Just who was caught, and who has already been captured? (Hint: every compromised elected official with a past, a cell phone, and a computer)
When even Rachel Maddow, who normally makes me cringe because she is normally such a shill for the Obama Administration and the Democrats, calls the spying scandal "the death of the Republic stuff," you know this is pretty serious stuff.
“The whole separation of powers thing almost pales in comparison to the seriousness of the allegation that a nation’s own spy services have been turned against its own government. Particularly, where that government is supposed to be overseeing the spy services," said MSNBC's Maddow this week.
The news that the CIA monitored members of the Senate Oversight Committee, who are supposedly overseeing the CIA, is rendered even more shocking with the further revelation that those doing the spying were outsourced independent contractors. Talk about the chicken of privatization coming home to roost!
But wait, it gets even worse. Kevin Gosztola reports, via Time, that Obama's Justice Department is now investigating the Senate staffers who had the nerve to look at CIA torture documents and possibly remove evidence of CIA crimes from the permitted premises! And here we are, fretting about the coup in Ukraine when there's a coup in the USA going on under our very noses.
McClatchey News Service, in breaking the original story, explained that the spying on the overseers revolves around the long-delayed release of a Senate report on torture and other abuses during the Bush Administration. Confirmation of John Brennan as CIA director last year was predicated upon his promise to release the report pending his agency's own perusal of it. That was a year ago. So either the spies are very slow readers, or they've got "stuff" they want to hide. Of course, Brennan's name is most likely in the report at frequent intervals, seeing how he'd also worked for Bush. He has long claimed to have known nothing about Bush era war crimes.
Brennan had originally been Obama's pick to direct the CIA in his first administration, but had to withdraw the nomination because the country was still reeling from Bush. Instead Obama appointed him his national security advisor, and together they devised the "Terror Tuesday" lists of pre-criminals to kill by drone. By the time the second term began, abuses by Obama had become acceptable to the polled majority of his "liberal supporters". Better to have a Killer Obama than a Killer Romney, doncha know. Rachel Maddow certainly never characterized Obama's various rampages against the Constitution as potential "death of the Republic stuff" in any case.
The development marks an unprecedented breakdown in relations between the CIA and its congressional overseers amid an extraordinary closed-door battle over the 6,300-page report on the agency’s use of waterboarding and harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists held in secret overseas prisons. The report is said to be a searing indictment of the program. The CIA has disputed some of the report's findings.
White House officials have closely tracked the bitter struggle, a McClatchy investigation has found. But they haven’t directly intervened, perhaps because they are embroiled in their own feud with the committee, resisting surrendering top-secret documents that the CIA asserted were covered by executive privilege and sent to the White House.
In question now is whether any part of the committee’s report, which took some four years to compose and cost $40 million, will ever see the light of day.
The report details how the CIA misled the Bush administration and Congress about the use of interrogation techniques that many experts consider torture, according to public statements by committee members. It also shows, members have said, how the techniques didn’t provide the intelligence that led the CIA to the hideout in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was killed in a 2011 raid by Navy SEALs.
The committee determined earlier this year that the CIA monitored computers – in possible violation of an agreement against doing so – that the agency had provided to intelligence committee staff in a secure room at CIA headquarters that the agency insisted they use to review millions of pages of top-secret reports, cables and other documents, according to people with knowledge.As Dan Froomkin of The Intercept reports, senators are not so much demanding to know what the hell is going on, as they are reduced to issuing a plaintive cry for help:
In a letter to President Obama on Tuesday, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) referred to what he called “unprecedented action against the Committee in relation to the internal CIA review,” and described it as “incredibly troubling for the Committee’s oversight responsibilities and for our democracy.”
The allegation comes on the heels of a fruitless quest by members of the House and Senate to get NSA officials to confirm or deny whether information on phone calls by members of Congress has been swept up in the agency’s metadata dragnet. (Since it’s so indiscriminate, presumably they have, but the NSA won’t say so.)Luckily for Obama, he is so embroiled in Ukraine-o-Mania, itself probably spawned by a CIA coup, that his non-answer to Udall has not yet been called into question.
This "death of the Republic stuff" is so extreme that I think it's also fair to ask, again, exactly what the president's function in our country really is. We all knew that he was the factotum of Wall Street, but does he also pledge his primary allegiance to the CIA? It has been confirmed that upon graduating Columbia, Obama worked for a CIA front group and had previously spent time traveling through Pakistan on an extended tour, "visiting friends." Such extreme conspiracy theorists as Alex Jones have long accused the president of being a CIA plant. You have to wonder if there's the tiniest grain of truth in any of this, given the president's apparent disinclination to order that torture report released. Or is this just another example of egregiously misplaced loyalty? Maybe he's just trying to protect his pal John Brennan.
But more likely, he's probably protecting his own rear end against the day another report is written on his own tortuous tenure of forced Gitmo feedings, continued extraordinary renditions of "terrorists," drone killings, whistleblowing prosecutions and his paranoid Insider Threat program, bankster protections, and unprecedented secrecy. He gave Bush a pass, so he expects Hillary or Jeb to continue the fine old pardoning tradition handed down for generations, and give him a free pass, too.
Sounds like the first order of business is to repeal the Patriot Act, if we have even a prayer of wresting what's left of our "representative democracy" from the hands of the surveillance state. Sounds like just the re-election litmus test for our corrupt, complicit and compromised politicians. I am waiting for the first brave soul willing to fight back instead of helplessly whining, to risk exposure for some past crime or embarrassment in order to save the moribund Republic stuff from itself.