The Guardian reports Senator Mark Udall (D – Colorado) revealed the CIA spied on Senate Intelligence Committee staffers preparing a damning report on CIA torture practices after the 9/11 attacks.
More importantly, Udall says that President Obama was aware of this outrageous and illegal surveillance activity.
McClatchy and the New York Times reported Wednesday that the CIA had secretly monitored computers used by committee staffers preparing the inquiry report, which is said to be scathing not only about the brutality and ineffectiveness of the agency’s interrogation techniques but deception by the CIA to Congress and policymakers about it. The CIA sharply disputes the committee’s findings.
Udall, a Colorado Democrat and one of the CIA’s leading pursuers on the committee, appeared to reference that surreptitious spying on Congress, which Udall said undermined democratic principles.
“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 powers and for our democracy,” Udall wrote to Obama on Tuesday.
Independent observers were unaware of a precedent for the CIA spying on the congressional committees established in the 1970s to check abuses by the intelligence agencies.
“In the worst case, it would be a subversion of independent oversight, and a violation of separation of powers,” said Steven Aftergood, an intelligence analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. “It’s potentially very serious.”
When asked, neither the CIA nor the Justice Department would comment on the Guardian story.
Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat and ex officio member of the intelligence committee, said the alleged monitoring was potentially “extremely serious.”
“If, as alleged in the media, CIA accessed without permission or authority a computer network dedicated for use by a Senate committee, it would be an extremely serious matter. Such activity, if it occurred as alleged, would impede Congress’ ability to carry out its constitutional oversight responsibilities and could violate federal law,” Levin said in a statement on Wednesday.
Source: The Guardian
Photo: Senator Mark Udall on Flickr