Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Quick Thought on the CIA-Senate Controversy

 

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.

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  1. Fricosis Guy Listener

    John Yoo:

    President Obama should order the CIA Director to remove those responsible who are still working at the agency…

    …and he’ll also order that they leave behind a little spyware as a welcome present for the new GOP majority.

    • #1
    • August 1, 2014, at 6:12 AM PDT
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  2. KC Mulville Inactive

    I don’t know enough about the specific details yet, because the story is still unraveling. 

    But we’ve been complaining around here about how a spineless and supine Democrat Senate is what enables Obama to get away with such brazen lawlessness. Maybe it’s just a brick in the wall, but this incident may give the Democrat senators a wake-up call …

    Yeah, this is what we’ve been talking about! You know how we’ve complained about a White House that’s so demeaning and condescending to everyone else that they simply don’t care about your rights and obligations? This is what we’re talking about! Join the Club! Start helping us to rein this guy in! Do your damned job, for your own self-preservation if for nothing else!
    • #2
    • August 1, 2014, at 6:57 AM PDT
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  3. Tuck Inactive

    “…what enables Obama to get away with such brazen lawlessness.”

    Good God, I can’t believe I’m about to do this, but I don’t think this is Obama’s issue. This is entirely consistent with the attitude across the entire Intelligence Bureacracy for several decades.

    So yeah, Obama’s the CiC now, but as the results of the Church Committee demonstrate, the CIA has long been of the opinion that it’s entitled to everything…

    • #3
    • August 1, 2014, at 7:32 AM PDT
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  4. KC Mulville Inactive

    Tuck:

    “…what enables Obama to get away with such brazen lawlessness.”

    Good God, I can’t believe I’m about to do this, but I don’t think this is Obama’s issue. This is entirely consistent with the attitude across the entire Intelligence Bureacracy for several decades.

    So yeah, Obama’s the CiC now, but as the results of the Church Committee demonstrate, the CIA has long been of the opinion that it’s entitled to everything…

    Fair point. The ongoing CIA attitude plays into Obama’s hands, but Obama didn’t cause it.

    • #4
    • August 1, 2014, at 7:42 AM PDT
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  5. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    It’s a pity they can’t both lose.

    • #5
    • August 1, 2014, at 10:56 AM PDT
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  6. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    < devil’s advocate mode = on >

    Completely hypothetically-speaking, imagine that the CIA had evidence that a foreign power had infiltrated the Senate’s computer network, and it had good reason to believe that providing this information to the FBI or the Senate’s internal IT security personnel would tip-off the foreign power that it had been exposed, so the CIA undertakes a project to monitor the Senate computer network itself to collect information against the foreign power.

    In the words of George Carlin, “would that then be a sin, Faddah?”

    < devil’s advocate mode = off >

    • #6
    • August 1, 2014, at 12:54 PM PDT
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  7. M1919A4 Member
    M1919A4Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Misthiocracy makes a good point. This is what occurs when there is a justified and complete loss of confidence among the parties. For example, I would not trust for a moment Harry Reid or his running-dog compatriots to deal properly with such a condition, if it existed.

    But, what ought to happen is a top-secret briefing of the Senate’s bi-partisan leadership on the situation and a careful, candid, and confidential joint endeavor by the Senate, FBI, White House, and CIA to determine who is doing the penetrating, what has been compromised, and what ought to be done to terminate the problem and annul its consequences.

    • #7
    • August 2, 2014, at 10:10 AM PDT
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