Transcript: Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s floor statement on improper CIA search of congressional computers – Part IV of V

Part IV of V: Partial transcript of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-California) floor statement accusing the Central Intelligence Committee of improperly accessing and searching computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs at “black prisons” overseas. Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, delivered her statement on March 11, 2014.

At some point in 2010, committee staff searching the documents that have been available found draft versions of what is now called the Internal Panetta Review.

We believe that these documents were written by CIA personnel to summarize and analyze the materials that have been provided to the committee for its review.

The Panetta Review documents were no more highly classified than other information we had received for our investigation.

In fact, the documents appeared based on the same information already provided to the committee.

What was unique and interesting about the internal documents was not the classification level but rather their analysis and acknowledgement of significant CIA wrongdoing.

To be clear, the committee staff did not hack into CIA computers to obtain these documents as has been suggested in the press. The documents were identified using the search tool provided by the CIA to search the documents provided to the committee.

We had no way to determine who made the internal Panetta Review documents available to the committee.

Further, we don’t know whether the documents were provided intentionally by the CIA, unintentionally by the CIA, or intentionally by a whistleblower.

In fact, we know over the years on multiple occasions, the staff have asked the CIA about documents made available for our investigation. At times, the CIA has simply been unaware that these specific documents were provided to the committee.

And while this is alarming, it is also important to note that more than 6.2 million pages of documents have been provided. This is simply a massive amount of records.

As I described earlier, as part of its standard process for reviewing records, the committee staff printed copies of the Internal Panetta Review and made electronic copies of the committee’s computers at the facility.

The staff did not rely on these Internal Panetta Review documents when drafting the final 6,300 page committee study.

But it was significant that the Internal Panetta Review had documented at least some of the very same troubling matters already uncovered by the committee staff, which is not surprising in that they were looking at the same information.

There is a claim in the press and elsewhere that the markings on these documents should have caused the staff to stop reading them and turn them over to the CIA. I reject that claim completely.

As with many other documents provided to the committee at the CIA facility, some of the Internal Panetta Review documents – some – contain markings indicating that they were “deliberative” and/or “privileged”. This was not especially noteworthy to staff.

In fact, CIA has provided thousands of internal documents to include CIA legal guidance and talking points prepared for the CIA Director, some of which were marked as being “deliberative” or “privileged”.

Moreover, the CIA has officially provided such documents to the committee here in the Senate. In fact, the CIA’s official June 27, 2013 response to the committee’s study, which Director Brennan delivered to me personally is labeled “deliberative process privileged document”.

We have discussed this with the Senate legal counsel, who has confirmed that Congress does not recognize these claims of privilege when it comes to documents provided to Congress for our oversight duties.

These were documents provided by the Executive Branch pursuant to an authorized congressional oversight investigation.

So we believe we had every right to review and keep the documents.

There are also claims in the press that the Panetta Internal Review documents, having been created in 2009 and 2010, were outside the date range of the committee’s document request or the terms of the committee study. This, too, is inaccurate.

The committee’s document request were not limited in time. In fact, as I have previously announced, the committee study includes significant information on the May 2011 Osama bin Laden operation, which obviously post-dated the detention and interrogation program.

At some time after the committee staff identified and reviewed the Internal Panetta Review documents, access to the vast majority of them was removed by the CIA. We believe this happened in 2010 but we have no way of knowing the specifics. Nor do we know why the documents were removed.

The staff was focused on reviewing the tens of thousands of new documents that continue to arrive on a regular basis.


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