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Senator Accuses CIA of Snooping On Intelligence Committee Computers 242

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the ye-shall-reap-as-ye-have-sown dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Sen. Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, publicly accused the CIA of inappropriately searching computers used by her committee, violating presidential directives, federal laws and the Fourth Amendment. The computers in question were provided by the CIA at an undisclosed CIA location for use by the members of the intelligence committee. When the committee staff received internal documents the CIA had not officially provided, the agency examined the computers used by the committee and removed the unauthorized documents. The action has been referred to the Justice Department for possible prosecution." There were rumors of such a few weeks ago, and now it's official. Read the transcript of her speech.
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Senator Accuses CIA of Snooping On Intelligence Committee Computers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:02PM (#46455079)

    This is the same Senator who crys "terrorists!" whenever people suggest reining in NSA surveillance of regular citizens.

    I have sympathy for her, and her arguments against being spied upon. Why does she not have sympathy for us, and for our arguments against being spied upon?

    • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:05PM (#46455121) Journal

      I have sympathy for her

      I have absolutely no sympathy for that piece of shit.

      She's a typical example of what is wrong with the government of the United States of America.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:16PM (#46455219)

        No. Do not attack the person. Attack the arguments. This sort of statement is what makes it easy for people to say that privacy advocates are shrill nutjobs.

        If privacy and freedom from surveillance are worthy causes, we should applaud *anyone* who makes the argument for privacy and freedom from surveillance, even if it means applauding someone who is typically not on our side, and whom we may find personally reprehensible.

        Are we privacy advocates united behind certain beliefs? Or are we just united against certain people?

        • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:22PM (#46455289) Journal

          I don't think it's at all out of order to take some pleasure in one of the most-pro NSA people in Congress being hoisted by her own petard. Is it wrong to take pleasure from the chickens coming home to roost for Feinstein... well maybe a little, but I just can't help myself.

          • by Immerman (2627577) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @01:27PM (#46455881)

            Oh, by all means take pleasure in it. But if you want to see things change keep your pleasure to yourself and back her protest. "Even my detractors are rallying behind me" is a powerful battle cry.

            • by HornWumpus (783565) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @01:42PM (#46456019)

              Back her protest?

              No.

              Back her opponent in the next primary. She is worse then useless.

              • by Immerman (2627577)

                Absolutely no reason you can't do both.
                Is she worthy of backing?
                Is her cause worth backing?

                If your answers are "No" and "Yes", and you make that clear, then your support can be an even more powerful boon to the cause than the support of those who would happily follow her off a cliff. Not to mention informing her potential opponents in the next election as to which issues are actually important to you.

                • There is only so much time in the day. Violations abound.

                  Supporting 'her cause' supports her implicitly. Just because her clock is stopped at the current correct time, doesn't mean you should in any way make it look good.

                • Her cause, so far as I can tell, is to stop Federal spooks from spying on her. It does not appear to be stopping Federal spooks from spying on anybody beyond the rarefied circles of Congress.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Feinstein is a liar and has mislead the American people on countless occasions about NSA spying and has been in lock step with the emerging police state. this is a distraction from the real constitutional violations that she has been complicit in covering up.

          She deserves every insult, every invective and our complete contempt. And even more so for this latest charade and false indignation. If anything this just shows that not even the CIA respects her.

        • No. Do not attack the person. Attack the arguments. This sort of statement is what makes it easy for people to say that privacy advocates are shrill nutjobs.

          Attacking people is no way to win an argument yet it communicates a useful function for the purpose of filtering out noise.

          While a crackpot might on occasion say something true is it really worth your time to wade through all of their garbage to scrape a few grains of sanity from the bottom of the pan?

          If privacy and freedom from surveillance are worthy causes, we should applaud *anyone* who makes the argument for privacy and freedom from surveillance

          She is like all of the other power hungry whackos ... she does not care unless it effects her personally...I'm not going to applaud her for that.

          Are we privacy advocates united behind certain beliefs? Or are we just united against certain people?

          The problem with just supporting any statement from anyone who s

        • No. Do not attack the person. Attack the arguments.

          Can't we do both?

