WTF: CIA Took Secret, "Unprecedented Action" Against Senate Intelligence Committee


The New York Times is reporting that the CIA took what Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) called "unprecedented action" against the Senate Intelligence Committee in response to an investigation of the spy agency's actions following the 9/11 attacks.

The [Senate Intelligence] committee has spent several years working on a voluminous report about the detention and interrogation program, and according to one official interviewed in recent days, C.I.A. officers went as far as gaining access to computer networks used by the committee to carry out its investigation….

The specifics of the inspector general's investigation are unclear. But several officials interviewed in recent days — all of whom insisted on anonymity, citing a continuing inquiry — said it began after the C.I.A. took what Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, on Tuesday called an "unprecedented action" against the committee.

The action, which Mr. Udall did not describe, took place after C.I.A. officials came to suspect that congressional staff members had gained unauthorized access to agency documents during the course of the Intelligence Committee's years-long investigation into the detention and interrogation program.

Welcome to the 21st century, which is looking a whole lot like the 20th when it comes to CIA fooling around in places it shouldn't be. The Times story is short on specifics but includes this gem from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) who generally has never met a government incursion against civil liberties she doesn't like.

Asked about the tension between the committee and the spy agency it oversees, Ms. Feinstein said, "Our oversight role will prevail."

It seems so different, I guess, when your privacy is being undermined. Anything that gets the government to be better about living within constitutional constraints is a good thing.

Read the whole piece.

Watch Reason TV's interview with "Edward Snowden, v 1.0: NSA Whistleblower William Binney Tells All":

Go here for links, resources, downloadable versions.

NEXT: The Coming Lockdown on Coffee K-Cups

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I agree that my rights are getting shat upon, too, and that’s serious enough, but this does undermine the structure of our government, such that it is. I assume people are going to go to prison over this?

    1. My friend’s brother’s aunt’s sister, who also makes $3,000 a month(!!!!) told me that the CIA will be disbanded and sold for scrap. I believe it!

      1. Wow! Jack Frapp is jsut not gonna like this one bit!

        1. I am disappointed that’s not a real website.

          1. Bummed me out man.

          2. I’ll check GoDaddy to see if it’s still available.

      2. Oh, cool. I’d like a car/submarine, please.

        1. Your order is being processed. Please be aware that the result will look something like a Reliant Robin. Probably. Garbage in, garbage out, they say.

    2. I assume people are going to go to prison over this?

      Haha! Some people may be re-assigned or opt for early retirement. But prison?? Hahahahaha

      The good thing is that now that Feinstein is having her boxers invaded she will do something. When it was just us proles she could not have given a shit.

      1. The good thing is that now that Feinstein is having her boxers invaded she will do something.

        Unless we all have to wait for Boxer to have her feinsteins invaded too.

      2. I don’t get the sense that Feinstein (or her Boxer) really cares.

  2. Wow, villain-on-villain crime! I don’t know for whom to root!

    Oh, wait – yes I do. Odious though they are, I’ll always root for the bastards we vote in and out over the hired/appointed/bureaucratic shadow fuckers that fuck up everything.

    Fuck Congress and the Senate – fuck the CIA (and FBI for good measure) even more.

    1. I despise Congress, of course, but this kind of action by the executive is extremely dangerous. We’re talking Putin-level tactics. What’s next, poisoning Rand Paul for his “isolantionist” stance?

      1. What’s next, poisoning Rand Paul for his “isolantionist” stance?

        No, ProL, it’ll be a shunning.

        1. Planted child porn

          1. You were obviously spying on a chat discussion I had with a friend yesterday about the inevitable consequences of indefinite detention of “sex offenders”.

    2. I’ll always root for the bastards we vote in and out over the hired/appointed/bureaucratic shadow fuckers that fuck up everything

      I see it more like a Patriots-Giants Super Bowl – root for a terrorist attack that wipes them both out.

    3. Wow, villain-on-villain crime! I don’t know for whom to root!

      Root for Bourne. Jason Bourne.

  3. alternative alt-text: We could monitor their every moment.

    1. We’ll be listening to you.

  4. Gotta love it when someone who helped build the juggernaut falls under its wheels.

  5. It is my fondest hope that Senate advice and consent will include recall/impeachment of candidates who lied blatantly about how they would use their office during confirmation hearings.

    1. ecall/impeachment of candidates who lied blatantly about how they would use their office during confirmation hearings.

      That would raise the unemployment rate!! Would there be anyone left?

      1. I believe Tulpatroll made that very argument day before yesterday.

      2. They’ll be an oath saying they won’t rejoin the workforce so they won’t

  6. They can’t predict terrorist attacks on US interests home and abroad, but they sure can keep tabs on political enemies.

  7. Oh, come now! The PATRIOT ACT clearly gave the intelligence community the authority to monitor and oppose those subversive, un-American organizations that would deprive us of our liberty and I can only think of a couple of organizations more dedicated to the destruction of our liberty than the Senate.

    1. Unfortunately, I’d rank the CIA at or above.

      1. I would place the FBI at the highest anti-american institution
        Federal policing is against everything the founding fathers stood for, and the most blatant use of democracy as a weapon than a tool for establishing a consensus

  8. Ms. Feinstein said, “Our oversight role will prevail.”


    1. “Failure to protect Americans’ Constitutionally guaranteed liberties? Just an oversight.”

  9. “It seems so different, I guess, when your privacy is being undermined.”

    I’m not sure this will be so different.

    It’s true that people who won’t stand up for themselves also, typically, won’t stand up for other people, either, but people who won’t stand up for their own friends are often the same kind who won’t stand up for themselves, too. Sometimes, that’s how you get to be the “jailhouse bitch”.

