Daily Archives: March 5, 2014

Snowden, Assange and Greenwald scheduled to address Texas tech conference from abroad

Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange.

Three of the top presenters scheduled to speak at a technology conference in Texas next week will deliver their remarks remotely due to leak investigations that have left them all unable or unwilling to come to the United States.

Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden will discuss the impact of the National Security Agency’s spy efforts at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas next Monday, organizers announced this week.

Planners for SXSW said on Tuesday that Snowden, the 30-year-old ex-systems analyst who leaked secret NSA documents to the media last year, will participate in a live discussion at the festival via teleconference from Russia. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and journalist Glenn Greenwald have both previously agreed to speak at this year’s event as well.

“Hear directly from Snowden about his beliefs on what the tech community can and must do to secure the private data of the billions of people who rely on the tools and services that we build,” festival organizers said in a statement.

Ben Wizner — the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project and a legal advisor to Snowden — will moderate the conversation between Snowden and the ACLU’s chief technologist, Christopher Soghoian. The event will be broadcast online courtesy of the Texas Tribune.

Previously unpublished documents disclosed to the media by Snowden since last summer have exposed an array of NSA programs involving the United States spy agency’s efforts to acquire seemingly all digital communications across the world. He’s been accused of espionage and theft by the US Department of Justice for leaking that information, but the approval by Moscow last August of an asylum request there has allowed him to so far deter being prosecuted in America.

Assange, the founder of anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks who is also under investigation for disclosing classified documents, previously agreed to speak at the conference remotely for an event scheduled for this Saturday morning. The 42-year-old Australian publisher has been confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over a year, and cannot leave the facility without facing immediate arrest at the hands of British authorities. He’s wanted for questioning in Sweden.

On Monday, American journalist Glenn Greenwald will also speak about the ongoing NSA controversy at the festival, but from Brazil. He’s a confidant of Snowden and has worked closely with the former systems analyst on the NSA documents, but on advice of counsel has avoided returning to the US since the first stories involving the intelligence leaks were published last June.

“Surveillance and online privacy look to be one of the biggest topics of conversation at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival,” reads a statement released this week by individuals involved in the event.. “As organizers, SXSW agrees that a healthy debate with regards to the limits of surveillance is vital to the future of the online ecosystem.”

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Democratic presidential candidate accuses US of provoking Ukrainian crisis

Diverting from the typical Western line against “Russia’s invasion of Crimea,” former Ohio congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich said it was driven by covert action by the United States.

Kucinich made the comments Tuesday evening while speaking to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, arguing American meddling in Ukraine’s affairs is what sparked the current situation in the first place and that Ukrainians were being exploited by Western powers.

Asked how he’d handle the tense standoff if he were president, Kucinich said the following:

“What I’d do is not have USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy working with U.S. taxpayers’ money to knock off an elected government in Ukraine, which is what they did. I wouldn’t try to force the people of Ukraine into a deal with NATO against their interest or into a deal with the European Union, which is against their economic interest.”

“So, it’s the USA’s fault that Putin rolled in? We made them do it?” O’Reilly asked.

“Bill O’Reilly, if you don’t believe in cause and effect, I don’t know what I can do for you,” Kucinich said.

In February, Kucinich penned a column for the Huffington Post in which he argued the Association Agreement floated between by the European Union would be used to draw Ukraine “into the broad military arrangement with EU nations,” ultimately giving NATO positioning in a country bordering Russia.

When now-ousted President Viktor Yanukovich turned down the EU agreement to move closer to Moscow, pro-Western protests erupted in Kiev. Eventually, Yanukovich fled the country, resulting in a split between pro-Russian populations in Ukraine and those in favor of closer ties to Europe.

“From what I’m hearing, you’re blaming the USA for subverting Ukraine in the first place, thereby giving Putin a pass to go in and invade,” O’Reilly said.

