back to article CIA snoops snooped on Senate to spy spy torture report – report

CIA officers allegedly hacked into the US Senate Intelligence Committee's computers to find out what the oversight committee had found out about its controversial detention and treatment of terror suspects.‬ The oversight committee had managed to get its hands on unapproved material, or so the CIA feared, the New York Times …

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  1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    LOL!

    That is all...

  2. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Spy vs Spy

    I'm only playing if I can be Black Spy - White Spy is such a wuss.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Spy vs Spy

      Bah, My money's on the grey spy. http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20111219225111/spyversusspy/images/7/74/1649315-spy_large.jpg

      While Black and White are beating each other up, she always gets the goods!

      (And is much easier on the eyes) ;)

  3. nematoad Silver badge
    WTF?

    Tail wagging the dog.

    "The CIA allegedly insisted that Senate committee staff and members could only review classified cables at a secure facility in Northern Virginia"

    This raises the question of who runs the USA. Congress or the CIA and other security units.

    These people need to be whipped back into line and told in no uncertain terms that they are the servants and not the masters.

    The most troubling thing to me is that we know some of what goes on in the US but have no idea who is running the UK. The elected government, however ineffective, or the likes of MI5 and GCHQ.

    1. wowfood

      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

      We must tell the guardians a 'noble lie'.[1] The noble lie will assure them that they are better than those they serve and it is therefore their responsibility to guard and protect those lesser than themselves. We will instill in them a distaste for power or privilege; they will rule because they believe it right, not because they desire it.

      Looks like we can now see what Platos republic would have led to.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Tail wagging the dog.

      "These people need to be whipped back into line and told in no uncertain terms that they are the servants and not the masters."

      Fixed that for you

      1. Fatman

        Re: Tail wagging the dog. "These people need to be whipped"

        You beat me to it!!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tail wagging the dog.

      "This raises the question of who runs the USA .. but have no idea who is running the UK. The elected government, however ineffective, or the likes of MI5 and GCHQ"

      Oh, come on, there is *no* question as to who really runs the place, but like Dracula their power only functions in the shadows ...

      1. Wzrd1

        Re: Tail wagging the dog.

        "Oh, come on, there is *no* question as to who really runs the place, but like Dracula their power only functions in the shadows ..."

        I see! So, you hold that the CIA writes laws and also authorizes their own budget, not Congress?

        Wrong and wrong.

        Indeed, that was how the CIA was brought to heel back in the 1960's. The power of the pen held by a lot of pissed of Congresscritters.

    4. WonkoTheSane
      Trollface

      Re: Tail wagging the dog.

      "The most troubling thing to me is that we know some of what goes on in the US but have no idea who is running the UK. The elected government, however ineffective, or the likes of MI5 and GCHQ."

      I take it you've never watched "Yes, Prime Minister" then?

      1. Suburban Inmate

        Re: Tail wagging the dog. @WonkoTheSane

        Or "Absolute Power" either...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'they are the servants and not the masters'....

      ...Really? Those that perpetuate the Military-Industry-Complex are the real masters...

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tail wagging the dog.

      But in either case, if monitoring did in fact occur, it may have violated an agreement between the committee and the CIA.

      Bullshit. This is a violation of several National Security directives, as well as an obvious and clear violation of the U.S. Constitution's Separation of Powers (the Executive branch spying on the Legislative branch). I'm sure there is a phone book's worth of laws broken here.

      This is Obama using the U.S. Constitution as toilet paper. Only a mindless laughable tool wouldn't see this as a criminal and impeachable offense.

      1. Wzrd1

        Re: Tail wagging the dog.

        So, another fanboy who insists that the POTUS micromanages every agency he's in charge of.

        I've heard the same bullshit over soldiers murdering civilians, where apparently, the POTUS must've failed to directly supervise Privates in the middle of a war.

        The reality is, the CIA has gotten out of control in the past, Congress brought them back under control by power of the budget.

      2. hapticz

        Re: Tail wagging the dog.

        this so called 'spying' used to occur just outside the halls of Congress in idle chit chat or over a few martinis in some dimly lit Georgetown restaurant (all done without recorders or hidden mikes). gossip betwixt trusting elements within any social structure have been going on since humans emergence from jungles and caves. actually, a lot of this still does. check your calendars, they may be unusually revealing.

    7. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: Tail wagging the dog.

      Neither the executive nor the legislative branch of the U. S. government "runs" the USA in a meaningful sense. It is useful to remember that, and that an executive agency like the CIA (or DoD/NSA) does not for long go far beyond what the top level executives and the President approve if the Congress takes issue with it. The process is political at the core, and often accompanied by great posturing and puffing, such as we see today over the CIA and the report on torture.

      "Enhanced interrogation techniques" were approved by the President (of the time), disapproved by a later President and (we hope) discontinued. They were investigated by the Congress, subject to constraints established by the executive agency involved but agreed to by the Congress. There is no chance that the President was unaware of or disagreed with this. The article reports claims that both the congressional investigators and their CIA hosts failed to comply with the ground rules. The claims, while serious, will be resolved in the usual way, by the elected officials (both legislative and executive and the executive branch political appointees. The people, as always, will largely* ignore the whole thing.

