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NSA Supporter Dianne Feinstein Doesn’t Like When She’s Spied On

NSA Supporter Dianne Feinstein Doesn’t Like When She’s Spied On

Senator Dianne Feinstein has been one of Congress’s most outspoken supporters of government surveillance programs, yet she’s sure not a fan when federal agencies are directing their tracking at her. This week, Feinstein publicly called out the CIA for breaking laws by spying on the Senate.

According to the Democrat from California, the CIA hacked and monitored the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee members. Apparently, these legislators had access to some damning reports on U.S. torture that the CIA didn’t want them to see. Alas, Feinstein explains, some of the Senators had made their own copies of the intelligence before it mysteriously went missing from the servers.

“I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principle embodied in the the United States Constitution, including the speech and debate clause,” Feinstein said on the Senate floor. “It may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function.” She added that the CIA’s method of surveillance also likely disobeyed the Fourth Amendment.

For what it’s worth, the CIA director John Brennan denies any wrongdoing, meaning it’s too early to say definitively whether Feinstein’s allegations are true. Still, it’s hard to ignore the government’s tried-and-true blanket denial of surveillance abuse. It’s similarly hard to ignore that Feinstein’s Fourth Amendment concerns only begin when it impacts her personal computer directly.

Feinstein isn’t alone in expressing hypocritical outrage. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said, “This is Richard Nixon stuff. This is dangerous to the democracy. Heads should roll, people should go to jail if it’s true. If it is, the legislative branch should declare war on the CIA.” Previously, Graham has insisted that he’s “sure” that U.S. surveillance is limited to tracking terrorists, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

Edward Snowden, a man who some members of Congress want to try for treason after he famously leaked NSA documents, addressed the irony to NBC News. “It’s clear the CIA was trying to play ‘keep away’ with documents relevant to an investigation by their overseers in Congress, and that’s a serious constitutional concern,” Snowden commented. “But it’s equally if not more concerning that we’re seeing another ‘[Angela] Merkel Effect,’ where an elected official does not care at all that the rights of millions of ordinary citizens are violated by our spies, but suddenly it’s a scandal when a politician finds out the same thing happens to them.”

Of course, just because the legislators are hypocritical doesn’t make them wrong in this instance. If the CIA misconduct is proven true – which admittedly could be difficult given the government’s propensity for deleting such evidence – this incident is a travesty for democracy.

At the very least, it’s clear that parts of the government are routinely breaking the law; the goal is not just to “fight terrorism,” but to usurp power from other branches. While the United States was founded on the notion of transparency, it’s becoming increasingly obvious just how much goes on behind the scenes and how vulnerable democracy is if these spying programs are left unchecked.

So yes, Feinstein and colleagues should stand up against being illegally monitored by a government agency. Just don’t forget that average citizens are entitled to these same rights, as well.

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81 comments

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5:42PM PDT on Mar 22, 2014

CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff

http://truth-out.org/news/item/22614-cia-and-nsa-wrongdoing-requires-independent-investigation-says-former-church-committee-staff

This is what needs to happen. And while I doubt that it will be allowed by these agencies to really cut them off from the illegal and unconstitutional things they are getting away with, it might reveal more about how bad it is, and reveal what needs to be done.

5:01PM PDT on Mar 22, 2014

My main surprise is that the CIA was so dumb to be able to get caught!! But I bet this is one of those things that will somehow get swept under a rug in order to keep business as usual for spying on citizens.

10:52PM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

Politicians always tend to mess things-up and this is no exception!!

8:05PM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

It is so sad that we have live in a Big Brother Country, it seems what our parents and grandparents fought against in the wars was just a cover up for our so called government leaders, the U.S. is more guilty than China, Russia etc. Folks it is High Times that we the people took our government back.

10:44AM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

Feinstein is a hypocritical liar. It's perfectly ok for the government to spy on ordinary citizens, but how dare the federal government spy on her. Because she is wealthy, and in a position of power, we are not important. The arrogance of Feinstein is disturbing.

6:44AM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

A matter of choice

5:06PM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

Sen. Feinstein recently said Snowden was guilty of treason because he "violated his oath as a government employee to uphold the Constitution," reports Breitbart.com.

So wait... the Senator who is on the record as the most vicious aggressor against the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment is now accusing Snowden of violating his oath to the government? Does Feinstein have no memory of her own oath to "protect and defend" the Constitution of the United States of America?

Sen. Feinstein calling Snowden a traitor is a lot like a child rapist calling a serial flasher a pervert. Feinstein's a perfect example of hypocrisy in government; pure and simple.

4:01PM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

no politician does, but yet they do it to normal people, nobody that supports the NSA should be in the government anymore. They should all lose their jobs

3:16PM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

aww...karma is a bitch.

10:01AM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

The nsa has always been spying on the US citizens (its easier than spying on foreign people)
The nsa has no place in todays society in fact in the last 30 years as long as I've been associated in govt. they have “NEVER STOPPED ANY ATTACKS OR EVEN PERCEIVED ATTACKS”. they basicltyy concentrated on listening to phone calls..that's why the US govt is pushing for the digital phone line in every house (NOTT THE COOPER LINED PHONES) anything digital or internet based is easy to track, hack into and trace.
The nsa latterly has to be stopped at all cost or just don't do anything you don't want to see on the front page some day.

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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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