CIA Improperly Accessed Senate Staff Computers

Senate Intelligence Committee Members Ask White House For Official Apology From CIA For Hacking Senate Computers

from the CIA:-it’s-time-to-let-unacknowledged-wrongdoing-remain-unacknowledged dept

Ron Wyden, Martin Heinrich and Mazie Hirono — all members of Senate Intelligence Committee — have sent a letter to the President demanding an official apology from CIA head John Brennan for the agency’s surveillance of Senate staffers working on the Torture Report.

“In January 2014, CIA personnel conducted an unauthorized, unprecedented search of Senate committee files, including the emails and other files of Senate staff investigating the CIA’s use of torture,” says the letter…

“The CIA Inspector General stated in a July 2014 report that this search involved ‘improper agency access to [Senate Intelligence Committee] files.’ A review board selected by CIA Director Brennan concluded in December 2014 that this CIA search ‘resulted in inappropriate access to [Senate Intelligence Committee] work product’.”


“We believe that it is necessary for you to ensure that senior officials in your administration recognize the importance of adhering to the rule of law,” the lawmakers wrote to Obama. “We ask that you instruct Director Brennan to acknowledge that the CIA’s unauthorized search of Senate files was improper and will not be repeated.”

The White House and CIA have yet to comment on the letter and there’s nothing in the history of the incident that suggests either will move forward on this. Obama’s on short time and the CIA already cleared itself of all wrongdoing with an in-house “investigation” and further showed its disdain for independent oversight by throwing its Inspector General and his report on the spying efforts under the bus.

Jason Leopold and Vice obtained hundreds of documents through FOIA requests that appeared to show the opposite of what the CIA’s internal investigation claimed. But it was the CIA that had the last word, proclaiming itself innocent and simultaneously accusing Senate staffers of improperly accessing restricted documents.

But the most damning document — at least in the context of a demand for an official apology from the CIA — was the apology the agency unofficially disavowed when it cleared itself of hacking allegations.

[T]he documents turned over to VICE News included a July 28, 2014 letter from Brennan that was addressed to Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss, who was then the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, in which he apologized to them and admitted that the CIA’s penetration of the computer network used by committee staffers reviewing the agency’s torture program was improper.

The thing is, Brennan never signed or sent this apology. It just sat in a Torture Report-related file until it was FOIAed. Brennan even offered a closed-door, off-the-record apology to Dianne Feinstein, but to date, the final official word remains the CIA’s: we did nothing wrong.

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