      While the UK has different arrangements, possibly somewhat less constrained by semi-immutable documents like the US Constitution, I expect things are done in much the same way. In either country, governments may change after varying periods, but the regime is almost certain to remain largely unchanged.

      *One of the main exceptions being those who comment on articles like this one and the NYTimes article on which it is based.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tail wagging the dog.

        "Enhanced interrogation techniques" were... disapproved by a later President and (we hope) discontinued

        No, by his own admission Obama still uses waterboarding, just as he admits to killing Americans with drones. the press just likes to pretend he isn't.

        1. tom dial Silver badge

          Re: Tail wagging the dog.

          Citation?

      2. Wzrd1

        Re: Tail wagging the dog.

        "does not for long go far beyond what the top level executives and the President approve if the Congress takes issue with it. "

        Three words: Bay of Pigs. One example out of many of an out of control CIA back in the 1960's. Congress brought them under control, as the POTUS suffered from high velocity lead poisoning before he could try to get them under control.

        Never piss of the folks who hold the pen that signs your paycheck.

        1. tom dial Silver badge

          Re: Tail wagging the dog.

          "Three words: 'Bay of Pigs'". This is a particularly bad example, as the undertaking was known and approved by both President Eisenhower and President Kennedy. The CIA sponsors evidently were wrong in predicting success, but were operating with approval of their supervisory chain.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This raises the question of who runs the USA

      The CIA do obviously. If the pres tries to do anything to limit their powers they kill him. Ahhh, that already happened once ...

    9. Euripides Pants
      Trollface

      Re: Tail wagging the dog.

      "who runs the USA"

      Rupert Murdoch, of course

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tail wagging the dog.

      Whoever actually runs the UK at any given moment, you can be sure they've all been friends with benefits in their days at the 'right' schools.

    11. Schultz Silver badge

      "whipped back in line"

      Cut the budget. Problem solved.

    12. Wzrd1

      Re: Tail wagging the dog.

      First, the CIA is not permitted, by charter approved by Congress, to operate within the United States of America. Not even to investigate a leak to Congress. That is the job of the FBI.

      Second, the CIA may not investigate their oversight authority. That undermines the entirety of oversight, as does forbidding the oversight authority to perform their Constitutionally mandated oversight from their own offices (each house of Congress has its own SCIF to read TS and SCI data).

      So, we've seem to have come full circle from the 1960's, when the CIA had to be reined in due to unlawful domestic activities.

      Most likely via the budget axe.

  4. James 51

    My 'knowledge' of the CIA is limited to what you see in the movies but I thought they weren't allowed to operate in the USA itself. Won't they get into trouble for that?

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      My thoughts too - although it sounds like they may have been only looking at a subset of their own internal network from my read of the second half of the article.

    2. Ted Treen

      Well, not really...

      Although it's been depicted in many movies, the fact that the CIA has operated autonomously as a law unto itself certainly in the 1950's, 60's & 70's has been pretty well documented in several serious & respected publications/whistleblowings.

      The only difference between now and then is that they're a little less blatant about it.

      After all, they're keeping the world safe for Democracy, Mom's Apple Pie, and the American Way...

      1. Havin_it

        Re: Well, not really...

        Sorry, but I don't think you'll ever make the world safe for an apple pie.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      re:Won't they get into trouble for that?

      Yes it just needs a senator and a prosecutor to stand up against an agency that has details of all their secrets and whose job is blackmailing and killing people.

    4. Vimes

      Almost as worrying is the reference to 'improperly' spying on senators. To me that implies that they have a proper way of going about such activities and may even be a regular occurrence for all we know.

      1. Psyx

        "Almost as worrying is the reference to 'improperly' spying on senators. To me that implies that they have a proper way of going about such activities and may even be a regular occurrence for all we know."

        Well, it's not out of the question that a senator could be leaking information like a sieve (remember senators are career politicians with personal and corporate agendas, rather than service personnel and strict patriots), so there are occasions where spying on your own politicians is perfectly legit.

        Just because politicians write the rules, it does not mean they are above suspicion and investigation (or indeed prosecution).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > Just because politicians write the rules, it does not mean they are above suspicion and investigation (or indeed prosecution).

          Can't remember a CIA or MI5 investigation having led to politicians being found out, isn't that done by journalists on the rare occasion they get lucky while politician's wrong-doings in all other cases probably never sees the light of day?

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Sir

            "on the rare occasion they get lucky"

            Lucky that the spooks fed them the info you mean.

    5. Psyx

      "My 'knowledge' of the CIA is limited to what you see in the movies but I thought they weren't allowed to operate in the USA itself. Won't they get into trouble for that?"

      It was spying on their own network, though. That's pretty much the same as looking at their HQ's CCTV footage.

    6. BillG
      Meh

      My 'knowledge' of the CIA is limited to what you see in the movies but I thought they weren't allowed to operate in the USA itself. Won't they get into trouble for that?

      No, when Obama reaffirmed the Patriot Act the second time he also approved the CIA operating inside the US, just as the Secret Service can now operate outside the US.

