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FLASHBACK: John Brennan Admits CIA Hacked Senate Computers To Spy


Do you remember this?

I bet not.

I sure didn’t.

It’s an old story from 2014 that is resurfacing now because….well, isn’t it obvious?

It really sheds new light on the whole Spygate situation, doesn’t it?

Do you remember when President Trump said they “tapped his wires”?

Everyone laughed.

What a buffoon, they exclaimed!

What a doofus!

Except….he turned out to be right.

And now many are remembering what happened in 2014 and connecting the dots.

If the CIA admitted to hacking Senate computers to spy back in 2014, do you think they suddenly stopped doing it?

Or do you think they turned that apparatus on President Trump the moment he won the Republican Nomination?

Remember this?


Here's a report from The Hill from back in 2014:

CIA officials improperly hacked the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers as staffers compiled a report on “enhanced interrogation” techniques, the spy agency’s inspector general has concluded.

In a statement shared with The Hill, CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said the internal watchdog determined “that some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding” between the agency and the committee about access to the network they used to share documents. 

CIA chief John Brennan told Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) about the findings “and apologized to them for such actions by CIA officers,” Boyd added.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), a member of the committee, quickly retortedon Twitter that the watchdog’s report “shows John Brennan misled [the] public, whose interests I have championed."

“I will fight for change at the CIA,” he added. 

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), another member of the panel, called for Brennan to publicly apologize and give “a full accounting of how this occurred and a commitment there will be no further attempts to undermine congressional oversight of CIA activities,” he said in a statement.

The admission is a stunning turn of events in the standoff between the two bodies and directly contradicts Brennan’s earlier claims that the agency would never snoop on the committee’s computers.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Brennan said in March, soon after Feinstein raised allegations that CIA operatives had been unconstitutionally prying on her panel’s work. “We wouldn’t do that. That’s just beyond the scope of reason in terms of what we’d do.” 

Feinstein claimed at the time that operatives had accessed a computer network established in 2009 for committee staff to review classified CIA materials related to the agency’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques, such as waterboarding. Those interrogation methods were authorized during the Bush administration but have since been prohibited. 

The documents were used to produce a classified 6,300-page study that reportedly shows the techniques were conducted more harshly and more commonly than was previously understood. The executive summary of the report is now being redacted for release to the public, possibly as soon as next month.

Feinstein on Thursday said that the search of her staff’s computers was “in violation of the constitutional separation of powers,” though she declined to pin the blame on Brennan.

“Director Brennan apologized for these actions and submitted the IG [inspector general’s] report to an accountability board,” she said in a brief statement. “These are positive first steps. This IG report corrects the record and it is my understanding that a declassified report will be made available to the public shortly.”

An unclassified summary of the inspector general’s report released on Thursday claimed that the five CIA employees – two lawyers and three information technology staffers – “improperly accesses or caused access” to the shared network.

It also alleged that the three IT staffers “demonstrated a lack of candor about their activities” in interviews with the agency watchdog.

Tensions over the interrogations report have strained relations between the Senate panel and the CIA. Earlier this month, the Justice Department declined to take up criminal charges on either Feinstein’s charges or a rebuttal from the CIA that Senate staffers had improperly taken classified documents from a secure Virginia facility.

Even NBC exposed the story:

CIA Director John Brennan has privately apologized to Senate Intelligence Committee leaders now that the spy agency's inspector general has found that its employees did act improperly when searching Senate computers earlier this year.

The Agency said in a statement on Thursday that Brennan has commissioned an accountability board that will investigate the conduct of the CIA officers and discipline them, if need be. It will be chaired by former Indiana governor, senator and intelligence committee member Evan Bayh, who retired from office in 2011.

The Justice Department has so far declined to pursue criminal charges against the employees, who searched the computers for information gathered in the course of a Senate investigation into the CIA's interrogation techniques.

The CIA inspector general concluded "that some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between" the committee and the CIA in 2009 regarding access to a shared classified computer network, the Agency said in a statement to NBC News.

A declassified summary of the report, obtained by NBC News, said that "five Agency employees, two attorneys and three information technology staff members, improperly accessed or caused access to the SSCI (Senate intel committee) majority staff shared drives on the RDINet (Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation network)."

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, said Thursday that she first heard the results of the IG's probe on Tuesday. "The investigation confirmed what I said on the Senate floor in March — CIA personnel inappropriately searched Senate Intelligence Committee computers in violation of an agreement we had reached, and, I believe, in violation of the constitutional separation of powers.

"Director Brennan apologized for these actions and submitted the IG report to an accountability board. These are positive first steps. This IG report corrects the record and it is my understanding that a declassified report will be made available to the public shortly."

Politico covered Brennan's apology tour:

Last July, CIA Director John Brennan nearly apologized to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and ranking member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) in a letter for the CIA’s hacking into the computer network of committee staffers, according to a new report from VICE News. 

VICE News, which had filed a joint Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the CIA with Ryan Shapiro, an MIT researcher, obtained more than 300 pages of documents related to its pursuit of materials related to charges that the agency had spied on the Intelligence Committee and hacked into its network. The agency also withheld thousands of pages, citing “nearly every exemption under FOIA,” wrote reporter Jason Leopold. 

But for the CIA, there was just one problem: Apparently Brennan’s draft letter was not meant to be released. 

“After VICE News received the documents, the CIA contacted us and said Brennan’s draft letter had been released by mistake. The agency asked that we refrain from posting it,” Leopold reported. “We declined the CIA’s request.” 

In the draft letter to Chambliss dated July 28, 2014, which was obtained by VICE News and published Wednesday, Brennan was writing 10 days after a memo from CIA Inspector General David Buckley, whose office reported that the agency employees who broke into the Senate network to see if the committee had any CIA documents it wasn’t supposed to have, may have broken federal laws. 

“I recently received a briefing on the IG’s findings, and want to inform you that the investigation found support for your concern that CIA staff had improperly accessed the SSCI shared drive on the RDINet when conducting a limited search for CIA privileged documents,” Brennan wrote, according to the document. 

“In particular, the OIG judged that Agency officers’ access to the SSCI shared drive was inconsistent with the common understanding reached in 2009 between the Committee and the Agency regarding access to RDINet. Consequently, I apologize for the actions of CIA officers,” he added, expressing a commitment to fix “the shortcomings that this report has revealed.” 

According to the report, however, Brennan did not sign or send the letter. The letter that Brennan ultimately sent did not make any reference to an apology. 

Brennan did apologize to Feinstein and Chambliss during a briefing about the OIG’s report. Members of the committee told VICE that was unacceptable, however, because it was not part of a written record. According to the report, committee members told reporters that Brennan should have apologized to them as well and to the staffers implicated by the CIA. 

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