“That’s close,” Kucinich responded. “We should be concerned about the Ukrainian people, because they’re being used right now. They would be used by the IMF in a new austerity program, by NATO to go on the doorstep of Russia.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is no consensus between the United States and Russia regarding whether or not the troops in Crimea constitute an invading force. Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed the idea on Tuesday, saying the soldiers are part of Crimea’s self-defense forces and that Moscow is not looking to go to war with Ukraine.

RT USA

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Turkey grants US warship permission to enter Black Sea

The aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush

Turkey has given a US Navy Warship the green light to pass through the Bosphorus within the next two days as tensions in Ukraine’s Crimea region continue to divide world powers.

Turkish sources, speaking with the Hurriyet Daily News on Wednesday, declined to elaborate on the name of the US warship. The same officials told the daily on condition of anonymity that the ship in question was not the USS George H.W. Bush nuclear aircraft carrier as suggested in some news reports, as it did not meet the standards specified by the 1936 Montreux Convention in terms of weight.

The US vessel to pass through the straits will meet the convention’s standards, the sources said.

On Wednesday, the Russian Black Sea Fleet Staff confirmed to the Itar-Tass news agency that a US destroyer was expected to enter the Black Sea later this week.

On Sunday, Tass reported that the guided-missile frigate USS Taylor, one of two Navy ships assigned to the Black Sea during the Sochi Winter Olympics was still in the Turkish Black Sea port of Samsun. The frigate was deployed on February 5 along with the amphibious command ship, USS Mount Whitney. According to the Montreux Convention, warships of countries which do not border the Black Sea cannot remain in the waters for longer than 21 days. While the USS Mount Whitney left on February 25, the USS Taylor remained at the Turkish port, ostensibly for repairs after running aground on February 12.

The US Navy Warship USS Taylor.

Meanwhile, it was reported on Tuesday that two Russian warships entered the Black Sea through the Bosphorus. The 150 ‘Saratov’ landing ship and the 156 ‘Yamal’ assault ship crossed the strait around 05:30 GMT, en route to the Black Sea, the Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.

No coastguard boats were seen escorting the ships. The Ukrainian Hetman Sahaydachny followed shortly thereafter, crossing the Dardanelles Strait off Turkey’s west coast. Two coastguard vessels were reported by AA to be escorting the ship.

The vessel, which had participated in NATO-led Ocean Shield and Atalanta counter-piracy operations, reportedly docked near Odessa port on Wednesday, says the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

The traffic through the Turkish straits comes as tensions between the West and Russia over recent events in Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, continue to simmer.

Russia currently leases a military wharf and shore installations in the Crimean port of Sevastopol. The Ukrainian government agreed to extend Russia’s lease on the territory in 2010, allowing the Russian Black Sea Fleet to effectively stay in Crimea until 2047.

Five Russian naval units are currently stationed in the port city of Sevastopol, including the 30th Surface Ship Division, the 41st Missile Boat Brigade, the 247th Separate Submarine Division, the 68th Harbor Defense Ship, and the 422nd Separate Hydrographic Ship Division.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the military personnel of the Black Sea Fleet are “in their deployment sites” and “additional vigilance measures were taken to safeguard the sites.”

“We will do everything to prevent bloodshed,” he said, speaking ahead of his first face-to-face meeting with his US counterpart, John Kerry, since the crisis erupted.

USS Mount Whitney

Over a week after the government of Viktor Yanukovich was toppled by violent street protests, fears of deepening political and social strife have been particularly acute in Ukraine’s pro-Russian east and south.

One day after voting to oust Yanukovich, a newly reconfigured parliament did away with a 2012 law on minority languages, which permitted the use of two official languages in regions where the size of an ethnic minority exceeds 10 percent.

Apart from the Russian-majority regions affected by this law, Hungarian, Moldovan and Romanian also lost their status as official languages in several towns in Western Ukraine.

Authorities in the Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea – where over half the population is ethnically Russian – requested Moscow’s assistance following the legal downgrade of the Russian language.

