@LO___RaineDianne Feinstein (D – California) took to the Senate floor yesterday with some hard hitting accusations against the CIA, sparking an all-out battle over an ongoing Congressional investigation into the agency’s use of interrogation tactics. Feinstein accused the CIA of hacking into committee members computers as they scored through approximately 6.2 million classified records over the past few years. She went on to say the CIA “violated the separation-of-powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution.” CIA Director, John Brennan, quickly fired back in a press conference stating, “when the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there as been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.” The committee was given access to a search engine created specifically for this inquiry. Officials said the committee gained access to a certain set of documents that the CIA never intended to share. The files in question were generated at the direction of Leon E. Panetta, former director of the CIA. They are now being referred to as the Panetta files. The heated exchange began over the exact nature of those files and how they were obtained in the first place. The issue is complicated even further as the committee draws close to releasing its 6,000 page report that is expected to expose the CIA’s use of brutal interrogation methods, including waterboarding, held at secret CIA prisons outside US soil since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The Senate committee is being accused of breaching a firewall to access the Panetta files. Feinstein, however, said the documents were “identified using the search tool provided by the CIA.” She went on to say, “We don’t know whether the documents were provided intentionally by the CIA, unintentionally by the CIA, or intentionally by a whistleblower.” The CIA referred the matter to the FBI for investigation, alleging that a crime had been committed by the Senate staff. Outraged, Feinstein described the action as a “potential effort to intimidate this staff.” There is no clear cut answer as to who is in the wrong here, or if both parties violated the law. Feinstein is moving to have portions of the committee’s report declassified for the American public. However, many Americans are now questioning Feinstein’s stance on the intelligence community. She has been an avid supporter of collecting data and monitoring phone records, as well as the drone surveillance, in the name of national security. This is definitely not over and we’re sure to hear more from both sides once the report is actually complete.
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