Rough notes below from my FNC colleague Kara Rowland:
Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Feinstein has made some pretty damning statements in her ongoing floor speech on the committee’s review of CIA’s interrogation and detention practices. The review has become controversial yet again in light of recent allegations that the agency spied on intelligence committee staffers — something Feinstein addressed and said did in fact happen.
The controversy stems from an agreement between the committee and the Agency to allow intelligence committee staffers to review millions of sensitive documents at a CIA-leased secure location in Northern Virginia so that the committee could conduct its oversight duties as part of an expanded committee review into interrogation and detention techniques. At first, intelligence staffers were faced with what Feinstein called a “true document dump” — millions of pages of documents, provided with no indexing or summary. The committee then requested that the CIA provide a search tool. Using that search tool, staffers came upon an internal Panetta review of the agency’s practices. This is important, Feinstein argues, because staffers did not hack into the agency’s network to obtain this internal study — rather, it turned up on the CIA-provided network using a CIA-provided search tool. Moreover, she argued, the internal Panetta review appeared to be based on the very documents the committee had already provided.
The CIA later conducted an authorized search of the computer network being used by intelligence staffers and removed the internal Panetta review documents, according to Feinstein. The search also included the committee’s internal network.
In its official response to the committee’s report on interrogation and detention policies, the CIA disagreed with some findings that were actually contained in the Panetta review — something Feinstein called “puzzling.” Feinstein said she was reluctant to discuss the matter and had been trying to resolve it discreetly but had no choice to come to the floor today and address the matter to refute inaccurate press reports.
Feinstein alleges that the agency’s search may violate the Constitution’s separation of powers principle, the Speech and Debate clause, the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as an executive order.
She said she sent a Jan. 23 letter demanding to know who authorized the search, among other questions. Those questions have gone unanswered, she said.