Western states have accused Russia of militarily intervening in Crimea and called on Russian troops to return to their Black Sea bases. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) recently dispatched military observers to Kiev. The observers from the pan-European security body are en route to Crimea, where they will monitor the situation on the ground.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated President Putin’s previous words that Russian troops had not actually been deployed from their bases in Crimea. Lavrov said that forces with unmarked uniforms which had taken de-facto control over Crimea are self-defense units that are not under Russia’s auspices.

“If they are the self-defense forces created by the inhabitants of Crimea, we have no authority over them,” Lavrov told a news conference in Madrid after a meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo.

“They do not receive orders [from us],” he said.

On Saturday, the Russian Federation Council – the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia – approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to send the country’s military forces to Ukraine to ensure peace and order in the region “until the socio-political situation in the country is stabilized.”

According to the bilateral agreement concerning Russia’s Black Sea Fleet military bases in Crimea, Moscow is allowed to have up to 25,000 troops in Ukraine.

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Breaking news – Estonian Foreign Ministry confirms authenticity of leaked call on Kiev snipers

Estonian foreign ministry has confirmed the recording of his conversation with EU foreign policy chief is authentic. Urmas Paet said that snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were hired by Maidan leaders.

Paet told RIA-Novosti news agency that he talked to Catherine Ashton last week right after retiring from Kiev, but refrained from further comments, saying that he has to “listen to the tape first.”

“It’s very disappointing that such surveillance took place altogether. It’s not a coincidence that this conversation was uploaded [to the web] today,” he stressed.

“My conversation with Ashton took place last week right after I returned from Kiev. At that time I was already in Estonia,” Paet added.

RT has also contacted Ashton’s spokesperson, Maja Kocijancic, who said “we don’t comment on leaked phone conversations.”

The snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were allegedly hired by Maidan leaders, according to a leaked phone conversation between the EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign affairs minister, which has emerged online.

“There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition,” Paet said during the conversation.

“I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh,” Ashton answered.

The call took place after Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited Kiev on February 25 at the peak of clashes between the pro-EU protesters and security forces in the Ukrainian capital.

Paet also recalled his conversation with a doctor who treated those shot by snipers in Kiev. She said that both protesters and police were shot at by the same people.

“And second, what was quite disturbing, this same Olga [Bogomolets] told as well that all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides,” the Estonian FM stressed.

Ashton reacted to the information by saying: “Well, yeah…that’s, that’s terrible.”

“So that she then also showed me some photos she said that as a medical doctor she can say that it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened,” Paet said.

The Estonian FM has described the whole sniper issue as “disturbing” and added, “it already discredits from the very beginning” the new Ukrainian power.

His overall impressions of what he saw during his one-day trip to Kiev are “sad,” Paet said during the conversation.

He stressed that the Ukrainian people don’t trust the Maidan leaders, with all the opposition politicians slated to join the new government “having dirty past.”

The file was reportedly uploaded to the web by officers of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) loyal to ousted President Viktor Yanukovich who hacked Paet’s and Ashton’s phones.

94 people were killed and another 900 injured during the standoff between police and protesters at Maidan Saquare in Kiev last month.



Breaking news – Kiev snipers hired by Maidan leaders – leaked EU’s Ashton phone tape | WORLD NEWS.

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Breaking news – Kiev snipers hired by Maidan leaders – leaked EU’s Ashton phone tape

An anti-government protester sit near the bodies of two demonstrators killed by a sniper during clashes with the police in the center of Kiev on February 20, 2014.

The snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were allegedly hired by Maidan leaders, according to a leaked phone conversation between the EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign affairs minister, which has emerged online.

“There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition,” Urmas Paet said during the conversation.

“I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh,” Ashton answered.

The call took place after Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited Kiev on February 25 at the peak of clashes between the pro-EU protesters and security forces in the Ukrainian capital.

Paet also recalled his conversation with a doctor who treated those shot by snipers in Kiev. She said that both protesters and police were shot at by the same people.

“And second, what was quite disturbing, this same Olga [Bogomolets] told as well that all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides,” the Estonian FM stressed.

