By Alex Reyes/The Guardsman
Dianne Feinstein is a brave woman.
The United States Senator from San Francisco spoke on the Senate floor on March 11 to “set the record straight” about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s four-year review of the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention and interrogation (aka kidnap and torture) program, which began in 2002.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Feinstein accused the CIA of removing documents about its treatment of prisoners from computers provided to the committee by the agency, illegally searching those computers and trying to intimidate committee staff members.
“I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principle embodied in the United States Constitution, including the speech and debate clause,” Feinstein said. “It may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function.”
In other words, this is a very big deal. But there’s more.
“Besides the constitutional implications,” Feinstein said, “the CIA search may also have violated the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.”
Ever the gracious lady, Feinstein explained that she was making her public statement only after trying to resolve the matter “in a discreet and respectful way,” and after asking the agency for an apology and “a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate. I have received neither.”
Feinstein said this wasn’t the first time the CIA monkeyed around with the computers
(and “secure” location) it provided to the committee in 2009. In May 2010, Intelligence Committee staffers realized that some of the documents provided by the CIA had disappeared.
Feinstein said she and the committee learned the agency had removed “roughly 870 documents or pages of documents that were removed in February 2010” and “roughly another 50 that were removed in mid-May 2010.”
When committee staffers spoke to CIA officers about the matter, they denied the documents had been removed. Then they blamed the IT people. Then they blamed the White House. When the White House said they hadn’t told the CIA to do it, they apologized and promised they would never do so again.
Feinstein said she learned about the CIA’s search of the committee computers on Jan. 15 of this year, when CIA Director John Brennan requested an emergency meeting with her and Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).
This search, according to Feinstein, “involved not only a search of documents provided to the committee by the CIA, but also a search of the stand-alone and walled-off committee network drive containing the committee’s own internal work product and communications.”
Seemingly within minutes of Feinstein’s statement on the Senate floor, CIA Director Brennan responded. Interviewed by NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell before an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations, Brennan said, “As far as the allegations of CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn’t do that. That’s beyond the scope of reason.”
Either Dianne Feinstein is lying or John Brennan is lying. The good Senator Chambliss “reluctantly” spoke to the Senate on March 12, the day after Feinstein.
“Both of these matters have been now referred to the Department of Justice,” Chambliss said. “It may take us awhile before any accurate factual findings can be reached. Eventually, we will get to the bottom of this. But today I cannot make a statement that will reflect what actually occurred.”
Which brings us back to the bravery of Dianne Feinstein.
We know that the CIA has a history of destabilizing other democratically elected governments (Chile, Congo, Iran, etc.) and other democratic movements throughout the world.
In my opinion there is also ample evidence to suggest the CIA also took out John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States of America.
We also know that the agency is a master of character assassination as well as political assassination.
Will an equally courageous president, Congress and American people support the Senator from San Francisco?
Time will tell.