Sen. Feinstein's CIA Allegations

Here is the transcript of Sen. Diane Feinstein's remarks accusing the CIA of removing documents from the Intelligence Committee's computer network. The documents related to the Committee's investigation of the CIA's secret detention and interrogation program.

The resulting staff report was chilling. The interrogations and the conditions of confinement at the CIA detentions sites were far different and far more harsh than the way the CIA had described them to us.

As to the removed documents, Feinstein explained the process of her committee's access to them. She said the CIA had not wanted the documents being reviewed at the Senate, so then CIA Chief Leon Panetta set up an alternate plan for them to be reviewed offsite.[More...]

Director Panetta proposed an alternative arrangement, to provide literally millions of pages of operational cables, internal emails, memos and other documents pursuant to a committee's document request at a secure location in northern Virginia. We agreed, but insisted on several conditions and protections to ensure the integrity of this congressional investigation.

then-Director Panetta and I agreed in an exchange of letters that the CIA was to provide a, quote, stand-alone computer system, end quote, with a, quote, network drive segregated from CIA networks, end quote, for the committee that would only be accessed by information technology personnel at the CIA who would, quote, not be permitted to share information from the system with other CIA personnel, except as otherwise authorized by the committee, end quote.

It was this computer network that notwithstanding our agreement with Director Panetta was searched by the CIA this past January -- and once before, which I will later describe.

The CIA insisted on reviewing every document before it went to the network to be reviewed by the Committee. The CIA provided them in a document dump. In all, more than 6.2 million documents were provided:

The documents that were provided came without any index, without any organizational structure. It was a true document dump that our committee staff had to go through and make sense of.

So they had the CIA provide a search tool. And then, in 2010, documents disappeared. They accused the CIA who said the removal was authorized by the White House, which the White House denied.

Then there was the Panetta Review of the documents provided. It conflicts with the CIA's response to the 6,300 page report the Committee submitted on the interrogation program and to which the CIA responded.

The internal Panetta review summary, now at the secure committee office in Hart, is an especially significant document as it corroborates critical information in the -- in the committee's 6,300- page study, that the CIA's official response either objects to, denies, minimizes or ignores.

Unlike the official response, these Panetta review documents were in agreement with the committee's findings.

The Committee, of course, noted the discrepancy between the Panetta Review and the CIA's response to its report.

the committee staff securely transported a printed portion of the draft internal Panetta review from the committee's secure room at the CIA-leased facility to the secure committee spaces in the Hart Senate office building.

The Panetta Review then disappeared from the Committee's computer system.

on January 15th, 2014, CIA Director Brennan requested an emergency meeting to inform me and Vice Chairman Chambliss that without prior notification or approval, CIA personnel had conducted a search -- that was John Brennan's word -- of the committee computers at the off-site facility.

This search involved not only a search of documents provided by the committee by the CIA, but also a search of the standalone and walled-off committee network drive containing the committee's own internal work product and communications.

According to what Feinstein says she was told by Brennan:

Director Brennan stated that the CIA search had determined that the committee staff had copies of the internal Panetta review on the committee staff shared drive and had accessed them numerous times. He indicated at the meeting that he was going to order further forensic investigation of the committee network to loan -- to learn more about activities of the committee's oversight staff.

Feinstein said after her meeting with Brennan, CIA inspector general, David Buckley referred the CIA's unauthorized search to DOJ for criminal investigation.

I have been informed that Mr. Buckley has referred the matter to the Department of Justice, given the possibility of a criminal violation by CIA personnel.

Then she was told that the CIA's counsel had filed a crime report with DOJ alleging the Committee violated the law, which Feinstein emphatically denies.

our staff involved in this matter have the appropriate clearances, handled this sensitive material according to established procedures and practice to protect classified information, and were provided access to the Panetta Review by the CIA itself.

As a result, there is no legitimate reason to allege to the Justice Department that Senate staff may have committed a crime.

Feinstein says the crime report by the CIA counsel is an intimidation tactic.

