Is it supposed to be a coincidence that the CIA watchdog is leaving now?
The problem with a secret organization within government is that our government is supposed to be accountable to voters. We are supposed to be able to make informed choices about who we vote to go into or remain in office. If a major area of policy is secret to voters, then that is an area of tension. It may be unavoidable, but it is in tension with the concept of self-government. To vote intelligently requires knowledge.
So with the CIA, there needed to be a way to hold the agency accountable as much as possible. An office was established for the purpose of investigating the Agency.
But one now has to wonder how that is working out. It looks as if, now that we have evidence the “watchdog” did his job, the job has come to an end. The National Journal reports, “The CIA’s Watchdog Is Resigning After Revealing That Spies Hacked the Senate.”
The CIA’s internal watchdog will resign at the end of January, a departure that comes just months after his office found that the spy agency had hacked into computers used by Senate staffers to investigate its Bush-era “enhanced interrogation techniques,” the CIA said Monday.
David Buckley will leave the agency on Jan. 31 to “pursue an opportunity in the private sector,” the CIA said in a statement. Christopher Sharpley, the deputy CIA inspector general, will serve as acting inspector general upon Buckley’s departure.
The CIA indicated that Buckley’s resignation was both amicable and planned, although it comes after a particularly tumultuous year for the agency, which was enveloped in controversy leading up to the release last month of the Senate torture report.
“David has served the CIA and the American public as our inspector general for more than four years,” CIA Director John Brennan said in the statement. “Throughout his tenure, he has demonstrated independence, integrity, and sound judgment in promoting efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability at CIA.”
In July, Buckley’s office concluded that CIA employees had covertly hacked into computers used by Senate Intelligence Committee staffers to investigate the spy agency’s harsh interrogation methods deployed at foreign blacksites during the George W. Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Buckley’s findings represented a stunning rebuke of the CIA and Director Brennan, who had emphatically denied allegations lobbed by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein that the agency had accessed her panel’s computers in order to remove certain documents—a maneuver she described in a fiery floor speech as a likely violation of the Constitution.
Yes, that allowed us to see some incredibly hypocritical and ironic posturing, since Feinstein had defended the NSA’s spying on the rest of us. You can read more about it here and here. It doesn’t look like the CIA was expecting or will have in the future any real accountability.