In Major Breach of the Separation of Powers, CIA Admits Spying on Senate

Posted Aug. 6, 2014

MP3 Interview with Mel Goodman, former CIA analyst, director of the National Security Project at the Center for International Policy, conducted by Scott Harris

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In an admission that constituted a violation of the separation of powers outlined in the U.S. Constitution, CIA Director John Brennan issued an apology to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on July 31, disclosing that his employees had spied on Intelligence Committee staffers who had been investigating the CIA’s role in torture of U.S.-held detainees. Last March, Intelligence committee chairwoman, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, had accused the CIA of spying on the Senate, charges that Brennan at the time had vehemently denied.

The CIA inspector general issued a report that found 10 CIA staff had "improperly accessed or caused access to" computers being used in the Senate Committee’s investigation of torture. The report further found that CIA security officers involved conducted keyword searches of Senate staffer’s emails. The report did not reveal which CIA administrators had ordered the surveillance or when senior staff had been informed of the breach.

Bipartisan anger greeted revelations about CIA surveillance of Senate staff, leading two members of the Intelligence Committee to call for CIA Director Brennan’s resignation. But President Obama,through his press secretary, stated that the White House still has "great confidence" in Brennan’s leadership. Between The Line’s Scott Harris spoke with Mel Goodman, director of the National Security Project at the Center for International Policy, who served as an analyst with the CIA for 24 years. Here, Goodman assesses the significance of CIA espionage targeting the Senate, and the importance of releasing the Intelligence Committee’s 6,200-page report on the agency's role in the torture of U.S.-held detainees during the Bush presidency.

Goodman’s most recent book is titled, "National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism." For more news and commentary of the investigation into CIA torture, visit ciponline.org/programs/national-security-project.

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