Ashton reacted to the information by saying: “Well, yeah…that’s, that’s terrible.”

“So that she then also showed me some photos she said that as a medical doctor she can say that it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened,” Paet said.

Protesters evacuate a wounded demonstrator from Independence square, dubbed Maidan, in Kiev on February 20, 2014.

The Estonian FM has described the whole sniper issue as “disturbing” and added, “it already discredits from the very beginning” the new Ukrainian power.

His overall impressions of what he saw during his one-day trip to Kiev are “sad,” Paet said during the conversation.

He stressed that the Ukrainian people don’t trust the Maidan leaders, with all the opposition politicians slated to join the new government “having dirty past.”

The file was reportedly uploaded to the web by officers of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) loyal to ousted President Viktor Yanukovich who hacked Paet’s and Ashton’s phones.

94 people were killed and another 900 injured during the standoff between police and protesters at Maidan Saquare in Kiev last month.

Policemen carry a colleague wounded during clashes with anti-government protesters in Kiev on February 18, 2014.

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Russians seize Ukrainian missile defense units in Crimea : Interfax

 

Russian forces seized two Ukrainian missile defense battalions in the Crimea region on Wednesday, Interfax news agency quoted a military source as saying.

The Ukrainian Defence Ministry was unable immediately to confirm on the report, which quoted the source saying: “We now expect the arrival of Russian missile specialists and pro-Russian activists who will have to persuade the Ukrainian military personnel to carry out joint combat duties.”

 

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Does the West need a war against Russia?

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There have been remarkable changes in the U.S. rhetoric against Russia in the last few days. They ranged from threats to isolate the Russian Federation politically and economically to the acknowledgement that Moscow has its own interests in the Crimea, and Washington is ready to help Russia in “taming the hooligans.”

The change occurred after a telephone conversation between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama.

On Sunday, immediately after the Council of the Federation gave Putin permission to conduct military operations on the territory of Ukraine in the event of extraordinary situations, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the U.S. and the West were “prepared to put sanctions in place, … prepared to isolate Russia economically.”

“There are visa bans, asset freezes, isolation with respect to trade, investment,” Kerry said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.” “American businesses may well want to start thinking twice about whether they want to do business with a country that behaves like this. These are serious implications.” President Barack Obama mentioned that “there will be costs” if the troops are entered.

However, a day later the American rhetoric has changed dramatically. Kerry said that President Obama and his entire administration preferred to peacefully settle the conflict with Russia over Ukraine. “We’re not trying to make this a battle between East and West; we’re not trying to make this a Cold War,” Kerry said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” He said that “President Obama made it clear that we are prepared to work with Russia.”

“We are prepared to stand up against any hooligans, any thuggery, any individual efforts with Russians in order to create stability in Ukraine and allow the people of Ukraine to make their choices for the future.”

Why is this sudden turn? Likely, Vladimir Putin explained Obama that Moscow is acting strictly in the constitutional field, unlike the new Kiev authorities. There are also significant legal claims to the European allies.

Where are they are now, the guarantors of the agreement (the document signed on February 21 between the legitimate President Yanukovych and the opposition) represented by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Germany and France? They were obliged to ensure its full execution, in particular with regard to the provisions on the disarmament of illegal armed groups. However, Bandera Maidan is ready to stand until the presidential elections in May, and perhaps longer, and no one asked them to leave.

Can we expect sober decisions from the “hooligans” under these circumstances? Of course not, which is why the Russian leader has stressed that in the event of a further escalation of violence in the eastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea, Russia reserves the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population residing there.

The U.S. administration is again clearly caught off guard by Putin. Andrew C. Kuchins, a senior fellow and director of the CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program, responded to this development in a CNN article: “Yes, Crimea may already be gone. But we have to make absolutely clear – and in the most credible way possible – that Russian military intervention in other regions of Ukraine is a red line that will mean war with Ukrainian and NATO military forces if it is crossed. U.S. and NATO naval forces need to be deployed to the Black Sea in close proximity to the Ukrainian Coast. Military forces of neighboring NATO member countries, meanwhile, should be deployed closer to the Ukrainian border.”

