A Transparent Shame: Why Isn’t This Watergate II?

A select Senate committee is charged with overseeing CIA skullduggery to insure, among other things, that it stays within the stretched confines of the Constitution.

(1) As part of the Committee’s supervision it was given electronic documents relating to CIA interrogations.

(2) The CIA broke into the committee’s secured and private computer system and stole the documents from the drives.

How is that not an e-burglary? How is it not a repeat of the Watergate break-in when Nixon Administration undercover operatives burglarized the Democratic Party headquarters and photocopied documents from the file-cabinets while bugging the office?

The only difference is that the present incident is far worse because it involves breaking into an office of the Nation’s supreme sovereign authority. Americans may have forgotten but, after the Constitution itself, Congress — not the Presidency — is Sovereign in the land.

It is worse because the CIA’s break-in was an attempt to undermine the very fabric of constitutionalism whereas the Watergate break-in, of itself, was only political dirty tricks.

It is worse because, unlike the Watergate cats and Nixon aides who simply ran for cover, today’s CIA went on a counter-attack of deflection and intimidation by trying to get the Justice Department to investigate the Senate Committee on trumped up allegations of wrong-doing.

Feinstein was being bend-over-backwards gracious when she called the CIA’s dirty deed an “illegal search and seizure.” Nope. Illegal searches and seizures only occur under color of law — that is, when the police are engaged in investigating crime, which is what they are paid to do. The CIA is not authorized to investigate criminal activity and certainly not domestic criminal activity and most certainly not alleged criminal activity by congressional staffers.

When police misappropriate drugs or property they are not engaging in “illegal searches and seizures” they are engaged in crime – theft, extortion, receiving, fencing. When the CIA broke into the committee’s computer network it committed a burglary.

Feinstein was being kind and gentle when she accused the CIA of attempting to “intimidate” her staffers. Filing (false) complaints in an attempt to distract from one’s own criminality is two crimes in one: abuse of judicial process and obstruction of justice.

And where is the President to be seen in all of this? Nowhere. The only sound coming from the Oval Office was the putting of golf balls after a photo-op with some Eastern European slime-ball who heads a coup-installed “government” choc’ full of nazis … real ones, not simply Idaho boneheads.

White House aides have assured us all is well, the President is uninvolved and a Full Stonewall is in progress.

MAR 11: “The president has great confidence in John Brennan and confidence in our intelligence community and in our professionals at the CIA,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told a news briefing. “There was no comment, there was no weighing in, there was no judgment,” Carney said, citing protocol not to interfere …

MAR 12: The White House is refusing to hand over top-secret documents to a Senate investigation into CIA torture and rendition of terrorism suspects, claiming it needs to ensure that “executive branch confidentiality” is respected.

MAR 13: The CIA’s director and its top lawyer told White House attorneys in advance about their plans to file an official criminal complaint accusing Senate Intelligence Committee aides of improperly obtaining secret agency documents, the White House confirmed Wednesday.

This from an Administration that promised unprecedented transparency

Watergate and Spygate are not peas in a pod. Watergate began as an criminal escapade that developed into a cover-up with constitutional implications. Spygate began with a prolonged cover-up that matured into a criminal act with constitutional implications. But in both cases the Executive pretends to have hands off while its hands are deep in the muck of sordid activities and violations of law which undermine an free and open civil society.

Watergate culminated in an impeachment and a slew of administrative reforms. Spygate will end with a whimper that leaves the corruption in place under a tissue of nauseating pieties mouthed by an ornament.