When the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) investigated the CIA’s infamous post-9/11 torture and rendition program, Director of the CIA John Brennan accused SSCI staffers of illegally hacking into classified CIA computer systems. Responding, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA),Chairwoman of the SSCI, accused the CIA of spying upon the very Senate intelligence committee tasked with overseeing CIA torture. Brennan denied Feinstein’s allegations of CIA spying on the Senate’s investigation. Feinstein retorted by implying the CIA’s spying on the Senate staffers amounted to a constitutional crisis. Similarly, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) characterized the CIA’s alleged actions as “Richard Nixon stuff” “dangerous to the democracy.”
In collaboration with journalist Jason Leopold, Property of the People filed multiple FOIA lawsuits against the CIA to provide the public with information on the CIA’s alleged spying on the Senate, as well as the CIA’s torture and rendition program itself.
POTP has already obtained over 300 pages of responsive documents, and we’ll be obtaining many more over the coming months. These documents detail the inner workings of the CIA’s spying on the SSCI. One of the highlights of the documents we’ve obtained to date is a draft apology letter from Brennan to Sen. Feinstein. In this never-sent letter, CIA Director Brennan acknowledged the CIA’s electronic surveillance of the Senate staffers, as well admitted that the CIA’s surveillance was improper and violated the agreement between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee.
POTP will continue to post additional documents on the CIA’s torture program and the CIA’s spying on the Senate’s investigation of CIA torture as they are received.