Surveillance-Defending Senator Slams Surveillance of Senate

Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Tuesday accused the CIA of interfering with the committee’s investigation into the agency’s Bush-era torture program, including conducting an unauthorized “search” of the committee’s computers and removing documents, in an effort to thwart a potentially “searing indictment” of the interrogation program.

In a statement given on the Senate floor, the democratic senator said she had “grave concerns” that the CIA’s search “may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution” as well as “the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.”

She also said the CIA was attempting “to intimidate this staff—and I am not taking it lightly.”

As Politico reported, Feinstein’s

The ACLU praised Feinstein’s efforts to call out the CIA’s surveillance and its efforts to cover up its own wrongdoing.

“After so many years of Congress being unable or unwilling to assert its authority over the CIA, Senator Feinstein today began to reclaim the authority of Congress as a check on the Executive Branch. Public release of the Senate torture report will be the next step to reining in a CIA that has tortured, destroyed evidence, spied on Congress, and lied to the American people,” stated Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel with the group.

Reprieve, a charity that represents some of those tortured under the program, welcomed the senator’s comments as well.