She also says the CIA counsel who made the report was the chief counsel for the CIA's counterterrorism center (which operated the interrogation program) from 2004 until it ended in 2008.

As to the Committee's report:

I intend to move to have the findings, conclusions and the executive summary of the report sent to the president for declassification as release to the American people. The White House has indicated publicly and to me personally that it supports declassification and release.

Here is a transcript of CIA Director John Brennan denying the CIA did anything wrong.
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    This raises a number of questions, (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by shoephone on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 04:37:02 PM EST
    among them, when did Feinstein finally get over her crush on the spy agencies? Because the senate committee has known since at least last December that the information provided to them varied greatly from the CIA's internal reports. Feinstein has certainly not veered from her role carrying water for the NSA and trying to tag Snowden as a traitor. But I digress...

    In the NYT articles on the issue, it's noted that one of the reasons CIA brass gave for not supplying the committee with internal memos was a matter of "executive privilege." So, the discovery (leak?) of the internal report from behind the firewall brings to light what the agency has been trying to hide about the interrogation and torture program. I understand that claims of executive privilege can apply to the administration, and not only the president (the executive), but doesn't the president formally have to claim executive privilege on behalf of the other administration officials? I have tried to research this through three different search engines on the net and don't find a definitive answer. It's not clear to me that any administration official, particularly one of the spy agency directors, can unilaterally claim the privilege.

    And from today's NYT article:

    Ms. Feinstein was particularly animated when discussing the criminal referral made by the C.I.A.'s acting general counsel to the Justice Department, a move she said seemed intended as an intimidation tactic.

    She said that the acting general counsel was previously a lawyer in the C.I.A.'s Counterterrorism Center, the section of the spy agency that was running the detention and interrogation program.

    She said the man's name is mentioned more than 1,600 times in the Senate Intelligence Committee's report.

    Ms. Feinstein did not name the agency's lawyer, but she appeared to be referring to Robert Eatinger, the senior deputy general counsel. Last fall, the previous Senate-confirmed general counsel, Stephen Preston, left to become general counsel of the Defense Department, and the Senate has not yet voted on Mr. Obama's nominee to replace him on a permanent basis.

    Gee, just a slight conflict of interest there.

    I'd expect Leon Panetta to be sought after for spots on next Sunday's inside the beltway gabfests. Whether he will show up or not is anyone's guess.

    As for Brennan, will he ever be charged with perjury, or contempt of Congress?  

    Maybe... (5.00 / 6) (#2)
    by sj on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 04:43:34 PM EST
    ... she would have been fine with the activity if only it came from the NSA. She has defended that surveillance so strongly in the past -- did she think she would be exempt?

    Too bad Instant Karma wasn't a little more instant. Maybe she wouldn't have run intereference for so long.

    Better late than never, I guess. Although I've seen no evidence that she has diverged from the idea that "NSA Good!" even while speaking out the "CIA Bad!"

    I, for one, give my Senator (who so often asserts (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 07:09:02 PM EST
    that she and her Senate committee have information to which neither her constituents nor the Senate at large are privy) an A+ here.

    Go look at the mansion she bought... (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Dadler on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 10:40:26 AM EST
    ...with her husbands war-profiteering blood money. She is not a good person. Period.

    Harsh! PerhapsI should give her rant an A+ but (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 10:52:44 AM EST
    not her whole persona.

    Perhaps you should wait to see if (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Anne on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:05:30 AM EST
    this is the audio version of the "sternly-worded letter;" I've seen too many of these kinds of speeches that never went anywhere to award kudos at the speech stage.

    Yes - good that she spoke out; whether she is really prepared to do battle with Brennan - who has the full support of the president - is an altogether different question.

    See Marcy Wheeler for more.


    Wheeler seems to be editorializing re whether Pres (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:13:55 AM EST
    Obama condones CIA messing w/Senate Int. Comm. computer networks.

    How so? (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by dk on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:22:06 AM EST
    Wheeler mentioned Obama only in the context that she thinks it likely that he is initially inclined to protect Brennan, and for back-up she has the statement of Obama's press secretary stating just that.

