Recently, the news has captured a striking story regarding a possible CIA scandal documented in several reports. Terence Samuel, deputy national political editor, claims the fight can be public, but the subject matter will not be made public. A “behind-the-scenes battle” between Congress and the CIA has unraveled this week. The Senate Intelligence Committee accused the agency of breaking laws and constitutional principles.
Chairman Dianne Feinstein, a democrat of California, accused the CIA of removing documents as she spoke on the floor. It has been claimed that the CIA has also used intimidation tactics against congressional investigators by requesting the FBI review their recent conducts. CIA Director John Brennan disputed these claims within hours of Feinstein’s time on the floor.
She starts off by stating she wrote a letter to the CIA director on Jan.17, objecting to the searches on a Constitutional basis. She wrote an additional letter on Jan. 23 asking 12 specific questions about the CIA’s actions. Some of her questions demanded disclosure of information behind the CIA search of computer networks. Other questions inquired specific names of authorization for these searches and names of who took part in the search, and on what legal basis does the CIA claim give them authority to do this, she added.
Because Brennan has not commented, she states there is a strong question about the CIA’s actions violating the separation of powers among government. Effective Congressional oversight is believed to have been undermined along with other Constitutional rights.
The Washington Post describes this as an escalating conflict, and a defining moment for Congress in its role in overseeing the nation’s intelligence communities. Brennan blasts accusations claiming people who are overly concerned about NSA or alleged CIA spying, will be proved wrong after the “facts come out on this.” He reports that the CIA has not been involved in the scandal, and the possibility of illegal actions taken by his agency is highly defended.
A 6,000 page report is expected to serve as record of the agency’s use of “waterboarding,” and other forms of brutal and inhumane interrogation tactics on terrorist suspects. Feinstein is working on declassifying the document.
White House press secretary Jay Carney spoke Tuesday. It is important to take a step back and observe what is being discussed, he said. It is a subject concerning activities that occurred during the previous administration, which Barack Obama strenuously opposed.
Feinstein has asked for acknowledgement from the CIA and an official apology, but that is not expected to happen. The inspector general, with the CIA, has turned the matter over to investigators with the Justice Department. Allegedly, the recent search was prompted after the intelligence committee initiated an investigation into the CIA’s detention and interrogation practices. The CIA claims a review of their program was obtained by the committee illegally, but Feinstein claims that it was available in a searchable database.
Contradictory actions have also been reported. Though Director Brennan denied Feinstein’s accusations, and believes people will be “proved wrong” when the facts come out, he has recently announced that the CIA wants to work with congressional overseers, and not against them. These words were sent via email that was sent to his colleagues and reporters. Brennan also wrote that the CIA agrees with many of the findings in the report, but other facts he disagrees with.
Since Jan. 15 of this year, Feinstein says she has been trying to resolve the dispute in a discreet and respectful way. She has not commented further on the matter beyond alleging there is an increasing amount of inaccurate information circulating, and this information should not go uncorrected. The public has not been told when to expect the 6,000 page report to be made public, but both sides will continue debating the possibility of a CIA scandal.
By Lindsey Alexander