Fiona Hill, a Brookings Institution scholar, told The Guardian: “We’ll talk about sanctions. We’ll talk about red lines. We’ll basically drive ourselves into a frenzy. And he’ll stand back and just watch it. He just knows that none of the rest of us want a war.”

The U.S. Sixth Fleet headquartered in Naples may enter the Black Sea, but it has to pass through the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, a move that Turkey that must authorize the passage of warships considers highly undesirable. Any decision on the land deployment of the U.S. forces or NATO near the borders of Ukraine is also hard to imagine. The West simply has neither resources nor desire to do this. All latest NATO’s military operations were air bombings.

Risky ground operations are out of the question, as the U.S. will not be able to explain them to the American voters who are already exhausted by 12 -years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Europe, Germany is generally averse to military actions, and is reluctant about getting involved even in peacekeeping operations. Paris is involved in Africa, and Francois Hollande has the lowest approval rating in the history of France – 18 percent. Great Britain will not get involved either. This means that there will be no direct military confrontation between the West and Russia over Ukraine. Diplomatic and political measures could be employed, with an escalation to the Cold War. The West could kick Russia out from the “G 8,” condemn its actions in the UN Security Council without the adoption of a resolution, ban visas, but for Russia these are not real sanctions.

Russia may well look to the allies within BRICS, Turkey, and Iran. “The format of the G8 is actually the only one in which we in the West can speak directly with Russia,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told  the public broadcaster ARD. “Should we really give up this unique format?” This is a very wise thought. As for the economic and financial leverage, they may have a negative impact on Russia only if Europe is involved, but for the latter Russia is a reliable trading partner, especially for Germany.

“I would not jump to conclusions regarding the future of the relations with the West. One thing is clear though, the West will not choose the Cold War or a sharp deterioration of the relations with Russia,” told Pravda.Ru Pavel Podlesnyy, head of the Russian-US Relations at the Institute of USA and Canada, head of the Institute of European processes. “None of the NATO countries will launch a war with Russia. This is completely ruled out. Now the West is considering possible sanctions against Russia. It is very important that at the Security Council meeting held recently it was clear that so far the West has not proposed any serious resolutions. The UK or Canada might introduce lists similar to the Magnitsky list, for example. I do not think that France or Germany would do it. Incidentally, Italy remains silent.”

“The Crimean crisis is a good reason not to start the Cold War. It is tempting for the West to declare Russia a fiend, to cancel visas, to create blacklists, to deny investment. But we understand that in today’s world this is a game of destructing each other. We have serious economic ties with Europe, and who needs to ruin them?” said Konstantin Simonov, Head of the Department of Applied Politics at the Finance University under the Government of the Russian Federation. “I think the Crimean crisis is a reason to sit down and consider that the current formula of solving international conflicts is not working, the UN is not working.

Russia, by and large, acted the same way the U.S. always acted in such situations. Another thing is that it was surprising for them. Apparently, they believe that they are entitled to do whatever they want, and we have to passively watch from the sidelines. The interests of our citizens were threatened, and we chose not to wait for the UN Security Council sanctions. We acted the same way the Americans have always acted. Russia has simply become a strong country and began to use the same tools the United States has been using. It was surprising to them, but this is the reality, and if we want to make the world safer, then let’s sit down and think about the way it will look in the future.”

Lyuba Lulko – Pravda.Ru

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Breaking News – UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain recall their ambassadors from Qatar

Saudi, Bahrain, UAE recall envoys to Qatar.

Saudi, Bahrain, UAE recall envoys to Qatar.

In a shock move, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday recalled their envoys to Qatar.

The three countries said the move was taken to “to protect their security and stability,” a Saudi Press Agency statement said.

The trio also said that Qatar had not “committed to the principles” of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and said “Qatar has to take the appropriate steps to ensure the security of the GCC states.”

