Home » Posts tagged 'United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence'
Tag Archives: United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Mark Udall Demands CIA Report Amid Dispute Over Torture Study.
WASHINGTON, Dec 17 (Reuters) – A member of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday disclosed the existence of a secret Central Intelligence Agency document that committee members believe supports their conclusions in a study highly critical of “waterboarding” and other harsh counterterrorism practices.
Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat, demanded the document – a CIA study of the interrogation techniques – at a confirmation hearing for Caroline Krass, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the CIA’s general counsel.
Udall said he would not support Krass’ nomination until the previously undisclosed document was provided, raising the possibility that he might use a “hold” to stop the nomination.
The intelligence panel’s disagreement with the CIA over its 6,300-page report and the need for cooperation with Congress were a major focus of Tuesday’s hearing, which also covered the nomination of Daniel Smith to be assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research.
The dispute over the report – and revelations by former contractor Edward Snowden about sweeping electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency – have sparked debate over whether congressional oversight of U.S. spy agencies is effective enough.
The Senate panel approved a draft of its report a year ago. But the CIA disputes many of its findings and has not met lawmakers’ requests that parts of it be made public, leaving some senators frustrated at what they see as a lack of cooperation.
During the hearing, Krass told Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the committee, that she did not believe members of the Senate panel had the right to see documents that provide the legal basis for CIA actions, such as waterboarding.
Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins said she was “troubled” by Krass’ answer.
Udall asked Krass to ensure that the CIA provide the committee a copy of the internal review initiated under former CIA Director Leon Panetta of the agency’s detention and interrogation program.
“It appears that this review … is consistent with the Intelligence Committee’s report, but, amazingly, it conflicts with the official CIA response to the committee’s report,” Udall said.
“If this is true, it raises fundamental questions about why a review the CIA conducted internally years ago and never provided to the committee is so different from the CIA’s formal written response to the committee’s study,” he added.
The report’s existence was not public knowledge until Udall questioned Krass during the hearing.
Committee Democrats have concluded that the CIA obtained little or no critical intelligence from its use of secret prisons and harsh interrogation. Several panel members offered tough criticism and closely questioned Krass over her view of such techniques.
“It (the use of such techniques) was a tragic mistake of great significance in the history of this country,” West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller said.
Krass said she considered waterboarding to be torture.
Udall said he also wanted the White House to make a public statement committing to “the fullest possible declassification” of the committee’s study, and the CIA’s response, before he could support Krass’ nomination.
Asked if Udall would use a hold, his spokesman Mike Saccone said the senator was committed to working with the committee and the CIA on the nomination and to get the information he requested.
But Saccone added: “He will have a full range of procedural tools to pick from to accomplish this objective.” (Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
Instead, as The Hill reported shortly thereafter, “A senior administration official on Monday rejected Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Diane Feinstein’s claim that the U.S. has halted intelligence collection against its allies. In a statement released earlier Monday, the California Democrat said that the White House “has informed me that collection on our allies will not continue.” But the administration official called that statement “not accurate.” In other words, the situation surrounding Obama’s global Watergate hotel, has devolved to a state where the executive and the Chair of the Legislative’s intelligence committee are not even able to communicate in order to get their story straight about lying what the US will and won’t do in the future. Because, needless to say, any promise that the US won’t do what it obviously will continue doing as there is absolutely no downside to doing so, is merely the latest lie in long and illustrious chain of seasonally adjusted truths.
From The Hill:
“While we have made some individual changes, which I cannot detail, we have not made across the board changes in policy like, for example, terminating intelligence collection that might be aimed at all allies,” the administration official said.
And then the confusion and backtracking began:
After the administration’s statement, a spokesman for Feinstein clarified that the senatorintended to say that the U.S. was ceasing “collection on foreign allied leaders.”
Feinstein also said that it was her understanding President Obama “was not aware” the U.S. had been monitoring the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Obama first learned of the program, which apparently began in 2002, during an internal audit of intelligence practices this summer.
Why do we know Obama is “not” lying? Because he had no comment.
In an interview Monday afternoon with Fusion, the president refused to comment when asked about when he became aware of the surveillance.
What we do know, is that Obama no longer has a direct feed to Merkel’s cell phone. Whatever that means:
The administration has announced at least one determination, however. White House press secretary Jay Carney said last week that Obama assured Merkel in a private phone conversation that the administration was not currently monitoring her cell phone, nor would they do so in the future.
All the BS aside, in retrospect if indeed the NSA, being a government agency, does its job with the “efficiency” with which the government makes up lies on the fly, then there is absolutely nothing to worry about. For either the allies of the US, as long as that special status continues, or the billions of electronic communications intercepted among US citizens each day.
Continuing to play Obama like a fiddle, the Snowden revelations have done more to change US foreign policy in a few short months, than all laws passed since the advent of the Patriot Act. In the latest example of just this, moments ago, USA Today first and the WSJ and others subsequently, reported that according to Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and an NSA supporter, the National Security Agency has stopped gathering intelligence on allied political leaders, a practice that has drawn global criticism. “The White House has informed me that collection on our allies will not continue, which I support,” according to Feinstein. It was not immediately clear if this is an implicit admission that the White House actually did know about the NSA’s spying on foreign leaders over the past decade, and lied about being unaware. Recall that Obama denied just this last night, but at this point the pit of lies is so deep, few actually care or are keeping track.