      When it comes to civil rights in the past six years, all Americans are frogs, being slowly cooked, slowly cooked...

  5. pacman7de
    Big Brother

    Government by the people?

    "CIA officers allegedly hacked into the US Senate Intelligence Committee's computers .. if monitoring did in fact occur, it may have violated an agreement between the committee and the CIA"

    I guess the US can now stop pretending it's a democracy ..

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Government by the people?

      "I guess the US can now stop pretending it's a democracy .."

      Nope all that's come to pass has been voted on and passed by elected representatives, it truly is democracy (at its worst) in action.

      Now the USA as a true republic*... That has loong since passed.

      *A republic is a form of government in which power is held by the people and representatives they elect, and affairs of state are a "public matter" (from Latin: res publica), rather than privately accommodated.

    2. Psyx

      Re: Government by the people?

      "I guess the US can now stop pretending it's a democracy .."

      It might not be the one you want it to be, but it's still democratic. Granted, 10% of your population are the ones whose votes count, and once you vote someone in he's owned by whatever organisations put him there, but it's still a democracy and you still have more human rights than 90% of the planet.

      Try living in an actual dictatorial shit-hole for a few years for reference: It makes you really appreciate what you have.

      For example, living in the States really brought home the value of the NHS and social services to me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Government by the people?

        "For example, living in the States really brought home the value of the NHS and social services to me."

        I understand why you said that, but my gran would have lived a hell of a lot longer had they fed and watered her instead of being put on the Liverpool death list. They perform euthanasia on a daily basis in the UK but you aren't allowed to decide for yourself, and you don't get a needle, you get dessicated to death - it isn't pretty.

  6. Steve Evans

    Well the law makers were so keen on hyping TERROR and having us all live in fear...

    Well look what you've created!

    Sorry, still trying not to laugh. (failing)

  7. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    well - the German language has a very fine

    word to describe the discomfort Congress are in and many peoples feelings about their lack of oversight - schadenfreude

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: well - the German language has a very fine

      And a word to describe the CIA's activities against congress = "putsch"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: well - the German language has a very fine

        English has a number of fine if earthy ways to describe the lot of them.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now they know what it fucking feels like to be everyone else, maybe something will be done about it.

    1. Amorous Cowherder

      Nice thought but I wouldn't hold your breath!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I thought it was a bit optimistic myself; but one can hope...

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Sir

          "Nice thought but I wouldn't hold your breath!"

          Unless you are being water-boarded of course, then you should.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So it's okay to spy on people as long as it isn't us.

    Hypocrisy at its peak.

  10. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Time to start again?

    There are times when a system is so badly screwed up that you have to give up trying to patch it and just have to shut it down and design something new that works.

    The USian 'security' services seem to have reached that point. The NSA, CIA etc are so totally corrupt and broken that they need to be immediately wound up and a new, properly controlled and appropriate security service built up from scratch, with no staff transferred from the old ones (who can be shipped to Gitmo for a few years). Yes it will hurt in the short term, but it's the only long term solution.

  11. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Classic bureaucratic thinking...

    Before long, anyone outside the organization itself is viewed as an opponent of the organization...

  12. g e

    Domestic operation?

    I thought The Agency were only remitted to foreign ops, this would seem to imply they'd been operating domestically...

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Domestic operation?

      They simply re-defined foreign the same way they did terrorist, i.e. someone not them.

  13. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    pertinent question

    If I peed my pants laughing at the tortured wording of your headline, does that make this yellow journalism?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poetic Jutsice

    If you're not Central Insane Agency / National Screwed-Up Agency / Homeland Insecurity then you are an enemy of the Un-United States of Assholes !

  15. Col. Muckstard

    To quote L.C. Jones "they don't like it up 'em!"..

  16. b0llchit
    Facepalm

    Recursive conundrum

    Who watches the watchers becomes a recursive conundrum when the watchers of the watchers watch the watchers.

    Maybe _all_ watchers should be fired to break the infinite loop and start from scratch. At least, the stack overflow is near...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You don't need to worry, unless.

    1. You repeatedly apply for Security Cleared Jobs.

    2. You hardly ever get an interview.

    3. When you do, you do spectacularly well,

    4. But then fail to get a job, fail to be told why, fail to understand it.

    5. For several years in a row.

    It's even worse if.

    1. You arrive in King Charles Street,

    2. Your interview is changed at the last minute.

    3. Despite nothing written on your CV, he knows you aren't cleared.

    4. He then tells you to go home.

    Because you're on a watch list. Your job applications are being monitored, and if you're likely to be getting a job, they intervene.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CIA claims water boarding was a legitimate way of doing investigation.

    So why not use this allegedly legitimate method on the CIA officials? The Senate committee should certainly consider this.

  19. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    Memories of the old Spy-V-Spy cartoon

  20. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Why do these "committee members" hate America?

  21. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    What I want to know is....

    Who hacked these computers for the CIA? Was it some other alphabet agency? (I'm looking at you, Fort Meade!) Was this too hot for even the NSA, and was help surreptitiously received from the GCHQ or one of the other Five Eyes??

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