They made the decision following what Gulf media described as a “stormy” late Tuesday meeting of foreign ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh, according to Agence France-Presse.

Security and stability ‘threat’

GCC countries “have exerted massive efforts to contact Qatar on all levels to agree on a unified policy… to ensure non-interference, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any member state,” the statement said.

The nations have also asked Qatar, a backer of the Muslim Brotherhood movement that is banned in most Gulf states, “not to support any party aiming to threaten security and stability of any GCC member,” it added, citing media campaigns against them in particular.

The statement stressed that despite the commitment of Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to these principles during a mini-summit held in Riyadh in November with Kuwait’s emir and the Saudi monarch, his country has failed to comply.

A security agreement signed last year by the GCC focused on cooperation in the exchange of information and tracking down of criminals and those who violate the law.

Frayed ties

Earlier on Wednesday, a Qatar rights body said it will pursue the release of a citizen who was jailed seven years over links to an Islamist group in an “unfair” UAE ruling, local media reported.

The move came a month after Abu Dhabi summoned the Qatari ambassador to the UAE, Faris al-Nuaimi on Sunday, and gave him a memorandum protesting statements made by the Doha-based religious cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi against the Gulf state.

In recent months, the UAE also jailed a group of 30 Emiratis and Egyptians to terms ranging from three months to five years for forming a Muslim Brotherhood cell.

The Brotherhood is banned in much of the region, and the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia pledged billions of dollars in aid to Egypt after the overthrow of Islamist Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi, who hails from the Islamist organization.

​CIA handling of torture report triggers feud with Congress, DoJ investigation

The US Justice Department is investigating the CIA over alleged malfeasance at the spy agency. The probe is linked to a bitter feud between the CIA and its congress watchdog stemming from a classified report on agency interrogation of terror suspects.

On Tuesday, the CIA Inspector General’s Office asked the Justice Department to conduct the probe. The allegations against the spy agency are connected to how it dealt with the Senate Intelligence Committee when that body was working on a voluminous report on methods used by the CIA after the 9/11 terrorist attack. Those included detention of terror suspects in secret prisons and torture interrogation techniques.

The 6,300-page report, which took some four years and $40 million to prepare, has remained classified for 15 months after completion as the CIA has to vet it before release to the public. But people familiar with the text said harshly criticized the program and accused the agency of misleading the Bush administration, US lawmakers and the public over its nature and results.

In December 2013, Senator Mark Udall, who leads calls on the swift publication of the report, revealed that the Intelligence Committee had become aware of an internal CIA report, which he said was “consistent with the Intelligence Committee’s report” and “conflicts with the official CIA response to the committee’s report.” The report was not shared with the Committee investigators.

The CIA downplayed the importance of the internal report, calling it a collection of summaries of classified documents rather than an analytical document. But apparently, the agency also conducted an investigation into how the existence of the internal review was revealed and eventually alleging, that the Committee gained unauthorized access to CIA databases.

U.S. Senator Mark Udall

It’s not clear how exactly the CIA conducted the investigation, but some lawmakers see it as an attack on their oversight powers.

“As you are aware, the CIA has recently taken unprecedented action against the committee in relation to the internal CIA review and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the committee’s oversight responsibilities and for our democracy,” Udall wrote Tuesday in a letter to President Obama. “It is essential that the committee be able to do its oversight work – consistent with our constitutional principle of the separation of powers – without the CIA posing impediments or obstacles as it is today.”

He added that “the declassification of the Committee Study is of paramount importance and that decisions about what should or should not be declassified regarding this issue should not be delegated to the CIA, but directly handled by the White House.”

According to McClatchy, the CIA monitored computers, which they insisted the committee investigators used to read classified documents at a secure room at CIA headquarters in Langley. This action possibly violated an agreement against doing so, the news service reported citing people with knowledge of the conflict.

Both the CIA and the Committee refrained from officially commenting on the Inspector General investigation.

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