CIA Lashes Out at Senate Staffers it Says Mishandled Classified Info

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McClatchy has an update to yesterday’s story about the CIA monitoring Senate staffers who were investigating the CIA’s detention and torture practices. Apparently, long after their report was complete and the CIA had already responded, the Senate staffers were trawling through a CIA database and ran across an internal review ordered by former CIA Director Leon Panetta of previously released materials. The staffers concluded that the Panetta review confirmed their findings, even though the official CIA response had strongly disputed them:

The aides printed the material, walked out of CIA headquarters with it and took it to Capitol Hill, said the knowledgeable person.

….The CIA discovered the security breach and brought it to the committee’s attention in January, leading to a determination that the agency recorded the staffers’ use of the computers in the high-security research room, and then confirmed the breach by reviewing the usage data, said the knowledgeable person.

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., a member of the Intelligence Committee who has led calls for the release of the report, disclosed at a hearing in December the existence of the Panetta review without saying how the committee had learned of it. He contended that the review broadly corroborated the committee’s findings and questioned why it was dramatically different from the CIA’s official response.

Roughly speaking, Senate staffers say their actions were justified because they had evidence the CIA was lying to them. The CIA says its actions were justified because Senate staffers were removing top secret materials that weren’t supposed to leave the secure room they were working in.

In the meantime, the 6,300-page report itself is still in limbo, with the CIA fighting tooth and nail to prevent it from being released. But maybe it’s time for the report and the internal review and the CIA response and everything else to be published so the American public can decide for itself what it thinks of all this? We’re the ones paying the bills, after all.

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