Feinstein’s Hypocrtical Outrage

Remember that report about the CIA spying on staffers of the Senate Intelligence Committee last week? Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs that committee and might as well be a Republican when it comes to government surveillance, is suddenly very outraged by this invasion of privacy.

The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday sharply accused the CIA of violating federal law and undermining the constitutional principle of congressional oversight as she detailed publicly for the first time how the agency secretly removed documents from computers used by her panel to investigate a controversial interrogation program.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that the situation amounted to attempted intimidation of congressional investigators, adding: “I am not taking it lightly.”

You mean like you take so lightly the privacy rights of every other American? She has been a staunch defender of pretty much every intrusion our intelligence services have made and every violation of the 4th Amendment the government engages in. Because if she doesn’t support that, we’ll all be killed by terrorists.

Feinstein said she could not answer whether other phone companies have had their records sifted through as Verizon has.

“I know that people are trying to get to us,” she said. “This is the reason why the FBI now has 10,000 people doing intelligence on counterterrorism. This is the reason for the national counterterrorism center that’s been set up in the time we’ve been active. its to ferret this out before it happens. “It’s called protecting America.”

Funny how that only applies to other people, isn’t it? By the way, I was wrong when I blamed the non-release of that torture report her committee put together solely on Obama. It turns out that the Senate Intelligence Committee could declassify the document themselves or release a redacted version of it. I’m sure Obama doesn’t want them to, but if Feinstein wanted to release that document she could.

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  • colnago80

    Of course, Feinstein is a hypocrite here but there is a legitimate argument to be made that these actions by the NSA and the CIA, executive branch agencies, violates the separation of powers provisions in the Constitution. The legislative and judicial branches of the government are supposed oversee the executive branch and to rein it in when it gets out of line, If agencies of the executive are spying on the other two branches, they can’t do their jobs, provided of course, that they had any interest in doing their jobs.

  • eric

    Yeah, I’m willing to say that this crime is worse than just regular spying on Americans. As SLC points out, it violates the 4th Amendment AND separation of powers concept, while other spying just violates the 4th.

    I’m also fine with Feinstein’s hypocrisy if it leads to the correct end state; reigning in such instrusions. What’s going on here is pretty analogous to some Christian lawmaker getting upset when atheists insist on putting up a monument on public land next to the ten commandmentts one. If it takes direct personal offense of lawmakers to get them to see that no monuments, and no spying should be the standard, so be it.

  • doublereed

    Actually, it doesn’t even sound hypocritical, if her problem with it isn’t privacy but separation of powers. Stupid and crazy, but not really hypocritical.

  • Not that I have a smokin’ hot thing for Dianne Feinstein but…

    I think that it’s fair to say that the U.S. intelligence agencies (and various police agencies at all levels) are overwhelmingly authoritarian and either 50’s era conservatives or reactionaries (Mr. Michael Heath tends towards identifying them as the former, me as the latter–except I add “Lying fucking sociopath” at the front end)–I don’t think that there’s a real argument against the proposition.

    They don’t trust any politician to not rat them out if they’re violating laws. With the “troo bleevers” in the GOP they feel it is necessary to share SOME information that is accurate. With LEFTIES, hahahahahahahaha your sense of humor is delicate and refreshingly innocent, Ed.

    I doubt that Feinstein knows a whole lot about what any of those fuckers are up to.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    NSA not only snooped on the Intelligence Committee’s staffers and computers, it – provably – erased and altered files, and without notification.

    We call that tampering with evidence in a criminal investigation, aka obstructing justice.

    Just as paranoiacs can have real enemies, a hypocrite like Feinstein can – and does – have a legitimate accusation.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    A legitimate accusation, Pierce? What on earth are you talking about? The CIA was keeping her safe from terrorists in Congress. She should be grateful, dammit.

  • Michael Heath

    The media fails in its duty to inform by not employing more ridicule when such bad behavior is revealed. In this regard they could learn a lesson from the demagogues on the right.

  • leonardschneider

    Well, when your political career starts off by being elected Mayor of San Francisco with one vote — Dan White — you’re probably gonna display a lot of arrogance from then on.

  • pilch62

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs that committee and might as well be a Republican when it comes to government surveillance . . .


  • laurentweppe

    Something similar is happening in France: after spending the last two decades demanding time & again to increase the powers of cops and magistrates in the name of fighting crime, the french right-wing suddenly became infuriated when a judge spied on Sarkozy’s mobile phone, including conversations between Sarko and his lawyer. The funny thing is that it used to be illegal to spy on a conversation between a suspect and his lawyer… until 2004, when the then conservative majority in parliament changed the law.

  • And this is why I like the Constitution, not because it protects us; because it shows us how we MIGHT be protected from our government if we knew what the fuck THEY were up to.

  • The numbers just clicked. The increase in Employment under Obama has been fuelled by the increased hiring for government surveillance programs.

  • Once again, where’s the “hypocricy?” Feinstein supported surveillance when she thought (rightly or not) that they were spying on the “right” people; but got (rightly) angry when she realized they were spying on people they had no business spying on, for reasons having nothing to do with national security. She may be WRONG in her support for certain CIA ops, but calling her a hypocrite is pure bullshit. Whatever the CIA should be doing, spying on elected officials is pretty surely not it.