According to previously classified documents, the CIA under President Obama surveilled emails of some congressional staffers in an effort to “protect” the agency from whistleblowers.
Apparently, the CIA claims that the spying was part of “routine counterintelligence (CI) monitoring of government computer systems.”
The CIA inspector general Charles McCullough at the time said that the surveillance was “lawful and justified.”
However, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) saw this as an abuse of power and violation of privacy.
“The fact that the CIA under the Obama administration was reading Congressional staff’s emails about intelligence community whistleblowers raises serious policy concerns as well as potential Constitutional separation-of-powers issues that must be discussed publicly. I have been asking the same question for years: what sources or methods would be jeopardized by the declassification of these notifications?” said Grassley. “After four and a half years of bureaucratic foot-dragging, led by Directors Brennan and Clapper, we finally have the answer: none. The CIA has a vitally important function, especially when it comes to their critical counterintelligence work, but nothing—nothing—should inhibit or interfere with Congress’ constitutional job and protecting whistleblowers.”
For two years, Grassley has been trying to get the memos detailing the CIA’s surveillance activity during this time released to the public.
Obama vowed to protect the government from whistleblowers and prosecuted eight people under the 1917 Espionage Act, which is more than double the number prosecuted by all previous presidents combined.
“Critics further alleged that the administration displayed a double standard in aggressively prosecuting low-level whistleblowers while allowing high-profile, senior officials to go unpunished. For example, former Obama CIA director David Petraeus was only charged with a misdemeanor after providing his biographer and mistress notes containing “the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities, and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberate discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings and . . . the President,” and lying to FBI investigators about it,” writes the National Review.
Evidently, this also means that the CIA was instructed to use whatever means necessary to discover internal whistleblowers.
Grassley applauded new Inspector General Michael K. Atkinson’s for his quick action to release the memos.
“To assign credit where credit is due, Inspector General Atkinson and his office were responsive and engaging on something that appeared intractable if small. I thank him for his work. Since the inception of this country, blowing the whistle has played an integral role in maintaining good government. It would be unacceptable and unpatriotic to overlook any action that could dissuade responsible citizens from disclosing waste, fraud, and abuse in our government,” said Grassley.
Author’s note: This is obviously massive abuse of the CIA resources. This is front page scandal material but the liberal media will barely cover this.