CIA Secretly Breaking the Law with Impunity Again

Apparently, the Jan Schakowsky’s House Subcommittee completed its investigations of all the times the CIA failed to inform the Gang of Eight about covert ops and in other ways broke the law. Apparently, that investigation found “several instances” where CIA failed for follow the law procedures. But you can’t know precisely what those violations are, because they’re secret.

Here’s Silvestre Reyes’ statement on the investigation.

Today, the Committee officially completed its investigation into the congressional notification practices of the Intelligence Community by voting to adopt a final report presented by Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Jan Schakowsky.

In its investigation, the Committee examined sixteen specific instances, spanning three Administrations, in which the Community did not provide Congress with complete, timely, and accurate information about intelligence activities. The Committee also examined federal law and regulations concerning the provision of information about intelligence activities to Congress; congressional notification policies, practices, and procedures across the Intelligence Community; and whether those contributed to any past notification failures.

The findings, I believe, are impressive and eye-opening. The report details the facts uncovered by the investigation in a thorough and even-handed manner. Its analysis is careful and well-founded. Its conclusions and recommendations are reasonable. I commend Ms. Schakowsky and her staff for their excellent work.

Given the sensitive nature of the investigation’s core issues, the content of the report is classified. I can say, though, that in several specific instances, certain individuals did not adhere to the high standards set forth by the Intelligence Community and its agencies. It’s the Committee’s aim to have these standards implemented on an official level, through policy, procedure, or law.

I am pleased to note that several of the recommendations contained in this report, including Gang of Eight reform, were largely enacted back in October when the President signed the FY2010 Intelligence Authorization Act into law.

Finally, let me emphasize that the Committee supports the efforts of the intelligence workforce in its difficult mission to keep America safe. And, while there may be differences of opinion with respect to specific findings, I think that all members can agree that the Committee must be kept fully and currently informed of significant intelligence activities in order to assist the Intelligence Community and keep them well-resourced. [my emphasis]

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

  1. BoxTurtle says:

    CIA Secretly Breaking the Law with Impunity Still

    Corrected title.

    Boxturtle (How many black helicopters pass over your house on an average day, anyway?)

      • BoxTurtle says:

        They’re fuschia

        Yet another war crime by that SOB!

        I wonder why congress is taking this so calmly. Either they approve of the actions in which case no announcement should be made or they should feel lied to and be writing sternly worded letters.

        Boxturtle (A skyfull of heavily armed fuschia helicpters…who needs acid!)

  2. emptywheel says:

    I suspect they used this report as leverage over POTUS to give them what they want–further review powers. Now that they got that there’s no need to share the ugly details with the proles.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Maybe thats what we progressives are doing wrong. We try to negoiate with ObamaLLP and they use blackmail.

      Boxturtle (Attn Mods: Not sayin’ nuthin, just sayin’)

  3. MadDog says:

    …In its investigation, the Committee examined sixteen specific instances, spanning three Administrations…

    Two Democratic and one Repug, or more likely two Repug and one Democratic?

    Not that we proles have a right need to know.

    • MadDog says:

      …the Committee examined sixteen specific instances…

      Later in Reye’s statement (2 page PDF):

      …The investigation examined several issues, including the program discussed during Director Panetta’s June 24th, 2009, notification and whether there was any past decision or direction to withhold information from the Committee. The Committee also investigated Intelligence Community actions with regard to the destruction of interrogation videotapes, CIA involvement in the downing of a missionary plane in Peru, National Security Agency compliance issues, and several other classified matters…

      4 out of 16?

