Senate investigation of CIA’s use of torture provokes constitutional crisis

March 11, 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Good evening:

Senator Diane Feinstein (D) Chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee excoriated the CIA earlier today for withholding information from her committee and spying on its investigation into allegations that CIA officials tortured suspected terrorists after 9/11 in violation of federal laws.

Her committee is responsible for monitoring the government’s intelligence community, including the CIA. In turn it’s required to keep the committee informed about its activities. To that end the CIA supplied senate staff investigators with 6.2 million documents loaded onto several computers at a secure site off CIA property.

Based on a review of those records, the committee produced a 6,300 page report, which has not been declassified.

Senator Feinstein said today that the committee investigators discovered that the CIA leadership seriously misled the committee about its activities. Instead, the interrogators used brutal methods, including waterboarding, that constitute torture and they lied about it afterward while falsely claimed that their brutal methods produced useful intelligence.

She said that, although the CIA disputed some of the findings in the committee report, the CIA Inspector General conducted his own review and reached similar conclusions.

Drafts of that internal review were included in the documents provided to the committee alerting them to its existence.

How that happened is unknown, but committee staff subsequently noticed that those drafts mysteriously disappeared from the database and that led to Senator Feinstein’s accusation today that the CIA was spying on the committee’s investigation.

Meanwhile, general counsel for the CIA has accused senate staffers of hacking into agency computers and stealing classified documents.

Senator Feinstein has asked the Justice Department to conduct a criminal investigation of the CIA and she also has asked President Obama to declassify and publish her committee’s report as well as the inspector general’s report “to ensure that an un-american, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted.”

Sources:

The New York Times Editorial Board’s OpEd, The CIA Torture Cover-up

Corn, D., The Senate-CIA Blowup Threatens a Constitutional Crisis (Mother Jones Magazine)

The Washington Post, Intrigue at the top: CIA, Senate feud goes public

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