By Daniel McAdams
CIA director John Brennan lost his cool at Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-OR) in a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee today when the Oregon Senator suggested the spy chief should apologize for spying on the Senate.
The event in question took place back in 2014. The Senate was investigating CIA torture activities and Brennan's operatives, as his own CIA Inspector General concluded, gained "improper access" to Senate computers with the intent of snooping on the investigation.
Today Wyden pointed out to Brennan that the use of a secret Executive Branch agency to undermine the Constitutional oversight obligations of the Legislative Branch was deeply damaging to the rule of law in the United States:
When you're talking about spying on a committee responsible for overseeing your agency, in my view, that undermines the very checks-and-balances that protect our democracy and it's unacceptable in a free society.
Brennan was nonplussed, clearly not interested in having the issue revisited. “This is the annual threat assessment, is it not?” he snapped at Wyden.
When it was first suspected that Brennan's CIA had penetrated the Senate investigation's computers he lied, denying everything. When the CIA snoop was confirmed, he held firm that the Agency had done nothing wrong. It was only the Inspector General's report that federal laws may have been broken that prompted Brennan to draft, then rip up, an apology letter to the Senate. He is reported to have apologized verbally in person to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Diane Feinstein (D-CA).
Sen. Wyden didn't get very far with Brennan today, as after a couple of rounds of verbal sparring his time had expired and the issue was dropped. This is how the government investigates itself and were it not for just one or two Wydens in all of government we likely would not even know about it. Expecting something to be done about it is another issue entirely. Spy on, Brennan, no one's going to bother you!
This article was originally published at The Ron Paul Institute.