Glenn Reynolds: ‘It’s not surprising that in such an atmosphere, CIA operatives would feel comfortable snooping on the Senate’

CIA-Feinstein

CIA director nominee John Brennan and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Photo: Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images)

CIA responded to Obama’s acquiescence when it spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Public Servants Acting as Public Masters

For USAToday, Glenn Reynolds writes: “Nothing could be further from the truth. I mean, we wouldn’t do that.” That was CIA Director John Brennan’s answer in March when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., charged the CIA with breaking into computers used by Senate investigators looking into CIA misconduct.

“Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that people respond to incentives.”

It turns out that the CIA would do that — and, in fact, had done so. Brennan’s reassurances were false, and CIA spooks had been hacking into the committee investigators’ computers looking for documents they thought the investigators shouldn’t have, violating a promise not to. So, first Brennan broke a promise. new-schoolThen, he either lied, or showed that he doesn’t control his own agency, which in many ways would be worse.

[Glenn Reynolds‘ book The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself is available at Amazon]

Brennan has apologized, but his apology won’t be the end of things. We’re already seeing bipartisan calls for his removal, from Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colo., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. The White House is hanging toughso far, but we’re now hearing comparisons made to the speed with which Brennan’s predecessor, Gen. David Petraeuswas cut loose over an extramarital affair. Does this mean that the White House views spying on, and lying to, members of Congress as less serious than an affair?

The answer to that, alas, is probably “yes.” Contempt for Congress, and for separation of powers and historical understandings about the roles of the executive and legislative branches, has been a hallmark of the Obama administration. It’s not surprising that in such an atmosphere, CIA operatives would feel comfortable snooping on the Senate, and that a CIA director would feel confident issuing blanket denials when questioned.

And what’s the worst that’s likely to happen to Brennan? …(read more)

USAToday

Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor, is the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself.


2 Comments on “Glenn Reynolds: ‘It’s not surprising that in such an atmosphere, CIA operatives would feel comfortable snooping on the Senate’”

  1. […] By Pundit from another Planet CIA responded to Obama’s acquiescence when it spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Public Servants Acting as Public Masters For USAToday, Glenn Reynolds writes: “Nothing could be further from the truth. I mean, we wouldn’t do that.” That was CIA Director John Brennan’s answer in March when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., charged the CIA with breaking into computers […] Like this? Read more and get your own subscription at […]

  2. […] Glenn Reynolds: ‘It’s not surprising that in such an atmosphere, CIA operatives would fe… (punditfromanotherplanet.com) […]


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