The CIA Has Cleared Its Own Spies of Snooping on Senate Computers

Illustration for article titled The CIA Has Cleared Its Own Spies of Snooping on Senate Computers

Remember how the CIA was forced to admit that it had "improperly penetrated" Senate Intelligence Committee computers? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, a CIA-led investigation has cleared the agency of misdemeanour, calling the incident a 'mistake' and certainly not 'malfeasance'

The CIA's accountability board has cleared the organization of any wrongdoing over the fact that officials sifted through the files and emails of congressional investigators without permission. The board has explained that agency officials made a "mistake," adding that their actions "did not reflect malfeasance, bad faith, or the intention to gain improper access to SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] confidential, deliberative material." Obviously.

The board goes on to explain that the agency staff "acted reasonably to investigate a potential security breach," pointing out that there were no clear rules as to what process should be undertaken when the agency realised an internal report had leaked out from the organization and into Senate. Ultimately, as you may've gathered, the five decided to just search through Intelligence Committee computers.

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The findings of the board overturn the conclusions of the CIA inspector general David Buckley. Last year, he reported that the five CIA employees in question had acted "improperly." [CIA via National Journal via Verge]

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DISCUSSION

To be fair, let's say you have access to a system that can pull up information on pretty much anything you want... You want a guy named Chuck Shimer but accidentally type Chuck Shumer. As a result, you get handed stuff about a congressman. I'm not saying that's what happened in this case, but without knowing details, it is possible that they were in fact not trying to do something wrong and had merely made an error.