Why? The torture report, of course:
Late last night, McClatchy reported that the CIA inspector general has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations that the CIA illegally monitored Congressional staff investigating the Agency’s secret detention and interrogation programs. The Senate Intelligence Committee spent four years and $40 million investigating the use of waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques in secret overseas prisons, producing a reportedly “searing” 6,300 page finding excoriating the Agency’s actions.
As part of this investigation, intelligence committee staff were required by the CIA to use Agency computers in a secure room in Langley to access millions of sensitive documents. Congressional investigators reportedly agreed to use those computers under the condition that their work not be monitored by the CIA, in accordance with due respect for the separation of powers and the integrity and independence of the investigation. Apparently, the spy mentality proved too strong to resist, as earlier this year the committee determined that their work had in fact been monitored in possible violation of their agreement.
What we have here is a rogue agency, believing it is above the law, above Congress and indeed immune to even presidential oversight. John Brennan, a man who never piped up as the CIA was orchestrating war crimes in a manner unprecedented in US history, is now revealed as running an agency that broke the law and attacked the very basis of a constitutional democracy by targeting the Congress for domestic spying! The CIA is legally barred from any domestic spying, let alone on its constitutional over-seers.
It’s enough to make you think that the CIA committed crimes so damning and lied so aggressively during the torture regime that it is now doing what all criminals do when confronted with the evidence: stonewall, attack the prosecution, try to remove or suppress evidence, police its employees’ testimony, and generally throw up as much dust as possible. That they continue to do this is a real challenge to this president. How much longer is he going to let these goons prevent the truth from being known? Why is he allowing Brennan to continue to run an agency when, under his watch, it has laid itself open to a criminal investigation of its own alleged obstruction of justice?
Ed Morrissey rightly fumes:
This is among the worst possible accusations that could be levied against an intelligence service in a constitutional republic. For the CIA, it would be doubly worse, since the CIA’s charter forbids it to conduct any kind of domestic intelligence; that jurisdiction belongs to the FBI, and it’s significantly limited. The legislature oversees CIA, not the other way around, and if the CIA is snooping on their oversight work, that would undermine their authority.
An agency that can commit war crimes and get away with it seems to believe it can also undermine the very basis of a constitutional democracy and get away with it. This agency needs to be cut down to size and pronto. Its record in recent years has been execrable – the latest evidence being their failure to detect Russia’s intentions in Crimea. They are far too busy protecting their collective asses to do their job. Brennan needs to go forthwith. And the report needs to be published, in its original form, with all the vital details included. These war criminals cannot be appeased any longer. They need to be brought back under constitutional control.
(Photo: John Brennan via Getty Images)