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Senate vs CIA On Intel And Torture

Senator Dianne Feinstein accuses the CIA of spying on the Senate. We’ll look at her fight over the reach and record of American intelligence.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. leaves the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 11, 2014, after saying that the CIA's improper search of a stand-alone computer network established for Congress has been referred to the Justice Department. The issue stems from the investigation into allegations of CIA abuse in a Bush-era detention and interrogation program.  (AP)

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. leaves the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 11, 2014, after saying that the CIA’s improper search of a stand-alone computer network established for Congress has been referred to the Justice Department. The issue stems from the investigation into allegations of CIA abuse in a Bush-era detention and interrogation program. (AP)

Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has defended the U.S. intelligence establishment through thick and thin, even when things looked pretty bad.  She’s defended N.S.A. mass surveillance.  Called Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing “an act of treason.”  But this week, it is Senator Feinstein unloading on the C.I.A.  Charging the C.I.A. has spied on the Senate to keep torture charges out of view.  Charging that this intelligence agency has breached the separation of powers.  Serious charges.  The C.I.A. is punching back.  This hour On Point:  the C.I.A. and Senate Intelligence Committee go to war.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Mark Mazzetti, national security correspondent for the New York Times. Author of “The Way of the Knife: The C.I.A., A Secret Army and a War At the Ends of the Earth.”  (@MarkMazzettiNYT)

Kim Zetter, senior reporter for Wired magazine, covering cyber-crime, privacy, security and civil liberties. (@KimZetter)

Josh Gerstein, senior White House reporter for POLITICO. (@joshgerstein)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: C.I.A. Employees Face New Inquiry Amid Clashes on Detention Program — “The events have elevated the protracted battle — which began as a fight over who writes the history of the program, perhaps the most controversial aspect of the American government’s response to the Sept. 11 attacks — into a bitter standoff that in essence is a dispute over the separation of powers and congressional oversight of spy agencies.”

POLITICO: Dianne Feinstein’s CIA charge scrambles Senate — “Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bombshell accusation about the Central Intelligence Agency Tuesday set off a scramble on Capitol Hill — with Democrats and Republicans ignoring the usual party lines in response to her claim that the agency improperly interfered in a congressional investigation. Feinstein (D-Calif.) won immediate backing from top Democrats like Majority Leader Harry Reid and Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy while some Republicans, including Lindsey Graham and John McCain, began to echo her concerns.”

The Wall Street Journal: Senate-CIA Dispute Erupts Into a Public Brawl — “Nonetheless, the harsh critique was all the more stinging because it came from a Democratic leader and pro-intelligence lawmaker who is usually an ally of the CIA.It came as the latest blow in an expanding round of criticism of U.S. spy agencies, following last year’s controversies over the CIA’s drone program and a former contractor’s revelations of extensive National Security Agency surveillance of Americans’ phone data. Tuesday’s exchange reflects the extent to which spy agencies have found themselves on the defensive just three years after one of their greatest victories—the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden.”

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