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Panel Advises Against Punishing CIA For Accessing Senate Intelligence Computers

Consequences are so last century. Now they get to do whatever they want.
Panel Advises Against Punishing CIA For Accessing Senate Intelligence Computers

Senator Diane Feinstein has had an ongoing fight with the CIA over their use of torture on prisoners and it reached an apotheosis of sorts when she accused them of spying on Senate Intelligence Committee's computers during their investigation into the use of torture back in March.

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the CIA of secretly removing classified documents from her staff's computers in the middle of an oversight investigation, while another lawmaker said Congress should "declare war" on the spy agency if it's true.

John Brennan, the head of the CIA told her that they were just checking to see if the committee had an unauthorized copy of the Panetta Report.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said CIA Director John Brennan told her in January that agency personnel searched the computers last year because they believed the panel's investigators might have gained access to materials on an internal review they were not authorized to see.

"The CIA did not ask the committee or its staff if the committee had access to the internal review or how we obtained it," Feinstein said in blistering remarks on the Senate floor. "Instead, the CIA just went and searched the committee's computer."

Sure, that's all they were looking for. Anyway, an investigation was launched and now they are recommending that nobody is punished for the computer intrusion.

A panel investigating theCentral Intelligence Agency’s search of a computer network used by staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who were looking into the C.I.A.’s use of torture will recommend against punishing anyone involved in the episode, according to current and former government officials.

The panel will make that recommendation after the five C.I.A. officials who were singled out by the agency’s inspector general this year for improperly ordering and carrying out the computer searches staunchly defended their actions, saying that they were lawful and in some cases done at the behest of John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director.

It's not surprising given that panel appointed by Brennan himself was composed of three CIA officers and two outsiders, but there's still a lot of anger to go around.


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But its decision not to recommend anyone for disciplinary action is likely to anger members of the Intelligence Committee, who have accused the C.I.A. of trampling on the independence of Congress and interfering with its investigation of agency wrongdoing. The computer searches occurred late last year while the committee was finishing an excoriating report on the agency’s detention and interrogation program.

The computer search raised questions about the separation of powers and caused one of the most public rifts in years between the nation’s intelligence agencies and the Senate oversight panel, which conducts most of its business in secret. It led to an unusually heated and public rebuke by Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who is the committee’s chairwoman.

Read the whole article, but I can tell you that this issue is a long way from being solved.

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