  4. MadDog says:

    OT – Via the ACLU Blog:

    I was in Geneva when word leaked out that George Bush’s memoir contained a passage in which he said, “Damn right!” he’d approved the torture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — who, as we know, was waterboarded 183 times at the CIA’s secret prison in Poland in the spring of 2003


    …During the three-hour UPR session, State Department legal advisor Harold Koh assured the assembled nations that the United States was committed to abiding by the ban on torture and inhumane treatment — which explicitly requires nations to carry out criminal investigations of torture allegations, prosecute perpetrators, and make reparations to victims — and stated flatly, “Nothwitstanding recent public allegations, to our knowledge, all credible allegations of detainee abuse by United States forces have been thoroughly investigated and appropriate corrective action has been taken…”


    …At a press conference that afternoon, with Bush’s admission hanging in the air, reporters from around the world raised the most obvious: Does that mean the United States is still considering legal investigations and federal prosecutions of those who gave the green light for the torture of “high value detainees” in secret CIA prisons?…


    …So would the U.S. consider prosecuting those who ordered and approved waterboarding? Again Koh pointed to Durham’s investigation, saying specifically “the Attorney General has referred this very issue” to the Special Prosecutor. “Those investigations are ongoing. The question is not whether they would consider it; those discussions are going on right now…”


    …Now, in Geneva, Koh was offering the international media the scintillating suggestion that Durham was authorized to look beyond the so-called “improvised techniques” to the use of the enhanced interrogation techniques themselves, waterboarding in particular, which the Obama administration acknowledges is torture…

    I still recommend not holding one’s breath.

  5. watercarrier4diogenes says:

    How about the Lame Drek Congress approach a law eliminating the Statute of Limitations for torture…

    Mad Dog revisited: “I still recommend not holding one’s breath.”

    • MadDog says:

      Though the thought is enticing, the idea probably has no legal footing because it would be an example of an Ex Post Facto law (IANAL, so legal eagles jump right in if you disagree).

  6. MadDog says:

    More OT – via John Cole from a Rolling Stone Roundtable between Matt Taibbi and David Gergen:

    …Taibbi: So if we put people in jail for committing fraud during the mortgage bubble, we’re endangering our ability to win over the CEOs? Obama should have made sure that there are consequences for people who committed crimes. Instead, he pursued a policy of nonaction, and that left him vulnerable with ordinary people who wanted an explanation for why the economy went off the cliff.

    Gergen: I don’t think his problem is he hasn’t put enough people in jail. I agree that when people commit fraud, they ought to spend some time in the slammer. But there’s a tendency in today’s Democratic Party to turn away from someone like Bob Rubin because of his time at Citigroup. I served with him during the Clinton administration, when the country added 22 million new jobs, and Bob Rubin was right at the center of that. He was an invaluable adviser to the president, and he is now arguing that one of the reasons this economy is not coming back is that the business community is sitting on money because of the hostility they feel coming from Washington.

    Taibbi: I’m sorry, but Bob Rubin is exactly what I’m talking about. Under Clinton, he pushed this enormous remaking of the rules for Wall Street specifically so the Citigroup merger could go through, then he went to work for Citigroup and made $120 million over the next 10 years. He helped push through the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which deregulated the derivatives market and created the mortgage bubble. Then Obama brings him back into the government during the transition and surrounds himself with people who are close to Bob Rubin. That’s exactly the wrong message to be sending to ordinary voters: that we’re bringing back this same crew of Wall Street-friendly guys who screwed up and got us in this mess in the first place.

    Gergen: That sentiment is exactly what the business community objects to.

    Taibbi: Fuck the business community!

    Gergen: Fuck the business community? That’s what you said? That’s the very attitude the business community feels is coming from many Democrats in Washington, including some in the White House. There’s a good reason why they feel many Democrats are hostile — because they are.

    Taibbi: It’s hard to see how this administration is hostile to business when the guy it turns to for economic advice is the same guy who pushed through a merger and then went right off and made $120 million from a decision that helped wreck the entire economy…

    Gotta admit that like John Cole: “I Would Pay Cash Money To See The Look on Gergen’s Face.”

  7. Jeff Kaye says:

    The findings, I believe, are impressive and eye-opening.

    Too bad the American people’s eyes are kept shut, the better not to know the truth.

    The Reyes’ statement is bullshit. Meaningless. Investigations that cannot be shared with the American people… not even a redacted report…

    Eyes wide shut.

  8. timbo says:

    It’s about retaining power for the Congress? Not sure how that’s going to work if no one faces any significant consequences for not providing timely reports to the Congress on all the law-breaking going on in the Intelligence community…