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CIA Spies on Senate
The Dangers of Obama's Intel Mismanagement

After months of vehemently denying any wrongdoing, CIA chief John Brennan officially apologized to Senate Foreign Relations Intelligence Committee leaders for breaking into its computers. The breach involved two lawyers and three technology specialists accessing a secure Senate database and searching staff members’ emails.

McClatchy reported that within the CIA, there was still a sense that nothing illegal had transpired:

A person with knowledge of the issue insisted that the CIA personnel who improperly accessed the database “acted in good faith,” believing that they were empowered to do so because they believed there had been a security violation.

“There was no malicious intent. They acted in good faith believing they had the legal standing to do so,” said the knowledgeable person, who asked not to be further identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly. “But it did not conform with the legal agreement reached with the Senate committee.”

There is a lot of storm and fury foaming around this evolving story—the Inspector General’s report that prompted Brennan’s apology will presumably be made public at some point—but taking a step back, two things become clear.

First, the Obama administration’s handling of the intelligence services has been a succession of disasters: embarrassing revelations, clear abuses, vast failures of oversight and accountability. The President doesn’t appear to have the skills or the temperament for good administration of government business, and from the health care website fiasco to the serial train wrecks in the intelligence world, the consequences are on display. If a GOP president had fumbled the ball on this many important plays, there would be a firestorm in the press. But it needs to be said: President Obama has not been a competent manager of the nation’s intelligence efforts, and that is one of the most critical responsibilities that an American President has. Maintaining the proper balance between the intelligence gathering and other activities that are necessary to our safety in a perilous time and the civil liberties of the American people and relations with allied nations is one of those things that only the President under our system has the ability and the knowledge to do. For whatever reason, President Obama has repeatedly been found wanting here and American security, American liberty and America’s foreign relations are all significantly worse off because of it.

And second, while the balance in American politics certainly continues to shift away from the ‘collect it all’ mentality of the post 9/11 period—in part the natural result of a lack of confidence in the President’s ability to handle the power that has been delegated to the executive branch, and in part as a natural and healthy reaction to some of the excesses of recent years—it’s important that the pendulum not swing too far in the other direction. The dangers to American security are on the upswing, and despite the hollow assurances from Washington that the jihadis are “decimated” or on the run, the strength and capacity of these groups is growing. If the pendulum swings too far now, we risk significant attacks. And the effect of those could well be much worse for civil liberty.

We can hope that President Obama’s performance in this vital arena of presidential responsibility improves, but at this point the most important thing is for both parties to think hard about making sure that each nominates presidential candidates in 2016 who are ready, willing, and able to give this area the attention it deserves and to work with Congress to provide the U.S. with the right legal framework and the right kinds of oversight so that, as far as possible, the American people can be both safe and free.

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  • Kevin

    Well that was brutal.

    • johngbarker

      No, brutal will be another 9/11 caused by failed intelligence.

      • Breif2

        Failed intelligence can be a result of placing excessive restraints on the intelligence services. Failed intelligence can also be a result of intelligence services deciding to play Big Brother instead of focusing on the enemy.

        (I’m inclined to the “With great power comes great responsibility” approach. For example, give great powers to the NSA, but if anyone abuses the trust placed in them, impose truly draconian punishments. Spy on your ex-girlfriend? Mandatory 50 years in jail.)

        • TSIndiana

          Do you really know who “the enemy” is or only who they tell you the enemy is?

      • TSIndiana

        Actually CIA and Mossad were part of 9/11. They needed “provocation” for the 7 country in 5 year “long war” (which is now 10 in 20 and probably WW3). You really think tower 7 fell of it’s own accord when no plane hit it ?

  • Boritz

    “the most important thing is for both parties to think hard about making sure that each nominates presidential
    candidates in 2016 who are ready, willing, and able to give this area the attention it deserves”

    Yes. Both parties should nominate someone who given the opportunity in a game of political brinksmanship to score a really good b**ch slap on the other party by disregarding what’s best for the country would do the right, just, and statesman like thing even if it could be spun to hurt their own party in the next election.

  • TheCynical1

    Whatever the merits of trading liberty for security, I fear we may be trading both away with nothing to show for it.

    • TSIndiana

      Hey, we are paying for Israel to rule the middle east and kill Palestinians. $9,000,000 a day is only the start.

      “Mission accomplished” for Jews, who have no problem with goy blood, leaving destruction behind.

      So three things are accomplished…. 1. Muslims attack Christians and in the aftermath sharia law fills the void, 2. Goy blood and treasure are spent, 3. the USA is deeply in debted to the rottenchild bankers who will raise interest at any time.

      And as a bonus…we are on the brink of WW3.

      Yes indeed we are so lucky to have the Jew bankers as our puimp and we will have debt slavery to “show for it”. .

      • mark

        What about the Saudi bankers. When your intelligence and ability to think rationally fail, blame it on the Jews. You’re a moron, plain and simple.

