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Here on Law and Disorder we’ve reported in depth on the targeting of environmental activists by federal agents that categorizing their exercise of free speech as terrorism. A recent FOIA request obtained by the Earth Island Journal revealed that the FBI held a daylong strategy meeting with TransCanada Corporation, the company building the 2,100-mile Keystone XL pipeline, in April of 2012. In March of 2012, President Obama made a speech in Cushing, Oklahoma, confirming the approval of the southern portion of the pipeline toward the Gulf of Mexico. The FBI meeting suggests that the highest levels of law enforcement are involved in monitoring opposition to the pipeline.
- I spoke with a former FBI agent, Mike German, who is now at the Brennan Center and he was very surprised to see the juxtaposition of the FBI and TransCanada at the top of that letterhead, which makes them look like partners.
- I also uncovered correspondence between a TransCanada corporate security adviser and an FBI agent in South Dakota, who he had invited to this meeting in Nebraska. They seem to be on very good terms.
- Clearly the company is using all levers of power to get this thing not only approved, but to push opposition out of the way and potentially criminalize dissent.
Tar sands oil, which is primarily being mined up in Alberta, is considered the dirtiest form of oil on the planet.
The timing is quite interesting. Obama was in Cushing, at the TransCanada pipeyard at speech he gave that was not open to the public. That was on March 22, 2012 and he essentially approved the southern portion of the pipeline.
- About a week before that the FBI had met with TransCanada to start planning this strategy meeting.
- I’m in the middle of requesting additional documents, looking more closely at both the Homeland Security and the FBI’s collaboration with the oil and gas industry beyond TransCanada.
Guest – Adam Federman, a contributing editor to Earth Island Journal. His writing has appeared in The Nation magazine, Salon, Columbia Journalism Review, Utne Reader, Gastronomica, CounterPunch, Adirondack Life, Adirondack Explorer and other publications. He is the recipient of a Polk Grant for Investigative Reporting, a Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism, and a Russia Fulbright Fellowship.
CIA Caught Spying on the Congressional Committee That Oversees It
We continue to discuss the bitter dispute between the CIA and the U.S. Senate committee that oversees it. Last week, conflict erupted when the committee chairwoman accused the CIA of spying on Congress. Senator Dianne Feinstein announced publicly that the CIA had searched computers used by committee staffers examining CIA documents when they research the agency’s counter-terrorism operations and harsh interrogation methods or torture. She charged that the search violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and an executive order that prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches. CIA Director John Brennan denied any charge of computer hacking.
Attorney Scott Horton:
- I say we go back to December 2012 when the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence finished work on a massive 6,000-page review of torture practices including the operation of black sites by the CIA.
- This is something that was researched over a period of several years. This was sent for CIA review and comment, and a war broke out almost immediately between the CIA and the Senate Select Committee.
- The CIA was making it clear that there were factual inaccuracies.
- The Senate Select Committee said, now, wait a minute, the CIA’s own notes about this show that their claims are not correct. That exchange is what triggered the latest war.
In this case we come down to a set of particulars about how information was transmitted from the CIA to the Senate Select Committee.
- The CIA would not simply turn over documents to the Senate to be used in Senate offices and reviewed.
- What’s now become clear is that certain materials were turned over the Senate Select Committee and the CIA realized after the fact it wasn’t such a good idea, because it showed that the CIA was lying about aspects of its program.
- So they went in and deleted the files that they’d already turned over to the committee. I’d say that’s right at the crux.
- The CIA’s General Counsel, a fellow named Robert Eatinger, then filed a criminal reference with the U.S. Department of Justice saying there had been a violation of security protocols by the Senate and the Senate staffers and demanding that the FBI and the Department of Justice investigate the Senate and the conduct of the Senate’s investigation.
- Then I think Dianne Feinstein went to the well of the Senate and delivered a remarkable speech – in which she talked about this in crisis of the Republic terms.
- It was really a dramatic speech, a very rare speech.
- This is the sort of thing that will get printed up and reproduced in text books.
- They really had to do something awfully bad to get her riled up this way and they did.
- There is no such thing is security classifications that block a Senate inquiry or block access of Senate staff who have security clearance.
- We know there that the lawyer at the Counter-Terrorism Center who was providing information to the Department of Justice to solicit those memos consistently made false or incorrect statements to the DOJ to get the memos, and that would be Robert Eatinger.
- Congress should have its own oversight of its own operations. It’s not up to the executive to provide oversight.
- You cannot have the executive providing oversight of Congress’ oversight of the executive. It’s theoretically impossible.
- The National Security Division was established to be a law firm for the CIA.
- So they work for the CIA, and the National Security Division has in the past been aggressively involved in cover-ups for the benefit of the CIA.
Guest – Scott Horton, human rights lawyer and contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine. He graduated Texas Law School in Austin with a JD and was a partner in a large New York law firm, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler.