Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 05, 2014

CIA Spies On Its Overseers - Subverts Democratic Oversight

One can reasonably predict that this will become a huge scandal and that John Brennan's half-life as CIA chief is now very limited. McClatchy reports:

The CIA Inspector General’s Office has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations of malfeasance at the spy agency in connection with a yet-to-be released Senate Intelligence Committee report into the CIA’s secret detention and interrogation program, McClatchy has learned.

The criminal referral may be related to what several knowledgeable people said was CIA monitoring of computers used by Senate aides to prepare the study. The monitoring may have violated an agreement between the committee and the agency.

The CIA spied on the Senate committee that oversees the CIA. I am not aware of a similar thing happening since the days of John Edgar Hoover at the FBI.

The Senate committee has been preparing a thick file on the CIA's use of torture after 9/11. The report, still secret, allegedly says that the torture program was inhumane and completely useless and that the CIA systematically lied about its usefulness. The CIA protested and claimed that the committee report was wrong. But an internal study done by the CIA itself confirmed the still secret Senate committee report. To find out how the Senate committee got it hands on the internal CIA study the CIA bugged the computer networks the committee was using for its investigation. That last step is likely to now break some CIA necks.

At the center of this scandal is CIA chief and drone killing promoter John Brennan who was in a leading CIA position when the torture happened. I find it likely that he is personally responsible for the coverup attempt just as he personally was responsible for the crime itself. The New York Times has some additional details:

The agency’s inspector general began the inquiry partly as a response to complaints from members of Congress that C.I.A. employees were improperly monitoring the work of staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to government officials with knowledge of the investigation.

The committee has spent several years working on a voluminous report about the detention and interrogation program, and according to one official interviewed in recent days, C.I.A. officers went as far as gaining access to computer networks used by the committee to carry out its investigation.
[L]ast June, John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director, responded to the Senate report with a 122-page rebuttal challenging specific facts in the report as well as the investigation’s overarching conclusion — that the agency’s interrogation methods yielded little valuable intelligence.

Then, in December, Mr. Udall revealed that the Intelligence Committee had become aware of an internal C.I.A. study that he said was “consistent with the Intelligence Committee’s report” and “conflicts with the official C.I.A. response to the committee’s report.”

It appears that Mr. Udall’s revelation is what set off the current fight, with C.I.A. officials accusing the Intelligence Committee of learning about the internal review by gaining unauthorized access to agency databases.

What chutzpah. The CIA claims that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence overseeing the intelligence community should not have access to intelligence reports that set the agencies in bad light.

The NYT also reveals that contracters(!) review all papers before the government employees of the Senate committee staff are allowed to see them.

Now, the intelligence committee is well know for usually being very protective of the spies, but I find it likely that it will react very harsh to being spied on itself.

Any pretense of a functioning democracy becomes incredible when the executive subverts the legislative arm overseeing it. To keep up the pretense will now necessitate a big purge at the CIA.

Posted by b on March 5, 2014 at 10:50 UTC | Permalink


Wasn't Michael Hastings working on an investigative journalism report on John O. Brennan before Hastings turned up dead when his Mercedes 'swerved into a tree then blew up' (or the tire was blown out by remote control then blown up because if you look at the wreck, that wasn't a gasoline fire, I've seen those) with enough force to incinerate the evidence of a concealed explosive device?

Hastings texted he had a 'big story' an hour before. The LA coroner said, "the cause of death was massive blunt-force trauma consistent with a high-speed *front-end* impact."

Does this look like a 'front-end' impact?

I mean, how to you *broadside a tree*, passenger-side on, going down a straight boulevard? The obvious scarring on the tree trunk is being hidden by LAPD officer and tripod. The LA Coroner said Hastings had only traces of meth and pot drugs in his system, but official news was he has relapsed and was on heavy hallucinogens. I mean, if the evidence was tampered with, fine, that's CIASOP, but then at least get their stories straight!

The fact is, Americans are being spied on by CIA, NSA, ZUSA, AT&T, Google, Facebook and Apple, ...and those are the ones we know of. All the MSM, including Public Radio, only deliver the Party Line. Look at the coverage on Ukraine. Americans live in a STASI police state and are bathed in the blood of ZUSA political and economic propaganda, 24x7x365.

Hastings, Richard Holbrooke too, who once declared publicly that "85% of American aid to Afghanistan is bicycled right back to WADC-NOVA," (choosing a round-about way to tell the world Hillary Clinton was filling her ambassador pouches on five covert trips at the $5 B a year fund she and Milliband set up for Karzai), later died after an 'aortic dissection' medical procedure. Hours *before* Holbrooke's death Obama had called Holbrooke "a towering figure in American foreign policy" who was a critical player in developing the Clinton policy on Afghanistan. Sounds like something Gambinos'd say before, 'sleeps with the'.

You can imagine the pressure that Kerry's under to carry the water for O'Hillary, and you can see it in plain view now, the looting, and the disclosures. There was a investigative reporter today talking about UK/EU 'open for business' as their economies crater, they're looting and money laundering and tax dodging for the uber-oligarchs, then heard another reporter about the money-men surrounding KSA, as billions flow back and forth around the world in private jets avoiding detection, gun running, drug peddling, influence buying.

You have to wonder how far over the cliff America will fly, before the cracks appear and the lights go out? Then the pod-people will come out to feed, ha,ha,ha.

Back to you, Brian.

Posted by: Chip Nikh | Mar 5 2014 11:29 utc | 1

Don't count on the CIA losing to the Senate. You should try to avoid using the term "democracy" when talking about representative government. When Ben Franklin was asked, after the constitutional convention, what type of government we would have he supposedly said "a Republic if you can keep it". I can think of only one democracy and that would be Switzerland. Representative government has proved to be such a dismal failure because power corrupts.

Posted by: par4 | Mar 5 2014 12:49 utc | 2

Is it my imagination, or was there a recent story in Veterans Today about a purported purge of US intel agencies? A commenter or two, here, poured cold water on Duff and V.T. Perhaps Duff isn't as irrelevant as some people wish he could be?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 5 2014 13:13 utc | 3

The CIA is and always has been the handmaiden of elitist America. Industrial spying has been just as prevalent as foreign spying and, what American insouciants don’t realize, domestic spying as well. JFK, who accepted full responsibility for the Bay of Pigs CIA fiasco and failure, then fired Allen Dulles and a few other CIA officials and was reported to have said,

“I want to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds
Even Truman, who approved the creation of the CIA, according to Merle Miller's 1973 book Plain Speaking, eventually believed it was one of his biggest mistakes:
I think that (the CIA and its creation) was a mistake. And if I'd known what was going to happen, I never would have done it.... But it got out of hand.... Now as nearly as I can make out, those fellows in the CIA don't just report on wars and the like, they go out and make their own and there is nobody to keep track of what they are up to. They spend billions of dollars on stirring up trouble so they will have something to report on. They've become... it's become a government of all its own and all secret. They just don't have to report to anybody...

Lets hope (what pie in the sly thinking) the Senate committee will accomplish what Kennedy didn't have time to accomplish.

Posted by: juannie | Mar 5 2014 13:24 utc | 4

Three great stories in one brief morning!
It is time you had a print edition b.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 5 2014 14:39 utc | 5

@bevin . It is time you had a print edition b.

Print demands much better writing which takes more time ... no, I'll stick to blogging ...

Posted by: b | Mar 5 2014 15:18 utc | 6

Chip Nikh @ #1,

In re Hastings and his not merely dangerous, but fatal, liaisons, here are two links for further information:

Increasingly, your car is computer-driven, and eminently hackable. We didn't see that one coming.

Posted by: JerseyJeffersonian | Mar 5 2014 17:42 utc | 7

This could develop into a Constitutional crisis concerning separation of powers. The CIA could request the White House claim executive privilege for the CIA's own "summary" to prevent the SSCI from legally accessing it.

Great stories, b, as usual

Posted by: ess emm | Mar 5 2014 17:50 utc | 8

It takes a helluva lot more money too.
Nevertheless given that most computers have printers and bulletin boards exist everywhere "print editions" with links to the website can spread the word that there are sites and bloggers uncorrupted and not subject to controls.

Talking of which there is mention, I think it is at emptywheel, of the possibility of D Notice style pre-publication censorship being imposed in the US. If it is there is little doubt that the internet will be subject to it as well.

When that happens, and if things continue in the current direction it will not be long, the publication of information liable to embarass the ruling class will become, as it was before the internet, the crucial political question.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 5 2014 18:02 utc | 9

I am not so sure something so shady even did occur during J. Edgar's rule.

I know the church committee showed they spied on Congressmen, but not to affect investigations regarding the CIA.

I could be wrong, but this may be a unprecedented power play by the CIA.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 6 2014 2:23 utc | 10

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