The latest twist in the CIA’s campaign to be above the law emerged this afternoon:
The Justice Department has been asked to investigate whether Senate staffers improperly obtained and removed documents from a CIA computer system at a joint facility created by the CIA and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), TIME has learned.
The DOJ has already launched a criminal inquiry into whether the CIA was actively spying on the Senate staffers investigating the agency’s torture program, so one should count this as an attempted counter-strike. But you still have to sit back and marvel. The CIA is answerable to the Congress in a democratic country. But the CIA, in its current unaccountable form, actually thinks it has the standing to launch an investigation into the Congress! If that doesn’t suggest the CIA answers to no one, what would? Drunk on their own power, the agency is not acting the way a spy agency should in a constitutional republic. They’re acting like they are the government. Time reports, by the way, that “none of the documents allegedly removed were classified.”
I’m dumbstruck by the president’s decision to let this unseemly spectacle continue. In a democracy, we have an absolute right to see what was done in secret in our name – especially when it amounted to war crimes, and when the CIA actually destroyed large swathes of the incriminating evidence. The Senate Committee completed its exhaustive report a long, long time ago. Since then the CIA has done all it can to suppress it, amend it, censor it, and trash it. Enough. The president needs to get tough, fire Brennan for this outrageous stonewalling, and insist on the publication of the full report, in its original form, unredacted and transparent.
Some other posts worth revisiting: how the blind dream; how Americans keep over-estimating their own homophobia; the spirituality of Harriet Beecher Stowe; the English tweet cheekily back at David Cameron; Clinton triangulates herself; my take on Pope Francis’ stance on civil unions; and how the least popular Senator in America – John McCain – is somehow the most popular in Washington.
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See you in the morning.
(Photo: A Boxer dog looks out from its kennel on first day of Crufts dog show at the NEC on March 6, 2014 in Birmingham, England. Said to be the largest show of its kind in the world, the annual four-day event, features thousands of dogs, with competitors traveling from countries across the globe to take part. Crufts, which was first held in 1891 and sees thousands of dogs vie for the coveted title of ‘Best in Show’. By Matt Cardy/Getty Images.)