Tag Archives: The McClatchy Company

CIA watchdog reportedly asks DOJ to probe allegations of spying on Senate staffers

Feb. 7, 2013: CIA Director nominee John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.AP

Feb. 7, 2013: CIA Director nominee John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.AP

The CIA Inspector General’s Office reportedly has asked the Justice Department to review allegations that the spy agency monitored the computers of Senate staffers who were preparing a report on the detention and interrogation of terror suspects.

The New York Times and McClatchy reported on the details of the mysterious case. Lawmakers have until now said little on the record, other than a vague allegation from a senator that the CIA had taken “unprecedented action.”

But, in response to published reports, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said Wednesday that the alleged spying, if true, “would be an extremely serious matter” and could “violate federal law.”

CIA Director John Brennan on Wednesday said he was “deeply dismayed” that some Senate members made the allegations that “are wholly unsupported by the facts.”

“I am very confident that the appropriate authorities reviewing this matter will determine where wrongdoing, if any, occurred in either the executive branch or legislative branch,” Brennan said in a statement. “Until then, I would encourage others to refrain from outbursts that do a disservice to the important relationship that needs to be maintained between intelligence officials and Congressional overseers.”

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday also flagged the allegations as a potentially serious breach. “If it turns out that the CIA was spying on the Senate committee that oversees the agency, it would be an outrageous violation of separation of powers,” Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

The Times reported Wednesday that CIA officers gained access to the computer networks used by the Senate Intelligence Committee and that an initial investigation by the agency’s inspector general was begun in response to complaints by members of Congress that the staffers were being improperly monitored.

The Times also reported that CIA officials began the alleged monitoring after suspecting that the Senate staffers had unauthorized access to agency documents during the course of their investigation, which has been ongoing for four years and cost approximately $40 million.

McClatchy reported Wednesday that the yet-to-be-released Senate report is expected to harshly criticize the detention and interrogation program, with special attention on how the CIA reportedly misled the Bush White House and Congress about the specific interrogation tactics used. The report is also expected to conclude that the techniques did not provide intelligence that led to the Pakistan compound where Usama bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs in 2011.

The report has not been declassified, but Brennan challenged several facts in the report as well as the intelligence value conclusion in a rebuttal published last June. This past December, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said that the committee was aware of an internal CIA study that largely agreed with the report and contradicted Brennan’s rebuttal.

The Times reported that Udall’s statement set in motion the agency’s monitoring and prompted a letter from Udall to President Obama Tuesday.

“The CIA has recently taken unprecedented action against the committee in relation to the internal CIA review,” the letter reportedly said, “and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the committee’s oversight responsibilities and for our democracy.”

via CIA watchdog reportedly asks DOJ to probe allegations of spying on Senate staffers | Fox News.

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​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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Confirmed: CIA, NSA, IRS collected and shared Americans’ personal information.

On a mission to detect untrustworthy employees, nearly 30 government agencies collected and shared the personal information of thousands of Americans, many of whom had no ties to the federal government.

A list of 4,904 people was created by US officials investigating two men for allegedly teaching people how to pass polygraph tests. This list was shared with agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, the CIA, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Security Agency (NSA), who then entered the names in their database. They are keeping the list in the event that one of the flagged individuals submits to a lie detector test for a federal job.

As McClatchy reports, however, a large number of names on the list belong to individuals who don’t work for the government. Some were firefighters, nurses, police officers, Rite Aid employees, American Red Cross employees, a cancer researcher, and more.

Many of the marked individuals never actually received instruction from the two polygraph instructors under investigation, nor did some even contact the suspected teachers, they merely bought a book or DVD from one of the men, and many wanted to pass a polygraph test for personal reasons rather than for employment purposes.

This data collection program doesn’t come anywhere close to the size of the tracking efforts carried out by the NSA, but some say it raises even more questions about the government’s ability to keep tabs on people who may not even be related to any ongoing investigation.

“This is increasingly happening – data is being collected by the federal government for one use and then being entirely repurposed for other uses and shared,” Fred Cate, an Indiana University-Bloomington law professor who specializes in information privacy and national security, said to McClatchy. “Yet there is no constitutional protection for sharing data within the government.”

In the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations, many federal agencies have been pressured to monitor their employees more closely, and officials told McClatchy that one reason for having such an extensive list is to help the government identify potential security violators.

As was noted in the article, it’s not clear how helpful beating a polygraph would be in this hunt. Snowden notably took two polygraph tests for his job at the NSA, and did not use any special technique to pass them.

The simple act of teaching polygraph-beating techniques is protected by the first amendment. However, federal prosecutors claim that doing so and submitting themselves to government tests amounts to obstruction.

So far, only one of the two men under investigation has been prosecuted. Indiana man, Chad Dixon, pled guilty to obstruction after he was caught on record advising undercover agents to keep secret the fact that they were learning polygraph techniques.

Although operational guidelines for federal agencies typically prohibit sharing the private data of non-government employees, the Pentagon and FBI both said this is allowed for law enforcement purposes. Neither commented specifically on the polygraph situation.

“The FBI routinely receives names of individuals from various law enforcement and criminal justice agencies to check previous criminal-history data or any other derogatory information that exists in our records,” said agency spokesman Paul Bresson to McClatchy. “After processing the names, we supply our results back to the submitting agency.”

Confirmed: CIA, NSA, IRS collected and shared Americans’ personal information — RT USA.