    • by ISoldat53 (977164) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:09PM (#46455147)
      Dianne, petard. Petard, Dianne.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ...because she's callous and domineering? ...because people in this country like that kind of leadership so long as it is hidden behind a fake smile, decorum, and a few ginned up talking points to drool over?

    • by akirapill (1137883) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:18PM (#46455235)
      Your rights are only important when they're also my rights.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Quila (201335)

      Why does she not have sympathy for us, and for our arguments against being spied upon?

      Because we are the little people and she is the ruling class. We only matter to gain her more power and make her husband more money.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CanHasDIY (1672858)

      I have sympathy for her, and her arguments against being spied upon.

      Really? I don't - bitch has no right to privacy regarding her job as a public servant. Now, if they were hacking into her personal email... I still wouldn't feel bad about it. Scumbags reap what they sow.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by CauseBy (3029989)

        To be clear, they are absolutely hacking her personal email, no doubt about it.

        I'm willing to feel bad for anyone who gets illegally wiretapped -- except for people like Feinstein who openly call for practically everyone (except her) to be illegally wiretapped. She deserves it; the rest of us don't.

        • by morgauxo (974071)

          ewwww

          I'm willing to feel bad for anyone who's boss made them read about her personal life. Many times more so if there were pictures!

    • by DarkOx (621550) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:41PM (#46455465) Journal

      Not only that its the same Senator who argued how necessary to national security the NSA surveillance programs are after the Snowden leaks.

      Hypocrisy at its finest; curb stop my constituents 4th amendment rights and thats all fine, but violate my rights and look out!

      I'd like to think she might learn something from this, but I doubt she will.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is the same Senator who crys "terrorists!" whenever people suggest reining in NSA surveillance of regular citizens.

      I have sympathy for her, and her arguments against being spied upon. Why does she not have sympathy for us, and for our arguments against being spied upon?

      It's worse than that - this is a fundamental breakdown of Congressional power that's leading to a dictatorial Presidency.

      It's just fine by her when the executive branch unilaterally changes things like statutory Affordable Care Act deadlines, because it suits her political purposes.

      It's fine by her to give the DNI a pass when he perjures himself in congressional testimony, because it suits her political purposes.

      It's fine by her when the President makes "recess" appointments to the NLRB when the Senate was

    • Animal Farm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @01:09PM (#46455721)

      I have sympathy for her, and her arguments against being spied upon. Why does she not have sympathy for us, and for our arguments against being spied upon?

      Because she - being a very wealthy Senator - is more equaler than the rest of us.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @02:26PM (#46456361)
      To be fair, she accuses the intelligence community of doing far more than simply spying on her.

      said the CIA had searched through computers belonging to staff members investigating the agency’s role in torturing detainees, and had then leveled false charges against her staff in an attempt to intimidate them. “I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principle embodied in the United States Constitution, including the speech and debate clause,” she said. “It may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function.”

      From the intercept [firstlook.org].

      The intelligence community blackmailing the people who are supposed to have oversight of the intelligence community is probably at least a little more dangerous than the intelligence community spying on it's citizens. If for no other reason that the former prevents the latter from being solved. Pruning the CIA and NSA back to appropriate levels will require congressional action, and that's likely exactly what the CIA and/or NSA is trying to stop with these actions.

  • ... then this!
  • Hypocrisy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:03PM (#46455101)

    And she said that the CIA appears to have violated the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as various federal laws and a presidential executive order that prevents the agency from conducting domestic searches and surveillance.

    I don't think she even realizes how hypocritical she is. Surveillance and secrecy are all cool, unless they happen to apply to her. Then it is her -- "Fourth Amendment!"

    • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:19PM (#46455255)

      The hypocritical Senator's own word, for our enjoyment. Pass the popcorn.

      The NSA's Watchfulness Protects America [wsj.com]
      By Dianne Feinstein
      Oct. 13, 2013 6:59 p.m. ET

      Since it was exposed in June by leaker Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency's call-records program has become controversial and many have questioned whether its benefits are worth the costs. My answer: The program—which collects phone numbers and the duration and times of calls, but not the content of any conversations, names or locations—is necessary and must be preserved if we are to prevent terrorist attacks.

