John Brennan’s CIA penetrated and spied on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee’s computer network during the Committee’s investigation of the legality of the CIA’s infamous detention and interrogation program, according to a report released by the CIA’s Inspector General July 31.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) demanded CIA Director John Brennan’s immediate resignation on Thursday. Udall said, “[Brennan’s] grave misconduct not only is illegal, but it violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of separation of powers.”
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) has called for Brennan’s resignatiion. So has Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the Ranking Republican Member of the Intelligence Committee, said “This is a serious situation and there are serious violations,” calling for the CIA employees to be “dealt with very harshly,” according to the New York Times.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the CIA spying on the Intelligence Committee’s staff “Appalling and deeply threatening to our system of checks and balances.”
Sen. Angus King (I-Me.), said the CIA’s action violated both the spirit and the letter of the Constitutional separation of powers. “How do we do our oversight if we can’t believe what is being represented to us in our committee?”
Sen. Feinstein, the Chair of the Intelligence Committee, who first went public with the CIA’s spying on the Committee in a March floor speech, Friday said that the resolution of the matter “will show … whether our work can be thwarted by those we oversee…. Director Brennan apologized for these actions and submitted the IG report report to an accountability board. These are positive first steps.”
However, Obama, who undoubtedly knew about Brennan’s spying on the Senate all along, stated, “I have full confidence in John Brennan. Hes acknowledged that CIA personnel did not properly handled documents not authorized to be released. Keep in mind, he called for an IG investigation.”
The CIA Inspector General’s Report released on July 31 found that the CIA officers read the e-mails of the Senate investigators starting in 2009, when the CIA began to suspect that the committee’s staff had gained “unauthorized access to an internal CIA review of the detention program that the CIA never intended to give to Congress,” the New York Times reported, and referred Committee staffers to the Justice Department. The Inspector General’s report concluded that there was no “factual basis” for this referral, and which the Justice Department refused to investigate.
In March, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) tore into the CIA on the floor of Congress, accusing it of attempting to intimidate Congress. At that time, John Brennan lied. His response, reported in the Huffington Post at the time, was “As far as allegations about CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth…. We wouldn’t do that. That’s just beyond the scope of reason.” Brennan’s lie was exposed by Thursday’s IG Report.
The Daily Beast reported Thursday that the torture report will be released in the next few days: “The redacted, 600-page executive summary of the 6,300-page report is expected to reveal that CIA interrogators abroad misled or failed to properly inform officials, lawmakers, and even the Secretary of State about the use of harsh interrogation techniques against prisoners in CIA prisons around the world. Moreover, the document is expected to say that the use of those techniques was not effective in collecting unique intelligence or thwarting plots.”