CIA Admits Spying on Senate Staffers, Fraudulent Criminal Referral

By:  Thomas R. Eddlem
CIA Admits Spying on Senate Staffers, Fraudulent Criminal Referral

An internal CIA Inspector General review of charges brought March 13 by Senator Dianne Feinstein has concluded the CIA did indeed spy on Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, delete information on their computers, and knowingly refer false information to the U.S. Justice Department for prosecution of Senate staffers.

The CIA actions amounts to a blatant violation of the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers, the Fourth Amendment, and a swath of congressionally-enacted statutes.

“I was briefed Tuesday by CIA Inspector General David Buckley on the results of an IG investigation,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wrote in a statement published on her website. “The investigation confirmed what I said on the Senate floor in March — CIA personnel inappropriately searched Senate Intelligence Committee computers in violation of an agreement we had reached, and I believe in violation of the constitutional separation of powers.”

Feinstein — who had been the biggest apologist in the U.S. Senate for U.S. intelligence agencies before a March 11 speech condemning the CIA for its surveillance of Senate Intelligence Committee staffers — termed the CIA admission “positive first steps.” On March 11, Senator Feinstein accused the CIA of violating the principles of separation of powers, the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and Presidential Executive Order 12333.

The CIA admission follows categorical denials that it had either hacked into Senate computers or deleted information. “As far as the allegations of CIA hacking into Senate computers,” CIA Director John Brennan told a Council on Foreign Relations confab on March 11, “nothing could be further from the truth. I mean, we wouldn't do that. I mean, that's — that's just beyond the scope of reason in terms of what we would do."

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Photo of CIA Director John Brennan: AP Images

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