    Remember Obama's uncle? (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:26:11 AM EST
    No I don't (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by dk on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:27:18 AM EST
    Sorry, I guess I'm missing something.  I checked Wheeler's article and didn't see anything in there about his uncle either.

    Obama's uncle: (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:30:14 AM EST
    Ah yes, I remember that now. (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by dk on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:33:30 AM EST
    I don't understand, though, what it has to do with Wheeler's article and your initial comment.

    I'm disappointed (none / 0) (#27)
    by shoephone on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 07:01:30 PM EST
    I thought it was going to turn out to be one of those "crazy uncle" stories. Can't see what the brouhaha's all about. Obama's family is actually pretty drama-free. No Billy Carter, no Roger Clinton, no George W. blowing up frogs for fun as a child...

    That's what you got out of that? (none / 0) (#18)
    by sj on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:43:44 AM EST

    No. (none / 0) (#19)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:52:59 AM EST
    And yet... (none / 0) (#20)
    by sj on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:58:42 AM EST
    ... it what you chose to comment on. Was it kindling?

    I do not anticipate Sen. Feinstein will (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 12:03:31 PM EST
    do anything much more significant than deliver the speech she just made. Maybe work the Sunday shows.

    I agree with you (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by sj on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 12:09:50 PM EST
    I do not anticipate Sen. Feinstein will (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:03:31 AM MDT

    do anything much more significant than deliver the speech she just made. Maybe work the Sunday shows.

    So she gets no A+ from me. And I see no correlation between that observation and your initial ... er, analysis... of Marcy's post. Just as I see no connection between your initial ... analysis... of Marcy's post and Obama's uncle.

    First they spied on the little people... (5.00 / 6) (#4)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:14:45 PM EST
    But I was a Senate Committee Chairperson,
    So I said nothing...

    So, the CIA pulled back (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:57:50 PM EST
    documents related to Feinstein's investigation into waterboarding by Bush and Cheney.

    Di-Fi is so predictable (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Dadler on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 10:39:13 AM EST
    Do whatever you want to other people, and she's fine with that as she sits there in her war-profiteer financed mansion on the Gold Coast of San Francisco. But do that same stuff to her, treat HER like everyone else, damn, now you see the passion come out. Such a dope. That said, the CIA can blow me. A more psychologically ingorant agency I can hardly imagine existing. Idiots.

    I love spelling ignorant incorrectly (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Dadler on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 10:39:40 AM EST
    The perfect spelling error. Dope.

    The perfect spelling error? (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by unitron on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 10:30:09 PM EST
    I think it's tied for first place with "Morans".

    I never did like or trust (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:58:58 PM EST
    DiFi.  I didn't like her when she was a San Francisco Supervisor, I didn't like her when she became Mayor of SF after Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk were assassinated (we lived there at the time, and Harvey was our Supervisor-  we met him, we liked him, and we were devastated when he was killed).
    We never did trust DiFi back then, and we still don't.  While I am glad she is paying some attention to the spying on Americans, you will notice that she didn't give two whoops in Hades about this until her own ox was gored.
    And I agree about the CIA.  

    We all know (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by lentinel on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 01:59:25 PM EST
    that John Brennan supported the use of torture by the CIA under George W. Bush.

    Undaunted, Obama chose him as his current CIA director.

    Good choice.

    So now, Feinstein, who until recently never met a bug she didn't like, is wrangling to get information from this glorious human being. Information, I might add, that everybody in the entire world more or less already knows.

    I maintain that until we charge Cheney and Bush with the crimes they committed in our name, and stop defending them on the subliminal and jingoistic premise that they are "our" torturers... we will be stuck with the likes of Brennan and his admirers for the foreseeable future.

    Schadenfreude comes (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by KeysDan on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 03:36:03 PM EST
    to mind in noting the umbrage Senator Feinstein now takes to spying on the workings of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in light of her previous cavalier attitude toward spying concerns of  the "privacy people." However, the stakes are so high that such feelings need to be put aside  so as to take heart from Senator Feinstein's bombshell.  

