Tags: CIA Torture Report | evan bayh | dianne feinstein | cia | spying | documents

Evan Bayh: Feinstein Aides Pilfered Documents, Spied on CIA

By    |   Thursday, 22 January 2015 08:38 PM

When then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor in March, she told a harrowing tale of CIA malfeasance and bullying that "may have undermined the constitutional framework" and broken the law in investigating suspected leaks of classified information by congressional staffers."

The California Democrat said she had not received an admission of wrongdoing or an apology from the CIA in connection with its actions, which occurred during the intelligence panel's investigation of the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques" used on terror suspects.

In December, committee Democrats led by Feinstein issued a report blasting the CIA interrogations, saying they yielded little useful information and that the agency had misled Congress about the scope of the program.

Earlier this month, former Sen. Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, issued his own report on the bitter dispute between Feinstein's Intelligence Committee staff and the CIA over suspected leaks of classified information. It provides a decidedly unflattering portrait of the actions of Feinstein staffers.

Bayh, who like Feinstein also served on the Intelligence Committee while in Congress, was chairman of a CIA accountability board review that "portrays the Feinstein staffers as the ones who first penetrated and snatched restricted CIA files," The Washington Times reported. "The staffers copied some and, as a committee Republican report said, they spirited material out of the CIA off-site in Northern Virginia — without authorization."

The "bottom line" of Bayh's report, The Times said, was that CIA officers were acting reasonably when they attempted to verify their suspicions that Feinstein's aides had taken documents designated by the agency as "privileged."

Early in January 2014, CIA officers came to believe that committee staffers had gained access to an off-limits document called the "Panetta Review" – a synopsis of documents on the CIA's terrorist interrogation program for CIA Director Leon Panetta.

According to the Bayh report, the staffers were aware that the document was outside the scope of their investigation. CIA officers, suspecting that the staffers were breaking the rules, decided to search a committee hard drive where they discovered the Panetta Review.

This kicked off "a flurry of debate and meetings inside the Langley headquarters that eventually reached CIA Director John Brennan," according to The Times.

CIA officials needed to decide whether to confront Feinstein directly or, before doing so, to do a more extensive investigation to find out how unauthorized files turned up in the Senate hard drive.

They opted for more investigating and eventually figured out that one staffer had found 166 off-limits files and moved them to Senate custody in November 2010. The Panetta documents were given to four staffers and printed.

Republican members of the Intelligence Committee explained what happened next in their report last month. "Committee majority staff knowingly removed the Panetta Internal Review, a highly classified, privileged CIA document, from a CIA facility without authorization and in clear violation of the existing agreed-upon procedures by the Committee and the CIA."

Eventually, CIA Director John Brennan called an "emergency meeting" with Feinstein over staffers' actions, but she dismissed his concerns, saying that the staffers "have devoted years of their lives" to examining an interrogation program that "never, never, never should have existed."

Bayh, her former colleague, disagreed. His report said there had been "improper conduct" by Feinstein staffers before the CIA search and called decisions to search the Senate-side hard drive "reasonable given the embarrassment to the agency and harm to the agency SSCI [Senate Intelligence Committee] relationship that would have resulted from a false allegation."

Great certainty "was understandably desired before raising it with the Senate and pursuing formal allegations of wrongdoing," Bayh said.

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When then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor in March, she told a harrowing tale of CIA malfeasance and bullying that "may have undermined the constitutional framework" and...
evan bayh, dianne feinstein, cia, spying, documents
Thursday, 22 January 2015 08:38 PM
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