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Troy asked me to weigh in on the news that the CIA gained access to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computer network while the committee was working on its report on the agency’s interrogation and detention program. I’m currently traveling in Korea, so we’ll take this up at greater length in the next Law Talk episode, but here are some preliminary thoughts.
Quite apart from this specific matter, my general sympathies are with the CIA as against the Senate committee. The CIA has the tough job of defending the nation’s security from foreign terrorist attacks while a partisan investigation (no Republican Senators agreed to take part) is second-guessing its every move.
When I first read about the dispute, I thought both the agency and the senators had overblown a small disagreement about who had access to certain classified documents. But if this report shows that CIA officials were covertly sneaking into Senate computers without any legal authority, then heads should roll. The separation of powers requires that each branch’s internal deliberations remain free from interference by the others. President Obama should order the CIA Director to remove those responsible who are still working at the agency. There has to be accountability for conduct this egregious.