the CIA office of security began a “limited investigation” that led to surveillance of Senate emails, the report said.
Three information technology staff “demonstrated a lack of candor about their activities” in interviews with CIA investigators, the report said.
The CIA inspector general shared his findings with the Justice Department, which has so far declined to pursue criminal charges against the CIA employees, officials said.
An agency spokesman said the report concluded “that some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between” the committee and the CIA in 2009 regarding access to a shared classified computer network. The CIA penetration occurred after the aides got ahold of documents that the CIA claimed were internal, but which showed that some CIA officials shared misgivings about the treatment of Al Qaeda detainees.
The development was the subject of wildly different characterizations by sources on either side of the dispute.
Senate aides familiar with the matter say the CIA used classified “hacking tools” and created a fake user account in an effort to retrieve documents the CIA believed the Senate staffers had improperly accessed.
A U.S. official familiar with the inspector general report disputed that hacking tools were used, and said that there was no malicious intent behind the CIA actions, but simply an effort to account for documents believed to have been improperly accessed.
From what I can gather, the Senate improperly accessed some files from the CIA and the CIA improperly “accessed” them back.
I’m pretty sure we haven’t heard the last of this.
“I’m pretty sure we haven’t heard the last of this. ”
Well obviously not. First, the media will go on a worldwide nonstop CIA devotional tour, second, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., will very likely be in the news, on the gossipy pages, being involved in something very juicy, very illegal, or maybe he’ll befriend a nail gun, who knows. Maybe his Mercedes will hit a palm tree with 20 mph and explode. Things like that happen all the time.
It’ll be more like what Biber said err did to Bloom, 😆 Look over there a distraction! Just like Tiger Woods when Climate Gate broke out all over the internet. 😆
That’s what happens when you take impeachment off the table. 2 laws were broken. One, that the CIA was not supposed to spy internally and 2 the separation of powers.
And nothing will be done.
We’ve already converted back to kings.
Yea, but we only got the court jester.
uh…why can’t Snowden use the same excuse?
So they broke the law….no doubt….and that’s the end of it
Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings.
NO ONE should be subjected to warrantless searches. They should be charged criminally.
Which ones, the pols or the CIA?
One problem with that, and that’s when there is a war on. War runs on a different set of rules.
Still, the CIA should have left that kind of thing to the FBI or the DEA :P. Given the facts presented, there’s a bunch of folk who should be checking into the grey-bar hotel for a ‘brief’ stay.
Aren’t war criminals hmmmm… identified – though?
I mean: Here’s Joe Blow we suspect him of war crimes?
Yes, though I have a problem with the whole idea of War Crimes. It rubs me the wrong way just like Thought or Hate Crimes. War is 4377, to second guess some things after-the-fact without having to make decisions in the heat of battle under conditions of uncertainty, grinds my gears. I now have to worry about my Navy Man OCS candidate son. Will he be caught up in some crap because a leftist didn’t like something done in a war that was deemed necessary, by him, as an officer? Lord, I hope not.
I agree. War itself is a crime. But people have to act like they are civilized about it so they make monkey trials of those that performed the worst stunts to legitimize the fact they are going to basically kill a POW.
Aha…Yes, I see your point.
I worry about my Brother, too.
The thing is…they’d have to identify him.
Not just search his junk like NSA, IRS, CIA does without a warrant.
At the Nuremberg trials, a War Crime was defined as something that a member of the Axis troups had done. By definition, a war crime could not have been committed by a member of the Allied Forces.
In the SHAEF Military Laws that were imposed on Germany in 1945, and of which some laws stayed in force at least until the reunification of Germany in 1990, (they were taken over into the civil law of the BRD); there was one interesting one that says – no media in Germany may report about War Crimes by the Allies. And that one WAS in force til 1990 at least.
Indeed, before the Internet age, I never heard in German TV about the Betrayal Of The Cossacks by the Brits – most definitely a war crime. And how, with todays moral yardsticks, would the carpet bombings of German and Japanese cities, and the nuclear bombings count under the war crime lense? Well actually I think those bombings were the exact reason for the Nuremberg definitions.
One other thing that needs to be considered. Open communications are not considered private when they involve 3rd parties. Rightfully or wrongfully, you must have signals intelligence. Radio communications are open. They’ve always been considered public and from the 30s on, anyone could freely make, sell, or possess *any* kind of a radio receiver.
Something written on a post card is not considered private. Something written and sent in a sealed envelope is considered private. It gets tricky when encrypted communication is done, whether over a wire or over the ‘air’. That should be considered private, though if you use the internet to send it, you must understand that any switch or router or server can and does keep a copy of the packets so they can be retransmitted on demand. Thus, I don’t consider anything I put on the internet to be private.
Consider this: anything you put in the ‘public’ trash receptacle is not private. Anyone can go dumpster diving to retrieve it, so be wary of what you put in the city recycling bin. To search your home and your trash can on your property would require a warrant to support a criminal investigation. A civil investigation is a different matter. War is a different matter.
The same idea applies to driving on your own property versus driving on the government’s roads. If the cops stop you for anything reasonable, such as DUI, they can search your car.