    Senate Intelligence committee co-chair, Saxby Chambliss (R.GA) seemed less outraged. He suggested "a study to find out the facts." Apparently, by this  he means a study about the Senate study, or perhaps, a study of the internal study by the CIA.

    In any event, Chambliss seems unwilling to ruffle any feathers on his way to retirement to the private sector as he will soon  be depriving the people of Georgia of his services   But, Chambliss in on to something. He  does have a good idea, just not the way he intends, and a way that will assure that Senator Feinstein is not just offering a sternly voiced show defense of her staff.

    A special investigation is required--and a special prosecutor needs to be appointed.  

    The last thing (none / 0) (#33)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:23:32 AM EST
    the most transparent administration in history wants is a special prosecutor really opening up any can of worms they choose.

    What happens should be some real political soap opera.


    Likely the last thing (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by KeysDan on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:55:25 AM EST
    any administration relishes (cf. Nixon, Reagan, Daddy Bush, Clinton).   But, that is irrelevant to independent investigation of a fundamental Constitutional clash.

    I don't really follow it (none / 0) (#6)
    by Mikado Cat on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 09:34:12 AM EST
    but those winger sites with no useful information until published elsewhere had a bit on Brennan being tied to the 2008 state dept snooping of passport info related to Obama, Clinton, etc. The idea is that Obama might have reason to go to extraordinary measures to protect Brennan.

    And that makes those specious ... (none / 0) (#26)
    by Yman on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 06:15:23 PM EST
    ... rumors more or less believable?

    Are you in contact with Donald Trump? (none / 0) (#28)
    by shoephone on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 07:04:29 PM EST
    He has some ... "interesting" theories about passports and such too.

    What??? (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 09:15:55 PM EST
    The fantasy goes something ... (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Yman on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 10:06:54 PM EST
    ... like this.  Brennan was a consultant to the Obama campaign back in 2008.  His company - The Analysis Corporation - processed passport applications.  Obama's passport file (and Clinton's and McCain's) were accessed improperly by a couple of TAC employees, who were later fired.  The wingnuts say it was done to "cleanse" Obama's passport file (he was born in another country, traveled to Pakistan, insert favorite winger fairy tale ...) and now Brennan is untouchable because he knows the truth.

    Silly?  Sure.  Specious?  Yep.  Without the tiniest shred of evidence to support it?  Oh, yeah.

    In short ... just your run-of-the-mill, crazy, winger conspiracy.


    Hooooooo, what a trip :) (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:55:10 AM EST
    I'll have what their having.  

    Seems like fantasy (none / 0) (#32)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:18:29 AM EST
    but if by some remote chance it came out as true, history changing moment.

    BTW you left out the main witness that got murdered.

    Obama has too much connection to Brennan, but realistically how much protection can Obama offer before it gets obvious and silly that something is really wrong.


    No doubt (none / 0) (#34)
    by Yman on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 06:33:17 AM EST
    Also a "history changing moment" if it turns out the Easter Bunny is real ... with just as much evidence for each.

    BTW - Quarles Harris?  Heh, heh ... almost forgot that little cherry on the conspiracy sundae ...  


    CIA's lawyer Eatinger is out (none / 0) (#37)
    by shoephone on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 11:35:06 PM EST
    and a new one is approved by the Senate.

    One of Ms. Feinstein's allies in her fight against the C.I.A., Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, characterized his vote on Thursday less as an endorsement of Ms. Krass than as a vote for change at the spy agency.

    Mr. Udall has criticized Robert Eatinger, the C.I.A.'s acting general counsel, for referring a criminal case to the Justice Department about the conduct of the Intelligence Committee's staff.

    Mr. Udall and Ms. Feinstein have said that Mr. Eatinger has a conflict of interest in the matter, since he was a lawyer overseeing the detention and interrogation program, and his name is mentioned about 1,600 times in the committee's report.

    Circular firing squads to commence.