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Feinstein on the CIA Hiring Blackwater for, You Know, Assassinating Dudes « The Washington Independent

Statement out from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:

“The first thing to remember is that the program has been canceled. It was fully briefed to the Senate Intelligence Committee, first by Director Panetta in June, and afterward through additional oversight.

The program was never briefed to the Congress before June despite a clear requirement in law to keep the intelligence committees ‘fully and currently informed.’ This was a sensitive program and had, in fact, gone beyond the simple planning stage.

It is clear to me that the failure to notify before now constituted a violation of law. That’s a big problem and it should never ever happen again. Every single intelligence operation and covert action must be briefed to the Congress. If they are not, that is a violation of the law.

While this is already the case, the Senate Intelligence Committee has included a provision in the Fiscal Year 2010 Intelligence Authorization bill that clearly states that there is no exception to the legal requirement to notify Congress.

While I will not confirm or deny the allegations in recent press articles, I have believed for a long time that the Intelligence Community is over-reliant on contractors to carry out its work. This is especially a problem when contractors are used to carry out activities that are inherently governmental.”

Like assassinating members of al-Qaeda! Also, unless I’m missing something, Feinstein has walked up to the water’s edge of calling the CIA’s lack of congressional notification on the program illegal, but this is the first time she’s crossed that particular threshold. (Though Feinstein has also come the closest of any senator to calling the program itself — not just the concealment of it — illegal.)

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