      Sen. Dianne Feinstein: Continue NSA call-records program [usatoday.com]
      By Dianne Feinstein
      Oct. 20, 2013 6:22 p.m. EDT

      The NSA call-records program is legal and subject to extensive congressional and judicial oversight. Above all, the program has been effective in helping to prevent terrorist plots against the U.S. and our allies. Congress should adopt reforms to improve transparency and privacy protections, but I believe the program should continue.

      The call-records program is not surveillance. It does not collect the content of any communication, nor do the records include names or locations. The NSA only collects the type of information found on a telephone bill: phone numbers of calls placed and received, the time of the calls and duration. The Supreme Court has held this "metadata" is not protected under the Fourth Amendment.

    • by sycodon (149926)

      Anyone checked her Ox lately? I think it probably has some holes in it.

    • And she said that the CIA appears to have violated the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as various federal laws and a presidential executive order that prevents the agency from conducting domestic searches and surveillance.

      I don't think she even realizes how hypocritical she is. Surveillance and secrecy are all cool, unless they happen to apply to her. Then it is her -- "Fourth Amendment!"

      This is the same woman who is one of the strongest supporters of gun control while she herself has one of the few concealed carry licenses in California. I don't think she even considers hypocrisy something to be ashamed of.

  • by edibobb (113989) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:04PM (#46455105) Homepage
    ... Senator Feinstein has significantly less technological prowess than my cat, and has exhibited this on numerous occasions.
  • Schadenfreude (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzznutz (789413) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:04PM (#46455107)
    Excuse me for a moment while I savor this moment.
    • Only for a moment: this needs to be pressed. Otherwise, congress will pass laws restricting the NSA from spying on congress, and maybe large corporations who donate well. Then everyone will forget about the NSA and we'll be left permanently under big brother's gaze. At least until we say something the government doesn't like, at which point they'll release or make up embarassing or illegal stuff about us, then send us to for-profit prisons to work as slaves.

      Maybe a bit too cynical there, but hey, can'
    • by OakDragon (885217)
      You'd think it sucks to be spied on or something.
  • It was Freedom Filing. Murka!

  • Wow! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Feinstein is Chair on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence! That she doesn't know what the CIA, NSA, or anyone else is doing with regard to surveillance, or is kept out of the loop on purpose, or hasn't pulled any muscle to reign it in, speaks volumes to what exactly her position in the committee does.

    Quick jab... but sure as hell, when it comes to copyright and the media cartels, her power seems endless.

  • CIA computers (Score:5, Informative)

    by tomhath (637240) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:17PM (#46455225)

    As I read it, the CIA searched their own computers that were made available to the Senate Committee, looking for documents that were not supposed to be made available or publicly released. For whatever reason (probably a CIA screw-up) someone on the committee found those documents and blabbed about them.

    Feinstein's complaint is that the CIA wasn't supposed to monitor what the committee was looking at on those computers. It sounds like she has a reasonable complaint, but given the amount of hysteria around leaks these days it doesn't surprise me that the CIA thought they had a bigger problem than just one of their own inadvertently releasing documents that should not have been.

    • Re:CIA computers (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bmacs27 (1314285) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:38PM (#46455441)
      Yea... they sure did have a bigger problem. Someone (intentionally or unintentionally) leaked to congress their own account of what was really going on.

      I think people are being unfair to Feinstein here. This has serious ramifications on congressional oversight of intelligence orgs. At stake is the existence of any elected oversight of spooks.
      • by DarkOx (621550)

        No we are not being unfair to Feinstein. Secrect committees and secret courts monitoring secret agencies about what secret data they are collecting in their secret facilities; isn't a workable model on the scale we are trying to do it.

