It seems that President Obama has chosen sides in the fight between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee over a report describing the agency's torture program under President George W. Bush. The executive branch is standing with the CIA, standing behind its director, and even reportedly withholding documents from the Senate investigation.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein's unusual, lengthy speech from the Senate floor on Tuesday outlined the committee's view of the situation. Staffers for the committee reviewed CIA documents in a leased room in northern Virginia. They stumbled across a document drafted by the CIA that provided an internal review of the program. When an early draft of the committee's report was criticized by the CIA, the staffers realized, according to Feinstein, that the CIA's arguments conflicted with that secret internal review. So, given the CIA's track record of deleting files and destroying evidence, it took a copy of the internal review back to Capitol Hill. The CIA reviewed the staffers' work, contrary to an agreement — and contrary to the Constitution, according to Feinstein.
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The CIA also asked the Department of Justice to file charges against the staffers for taking the report. That prompted Feinstein to accuse the CIA of attempted intimidation. According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, the White House knew the request was being made and apparently didn't act to intervene.