    My bet is that she doesn’t do any more for herself than she did for the rest of us. It’s not like standing up for people’s rights is fashionable in progressive circles anyway. In fact, they’re the ones that have been going around for the last five years trying to convince people that their pesky rights don’t really exist–since they got in the way of whatever Obama was trying to do.

    She might even be glad to see her oversight role become a public joke! It’ll take the pressure off. Actually being responsible for oversight is a pain in the ass–and she was never woman enough to achieve more than rubber stamp status before anyway.

  10. Has the CIA ever done anything good? Has it even done anything competently? Ever?

    I’m trying to think of something and drawing a blank. Maybe in 100 years when all the Cold War documents are declassified, we’ll know about all the CIA’s secret successes that saved the free world, but I’m skeptical.

    1. Despite what all the Reagan haters say, we didn’t win the Cold War by accident.

      Recently, didn’t they find and kill Osama bin Laden?

      1. The CIA had no effect on the Soviet collapse… in fact, as amply documented in Legacy of Ashes, they had no idea that the Soviet Union was collapsing and were taken completely by surprise.

        I guess you could give them finding Bin laden, it’s not like any other fugitive has ever been apprehended with less than a few hundred million dollars of expenditures. Of course, the manner in which they apprehended this one individual has set back vaccination campaigns in central asia by a couple of decades, but hey, it’s important to keep perspective.

        1. Yes, weren’t we rather notoriously ill-informed about Soviet actions?

        2. The CIA had no effect on the Soviet collapse…

          Denying them territorial expansion and influence was instrumental in winning the Cold War.

          It just was.

          Are you going to tell me that supporting the mujahideen in Afghanistan had no impact whatsoever on the Soviet collapse? Say what you want about what happened afterwards, but I’d rather take a bunch more 9/11s than have the Soviet nuclear arsenal to worry about. …and who’s to say we wouldn’t have had terrorism to contend with anyway?

          In an economy like that, you can only survive by either killing people off by the millions or constantly expanding to exploit resources. They didn’t continue to expand because they couldn’t, and the reason they couldn’t expand had a lot to do with what the CIA was doing around the world.

          1. They didn’t continue to expand because they couldn’t, and the reason they couldn’t expand had a lot to do with what the CIA was doing around the world.

            You really need to read “Legacy of Ashes” to realize how fact free that assertion is.

            The collapse of the Soviet Union was entirely due to the inabiility of their political system to overcome the economic dislocations inherent to a socialist system. “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”

            Did CIA support for the mujaheddin hasten the collapse. Probably. Did the CIA retard the collapse of the Soviets by promoting and funding of leftwing parties throughout Europe on the grounds that they would be “our bastards”. Probably.

            The notion that the CIA played anything more than a tangential role in the collapse of the Soviet Union is farcical. Again, read Legacy of Ashes: which examined the actual results of CIA operations. Never has so much been spent on so many whackjobs who accomplished so little.

      2. We did not win the cold war. The Soviets lost it.

        1. Um, yeah, didn’t happen by accident.

          Give me a date I can circle on my calendar for when North Korea collapses. They could go on this way forever. Economic problems are no problem when you can just send off your excess people by the millions to die in the gulags. Or just starve them to death in the Ukraine!

          There were a lot of things that went into winning the Cold War. Placing missiles on Soviet borders while denying them the same advantage in places like Cuba was one of them.

          Denying their ability to expand their territory and influence was another, and the CIA did a great job of that. I mean, it was often deplorable from a moral and human rights standpoint, but we’re not talking about that, right?

          We’re talking about efficacy?

        2. The Soviet Union was doomed. It was purely question of when, not whether. What dragged them under was an economy that couldn’t support the State (including its expansionist plans).

          Exactly what foreign adventures did we block that would have been net adds to the Soviet economy? They’d already grabbed the lootable areas in Eastern Europe. Asia and Africa were going to be classic imperial cost sinks, IMO – spending to maintain the empire would outweight tribute from the provinces.

          It wasn’t an accident, and we certainly helped run up their cost structure (more in the European stand-off than in overseas adventures) and sped their demise.

          The question, though, is did the CIA really help much? Probably not, as far as I can tell.

    2. Assuming that we agree on the definition of ‘good’, the answer is no.

      Take my word for it.

    3. It depends on your definition of “CIA” and “ever” and “done” and “anything” and “good”.

    4. Well, I think they did pretty well when they were the OSS. Maybe they need a name change and new uniforms? Something gaudy and pathetic, that looks like some from an Arena team.

    5. They may have been on point in Afghanistan, and all drone operator orders came directly from 2 “civilians”(I presume they were CIA).
      Creepy, disconnected, and business only is the best way to describe the 2 I dealt with that I presumed were CIA
      I stole their fly swatter just to joke around, one made a comment about having a friendly fire accident next time I had a smoke break.
      The sick part was that when weapons release was authorized that was the only time i ever saw these 2 smile.

  11. Dianne Feinstein is to our civil rights as Neville Chamberlain was to Czechoslovakia.

    1. You know for a lady with a Jewish last name I would expect her to be on the opposite side of dictatorships

  12. Hahahaha, “unprecedented.” Heeheehee. [citation needed]

  13. Has the CIA ever done anything good?

    Good for the CIA, certainly.

  14. Send everyone involved with this to prison and shut the entire agency down. Create a new intelligence agency from scratch. They were warned about this kind of shit back in the 1970s. The fact that they would do it again less than 30 years later says that their entire culture is corrupt and cannot be fixed.

    1. You mean the Senate, right?

      1. Ohhhh SNAP!

  15. …Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) who generally has never met…

    Is it generally or is it never?

  16. If the Senate has nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear. Sound familiar, Senators?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.