        Sure state craft requires some secrets and shadows, but democracy in the form a functioning republic needs a lot a sunshine. We have been trying to get people like her to understand we have gone way way way to far with this crap. We have created a monster "We the people" ca

  • And here we are told that the CIA only spies on other nations and not within the US. I will say that her position is such that an enemy who turned her would have a serious advantage and therefore she does need deep investigation as a matter of national security as do all others involved in the intelligence community. The catch is that the CIA is not the org that is supposed to do this sort of thing. Just maybe this world is so dangerous that all of this spying needs
  • by PvtVoid (1252388) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @12:30PM (#46455351)
    Let's see ... you're investigating potential war crimes perpetrated by the CIA, so you store all of the records of the investigation on an air-gapped computer system located at a CIA facility in Virginia [nytimes.com]. What could possibly go wrong?
  • It looks like the Senator is complaining that the CIA searched some CIA computers, not that they searched the Senator's computer. Am I misreading this, or is this a bunch of noise about NOTHING?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      From what I read you're misreading it. The CIA agreed to put a bunch of its own stuff on its own computers for the Senate to look at, under the written agreement that they would let the Senate do its investigation without interference. Apparently, at one point they (the CIA and apparently 3rd party public contractors) started removing documents from the secure computers in violation of that agreement. That was what you were referring to, and that alone would be the CIA searching and hiding stuff from the

  • They visit a secret "undisclosed CIA location", use PCs that are "provided" for them by the CIA, then are surprised that the CIA knows what's on them?

    If I walk over to my friend's house, he lets me borrow his PC, I write a nasty email criticizing my friend, I wouldn't be surprised at all if he somehow found out what I'd written.

  • The biggest big government police state lover Swinestein is mad at the evil police state she helped create?

  • As always, Glenn Greenwald has thought provoking [twitter.com] narrative.
  • I am so sick of the word "snooping." Snooping is what you do when you're twelve years old and you peek in mom and dad's closet to see what you're getting for Christmas. What the government does is called "spying," or "gaining illegal access" or "hax0ring ur boxen." It is not "oh you little scamp, doing your snooping tee hee!" It's FUCKING SPYING.

    • Yes, it is wholesale spying! But, in this case, it's a good thing. Let the politicos sweat for a while.
  • It's easy to tell if they someone has been going through the private pictures on her computer. Check the log of their sick days. I don't care what kind of torture resistance training they have been through. Nobody has a stomache that strong!

  • Rather than spying on American citizens, the CIA is actually spying on our elected officials. This makes me smile even more. I would really like the CIA to release this data. This is, no sarcasm, a good use of the CIA. Our elected idiots need to be reigned in.
  • by delcielo (217760) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @01:49PM (#46456069) Journal
    Regardless of the hypocrisy of Feinstein, this turn of events needed to be made public.

    The CIA did something wrong. The Senate opened an investigation. The CIA accidentally sent them incriminating information, then deleted some after it had already been reviewed. The CIA agreed not to delete any more, then did it again. The Senate put some of this incriminating information into their official report and moved evidence to a secure location. The CIA didn't much care for that and started an investigation into how they got it, trumped up accusations of criminal conduct and have refused to accept the legitimate oversight role of the Senate. Hate Feinstein all you want, but don't dismiss this illegitimate action by the CIA because she's no angel herself.
  • by Squiggle (8721)

    For those that didn't read the article, there are a few important points to clarify:

    Feinstein's staff is being (falsely) accused of hacking/spying on CIA since they got their hands on some documents the CIA did not want them to have: namely the CIA's own internal investigation of the documents being released to the senate investigation. It seems like the "search tool" provided to the senate staff picked up more than the CIA thought it would. The staffers smartly made their own copy of these docs (as previou

  • At the outset, let's look at the moral of the story: You can't trust spies or spy agencies. Especially not the way the Senator has consistently told us we should trust the NSA.

    The "CIA computers" were part of a document production system provided by the CIA pursuant to a Senate Committee subpoena. It contained CIA documents responsive to the Senate subpoena in electronic form instead of paper copies. The document depository was run by private contractors. That's not really that unusual.

    Apparently, when the CIA found out they had turned over to the Senate Committee a CIA draft report that was particularly harmful to the CIA's position, the draft report "disappeared" from the computerised document depository. The senior Senator from California believes the CIA caused it to disappear.

    It's like erasing portions of White House tapes that had been subpoenaed a la Nixon. Just because it was done by the CIA doesn't mean it was spying, merely criminal tampering with a federal investigation. That's all.

    Trust the CIA and the NSA. They will never over-reach or break the law.

  • by slapout (93640)

    Sorry Sen Feinstein, we'd come to help you but you took all our guns away

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