      • andrewp111

        Ruling the Middle East??? You are deluded by the disproportionate press coverage given to Israel. Israel is a little tiny side show with their little insignificant skirmish with Hamas. Who cares. The real action in the Middle East is ISIS. Their Caliphate is the real deal, and is on a roll right now. They will end up ruling the entire Islamic World. . People need to be paying more attention. Maybe when they conquer Saudi Arabia and behead the entire Royal Family, people will pay attention, but by then it will be too late.

  • FriendlyGoat

    The thing about political parties is that they, as entities, don’t “think hard”.

    So both parties are not going to “think hard” about nominating someone with particular expertise with respect to the intelligence services.

    But, there is little doubt that Hillary Clinton has more of it than anyone else running.

    • M Snow

      The architect of the Russian Reset and the Benghazi fiasco? Yeah, right.

    • TSIndiana

      We have enough lying lawyers in public offices. It’s about time that honest, non-lawyers are elected. Hillary is an accomplished liar….which America has had enough of.

  • Duperray

    Is US still a land of Freedom? Look at this, extracted from a US site (, about how Federal legally grabs farmers’ money:
    “Now, Obama has the Dept. of Justice going after small farmers under the post-911 “Bank Secrecy Act” which makes it a crime to deposit less than $10,000 when you earned more than that.
    “The level we deposited was what it was and it was about the same every week,” Randy Sowers told Frederick News. The Sowers own and run South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland.
    Admittedly, when the Sowers earned over $10,000 in February, and learned they’d have to fill out paperwork at the bank for such large deposits, they simply rolled the deposits over to keep them below the none-of-your ****-business amount, rather than waste time on bureaucratic red tape aimed at flagging terrorism or other illegal activities.
    “Structuring,” explains, “is the federal criminal offense of splitting up bank deposits so as to keep them under a threshold such as $10,000 above which banks have to report transactions to the government.”
    While being questioned, the Sowers were finally presented with a seizure order and advised that the feds had already emptied their bank account of $70,000. The Dept. of Justice has since sued to keep $63,000 of the Sowers’ money, though they committed no crime other than maintaining their privacy.
    Without funds, they will be unable to make purchases for the spring planting.
    When a similar action was taken against Taylor’s Produce Stand last year, the feds seized $90,000, dropped the charges, and kept $45,000 of Taylor’s money.” –

    This so called “Justice” ought to investigate whether these farmers were manipulating dirty terrorists cash, at the end reimburse stolen money and compensating for expenses incurred by this long duration withdrawal.

    We never heard that soviet communist did that during soviet era.

  • rene591

    Let me be very clear. this nation is officially non interventionist and we have heard this scare tactic before. we no longer believe people who cry wolf when they have demonstrated a propensity to lie and waste trillions down a sand and mountain rat hole

  • donqpublic

    I’ll be glad when there’s a normal dirt bag demagogue, power seeking, all seeing, all knowing politician back in the White House again; I’m tired of being called a racist by a phony pandering to his cronies while getting squat on my savings account. I might even consider a douche bag for a change.

    • freedomliberty13

      The easy antidote to being called a racist is to list all the black conservatives you love & would rather see in the White House instead of Obama. THAT retort leaves Lefties slack jawed. Sometimes they say “well, yeah, but THEY are “Uncle Toms.” THAT makes my point for me. I LIKE THOSE blacks DUE TO THEIR POLITICAL OUTLOOK. It has NOTHING to do with skin color.

    • Steve Rodriguez

      Right….I’d prefer the traditional corrupt, criminal thief, narcissistic scumball who at least was half competent and loved his country – than what we have now, an incompetent buffoon who clearly does not.

      • andrewp111

        You are clearly hoping for Chris Christie in 2016.

  • freedomliberty13

    The Dems’ rhetorical tactic to try to shift the focus away from Obama’s lack of management experience & skills has been to blame “mean Repubs” for “not working with him.” I always counter with “so, in our roughly 250 year history, ALL opposing parties in Congress have rubber stamped presidents’ agendas, up until THIS “mean Congress?” I then offer the examples of Reagan & Bill Clinton who were previously governors in states in which the opposing parties ran the legislatures. THEY learned THERE how to effectively lead, manage, plan & negotiate – all skills necessary to be an effective president. Obama just didn’t learn those things as a community organizer in ultra blue Chicago. Common sense tells us that if you want “cooperation,” you don’t get there by demonizing your opponents in every speech you give. But demonizing IS SOMETHING that an Alinskyite community organizer would do. Obama is the “dog” who “chased the car” (presidency), and having “caught it” (winning in 2008) found that dogs can’t drive cars (he was incapable of competently governing).

  • bittman

    It hardly makes sense for our government to insist it must gather metadata on every Americans in order to ensure national security when it does not insist on gathering any information on the people who illegally enter our country via our unsecured border.

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