Monday, May 14, 2018

Susan Hennessey of Lawfare says one must "trust" the US "intelligence community" or they won't deal with you. Why should anyone "trust" Ms. Hennessey if she can't bother reading about illegal acts of the intel "community" in NY Times and Washington Post?: 7/31/2014, NY Times Editorial Board: "The CIA's Reckless Breach of Trust." And, 7/31/2014 Washington Post cites crimes of CIA's John Brennan and DNI James Clapper and that neither was disciplined by Obama

May 9, 2018, Lawfare’s executive director Susan Hennessey said: “The intelligence oversight system is based on trust. Without trust it is irretrievably broken. The [Intelligence Community] and [Department of Justice] don’t trust Nunes and he cannot perform his job functions.””…The Deep State Mob Targets Nunes,American Greatness, Julie Kelly.

Ms. Hennessey apparently missed news about “reckless breach of trust” by the CIA, which "does not seem to understand the most fundamental concept of separation of powers. That concept means that Congress is supposed to oversee the intelligence community and rein in its excesses." The NY Times Editorial Board concludes:Its very core, and basic culture, needs a thorough overhaul.”    
NY  Times and Washington Post in July 2014 react to shocking breach of trust by CIA director John Brennan in hacking US Senate computers and lying about it: 
NY  Times Editorial Board: 7/31/2014, The C.I.A.’s Reckless Breach of Trust,” NY Times Editorial Board

It’s not just two senators that the C.I.A. has offended by this shocking action. It is all of Congress and, by extension, the American public, which is paying for an intelligence agency that does not seem to understand the most fundamental concept of separation of powers. That concept means that Congress is supposed to oversee the intelligence community and rein in its excesses….The C.I.A. needs far more than a few quiet personnel changes, however. Its very core, and basic culture, needs a thorough overhaul.”     


Added: Ms. Hennessey, Washington Post cites “intelligence community” illegal acts of both Brennan and Clapper: Obama did not discipline Brennan or Clapper for their crimes in any way.Five [CIA] agency employees–two lawyers and three computer specialistssurreptitiously searched Senate Intelligence Committee files and reviewed some committee staff members’ e-mail.”...And last year [2013], Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied under oath to Congress.”

7/31/2014, Obama should fire John Brennan, Washington Post, James Downie, Digital Opinions Editor

In March, at the Council on Foreign Relations, CIA Director John Brennan was asked by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell whether the CIA had illegally accessed Senate Intelligence Committee staff computers “to thwart an investigation by the committee into” the agency’s past interrogation techniques. The accusation had been made earlier that day by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who said the CIA had “violated the separation-of-powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution.” Brennan answered: 

As far as the allegations of, you know, CIA hacking into, you know, Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. I mean, we wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s — that’s just beyond the — you know, the scope of reason in terms of what we would do. {…}

And, you know, when the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.”…

Now we know that the truth was far different. The Post’s Greg Miller reports:… 

Five [CIA] agency employees–two lawyers and three computer specialists--surreptitiously searched Senate Intelligence Committee files and reviewed some committee staff members’ e-mail on computers that were supposed to be exclusively for congressional investigators, according to a summary of the CIA inspector general’s report, released Thursday….

CIA Director John O. Brennan has apologized to leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee [Feinstein and Chambliss] after an agency investigation determined that its employees improperly searched computers used by committee staff to review classified files on interrogations of prisoners. {…}

A statement released by the CIA on Tuesday acknowledged that agency employees had searched areas of that computer network that were supposed to be accessible only to committee investigators. Agency employees were attempting to discover how congressional aides had obtained a secret CIA internal report on the interrogation program. 

“Some employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached” between the CIA and lawmakers in 2009, when the committee investigation was launched, according to the agency statement, which cited a review by the CIA’s inspector general. The CIA statement was first reported by McClatchy. 

That committee’s investigation is said to be sharply critical of the CIA, finding that it exaggerated the effectiveness of harsh interrogation measures and repeatedly misled members of Congress and the executive branch. The findings are expected to be released publicly within weeks.

After briefing committee leaders, Brennan “apologized to them [Feinstein and Chambliss] for such actions by CIA officers as described in the [inspector general] report,” the agency statement said. Brennan also ordered the creation of an internal personnel board, led by former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), to review the agency employees’ conduct and determine “potential disciplinary measures.”” 

An apology and an internal review board might suffice if this were Brennan or intelligence leaders’ first offense, but the track record is far from spotless. In 2011, Brennan claimed that dozens of U.S. drone strikes on overseas targets had not killed a single civilian.

This remarkable success rate was not only disputed at the time by news reports — even supporters of the drone program called it “absurd” — but as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the New York Times both reported later, President Obama received reports from the very beginning of his presidency about drone strikes killing numerous civilians. As Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser at the time, Brennan would have received these reports as well, so either Brennan knew that his claim was a lie, or he is secretly deaf. 

Similarly, Brennan denied snooping on Senate computers six weeks after Feinstein first made the accusation to the CIA in private, which means either that he was lying, or he had ignored a serious charge against his agency for six weeks, then spouted off about it without any real knowledge — hardly the behavior expected of an agency director.

And last year [2013], Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied under oath to Congress when he told Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and the Senate Intelligence Committee that the National Security Agency did not collect any kind of data on millions of Americans, a claim later disproved by documents leaked by former NSA employee Edward Snowden. Despite Clapper receiving criticism from both sides of the aisle, the damage to Clapper’s and the White House’s credibility on intelligence and civil liberties issues and, well, the fact that lying to Congress is a crime (though one that’s difficult to prosecute), Obama has not disciplined Clapper in any way.

Sadly, it’s unlikely that this latest incident will encourage Obama to finally induce some accountability in the intelligence community: White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the CIA’s illegal activities mere “misunderstandings.” But as Brennan said when he denied the allegations, “if I did something wrong…he is the one who can ask me to stay or to go.” It’s time for Obama to take that responsibility head-on and start to restore in U.S. intelligence agencies some semblance of responsibility to the Constitution and the public."


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