Ironically, in an attempt to redirect once again, Feinstein “criticized President Obama over reports he only recently learned about the monitoring that included German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “It is my understanding that President Obama was not aware Chancellor Merkel’s communications were being collected since 2002,” she said. “That is a big problem.” Don’t worry Dianne, he knew everything, but an autocrat-in-waiting has to lie do what an autocrat-in-waiting has to lie do.
From USA Today:
As a growing chorus of nations protest U.S. surveillance policies, Obama’s spokesman said Monday that an ongoing review will address the concerns of allies.
The review of NSA programs is designed to insure that intelligence gathering protects “both the security of our citizens and our allies and the privacy concerns shared by Americans and citizens around the world,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.
Administration officials refused to comment on a report indicating that Obama learned only this year about a program that monitored the communications of foreign leaders — a situation that wouldn’t be particularly unusual, said an intelligence expert.
Paul Pillar, a former senior intelligence officer, said most presidents don’t know about “the targeting decisions” made by their intelligence agencies.
“It would be a horrible drain on the president’s time and attention,” Pillar said.
So instead the president can focus all his time and energy on creating 40-ing websites and taking over the public healthcare system?
As reported earlier, Spain was the latest country to be exposed as having been the target of the NSA’s extensive espionage (at a massive cost to US taxpayers), resulting in just the latest ambassadorial summoning. Which of course was merely more theater, set in motion merely to appease the locals.
Pillar said it’s not the tactics themselves that create international friction as much as the fact that they have now been publicized.
“Not only do allies spy on each other all the time, allies know about it all the time,” Pillar said.
Normally, he said, nations that discover surveillance from other countries would tighten their security procedures and not make “a public stink” about it.
But the news coverage – inspired by the Snowden revelations and fueled by outrage from their domestic constituents – forces leaders to confront the United States.
The issue is particularly sensitive in Germany, where memories of the nation’s Cold War divisions remain fresh. That includes domestic spying by police forces in Communist-run East Germany – the native region of Chancellor Merkel, an outspoken critic of NSA tactics.
“Their history is speaking very loudly to them,” said Heather Conley, senior fellow and director of the Europe Program with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Conley and Pillar said intelligence agencies do gather information on each other, on items ranging from positions on trade negotiations to the political troubles of the targeted government.
The difference these days? “It’s a public discussion,” Conley said.
Precisely. Because the public has had enough of governments scheming behind their backs, always to the detriment of common people. And the person to thank for all of this is none other than Edward Snowden, who instead of being praised as a hero in his home country, has been forced into exile into the country that once upon a time was the “evil empire.” How the times have changed in the despotic New Normal.
As for Feinstein’s promise that the US will stop spying either on foreign leaders, or domestically, that is about as good as any other promise made by an insolvent empire in full decline.
- Sen. Feinstein: ‘Total Review’ Of NSA Activities Needed (npr.org)
- Dianne Feinstein: ‘I am totally opposed’ to NSA surveillance of US allies (theguardian.com)
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein Slams NSA Spying (huffingtonpost.com)
- White House Will Stop Spying on Allies: Feinstein (news.antiwar.com)
- Civil Libertarians to Dianne Feinstein: We Told You So (emptywheel.net)
Terrorist threat followed ‘pre-9/11 levels’ of ‘chatter’, say NSA defenders | World news | theguardian.com
- US lawmaker says al-Qaeda threat most serious in years (thedailystar.net)
- Senator Calls Current Security Threats ‘Reminiscent Of What We Saw Pre-9/11’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- Embassies closed around the world as terrorist chatter moves to “Pre-9/11 levels” (politics.ie)
- Lawmaker says al Qaeda threat most serious in years (reuters.com)
- Chambliss and Durbin Call Terrorist Threats to Our Embassies ‘Serious’ (crooksandliars.com)
- Mexico and Canada declared part of US homeland by Senate maps (rt.com)
- Canada now part of the American ‘homeland’ (o.canada.com)
- NSA has Mexico and Canada part of Homeland (comradeconservative.wordpress.com)
First Congress Member Allowed to Read Secret Treaty Says “There Is No National Security Purpose In Keeping This Text Secret … This Agreement Hands The Sovereignty of Our Country Over to Corporate Interests” | Washington’s Blog
First Congress Member Allowed to Read Secret Treaty Says “There Is No National Security Purpose In Keeping This Text Secret … This Agreement Hands The Sovereignty of Our Country Over to Corporate Interests” | Washington’s Blog.
- Corporations Push to Overrule National Laws (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Alan Grayson on Secret ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’ treaty: It “hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests” (slothed.com)
- Hello, One World Government, Goodby USA (bagleyed.wordpress.com)
- Feinstein: Nsa Leaker Committed ‘Treason’ (givemeliberty01.com)
- Feinstein calls Snowden’s NSA leaks an ‘act of treason’ (whitenewsnow.com)
- Yep, They Went There: Dem Senator Feinstein Says NSA Leaker Snowden Committed Treason (mediaite.com)
- Edward Snowden – Whistleblower or Traitor? (pbdemocrats.wordpress.com)
- Treason charges for Snowdon would be rare, challenging (constitutioncenter.org)
- Ron Paul ‘Worried’ U.S. Might Kill Snowden With Drone: ‘I Don’t Think For A Minute He’s A Traitor’ (mediaite.com)