In a moment of blatant and astounding hypocrisy, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair and a staunch supporter of the government spying on, well, pretty much everyone, had a hissy fit this morning because she believes the CIA may have spied on a congressional computer network.
Feinstein rambled on for over 40 minutes and had the nerve to say the CIA may have broken the law and violated the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution by searching the network.
Funny, Feinstein sure hasn’t had a problem with the government ignoring the Constitution when spying on American and foreign citizens. Just last month, she defended government surveillance:
“What keeps me up at night, candidly, is another attack against the United States. And I see enough of the threat stream to know that is possible. But the way we prevent another attack – and this is tricky – is intelligence. You have to know what’s going to happen, because it’s too late otherwise.”
There are all kinds of things that are going on. And for some reason, the fear of our government for a bonafide reason, which is to prevent a terrorist attack, raising this kind of concern, when there are only 22 people in our country who have access to this database and every one of them is vetted.”
During her speech this morning, Feinstein expressed disbelief over the CIA’s alleged spying on Congress:
“The CIA just went and searched the committee’s computers,” Feinstein said, breathlessly.
Yeah, we know the feeling, lady. It’s sort of shocking and disconcerting to find out your privacy is being unlawfully invaded, isn’t it? Makes you feel uneasy and a bit violated, doesn’t it?
Feinstein’s hypocrisy did not go unnoticed by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who exposed the NSA’s mass surveillance program last year. In a statement to NBC News, he shared his thoughts on Feinstein’s outrage:
“It’s clear the CIA was trying to play ‘keep away’ with documents relevant to an investigation by their overseers in Congress, and that’s a serious constitutional concern. But it’s equally if not more concerning that we’re seeing another ‘Merkel Effect,’ where an elected official does not care at all that the rights of millions of ordinary citizens are violated by our spies, but suddenly it’s a scandal when a politician finds out the same thing happens to them.”
Here is the background on the story, as summarized by NBC News:
The search came as the committee was investigating the CIA’s use of secret detention and enhanced interrogation during the Bush administration, including waterboarding, which President Obama has referred to as torture.
At issue is an internal review of the detention and interrogation program ordered by Leon Panetta, who was director of the agency from 2009 to 2011. Feinstein says the committee obtained the review from the CIA because it was provided as part of a searchable database of documents. The CIA has alleged that the committee may have obtained that document illegally.
CIA director John Brennan denies that the agency spied on the committee or the Senate.
Feinstein denies that the committee hacked into CIA computers to obtain documents.
CNN reports that an investigation into the allegations from both sides may be launched:
The Justice Department is looking at whether to launch an investigation of the matter involving the committee’s review of millions of documents at a Virginia facility and counterclaims by the CIA about Intelligence Committee staffers gaining access to things they shouldn’t have seen.
Karma is a bitch, isn’t it, Dianne?
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