Being Right: American Spies

Hannah Loiacono

Within the past few weeks, yet another political battle has emerged. This time, it puts the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) head-to-head. Members of each organization have spouted harsh allegations of potentially illegal activity. While it might seem lately that politics have been more broken than not, these allegations should not be swept under the rug. This could quickly become one of the biggest scandals since the creation of the CIA. Said allegations strike to the very core of America’s political heart: the Constitution.

Earlier this month, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) spoke out against the CIA, saying that it searched Senate computers. Allegedly, the CIA was looking into how Senate staffers got their hands on internal documents. These documents would be used in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s review of the interrogation tactics used post 9/11, mainly under the Bush administration. Some believe that if the CIA did, in fact, search Senate staffer computers, it would be to try and understand what information the oversight committee truly had. The interrogation tactics being investigated by the Senate Intelligence Committee have been vocally criticized. The CIA would want to know what information might be made public to the American people, the thought goes.

The report at the center of this scandal calls into question a program that ended half a decade ago. Accusations have flown from both sides, and it can be hard to get a handle on the biggest issue at hand: the basic separation of powers. If the CIA really did search Senate computers and delete materials, as has been suggested, it would be a very real impediment to the Senate Intelligent Committee’s ability to do its job.

This is no small matter. The American government, from its founding, was designed in a way so that the three branches could check one another and have a balance of power. If the CIA hindered the committee’s ability to do its oversight work, then the balance of power has been disrupted. 

These allegations must be investigated. Unnervingly, the person that holds this

responsibility is Attorney General Eric Holder. A recent poll from Quinnipiac University found Attorney General Holder’s approval rating to be a dismal 23 percent. Simply, Eric Holder has the power to say whether or not the Senate/CIA matter will be investigated at all.

While requests have been made by both sides,  no official decision has been made regarding the CIA and Senate’s conduct being formally investigated. With the questions at hand so large and

with confidence in the Attorney General so low, there is one course of action that should be taken:

the allegations of both sides should be thoroughly investigated by an independent prosecutor.  

The very fundamentals of American politics are not something that should be taken lightly. The gravity of claims begs for attention. Once again, the American public is questioning the government’s ability to function correctly. Now that these allegations have been posed, they need to be honestly and completely put to rest.

However, at this time, Holder does not hold the nation’s confidence. These are no run-of-the-mill allegations. Allowing a man that is approved by less than a quarter of the population to handle said investigation treats them with less severity than they deserve. This nation needs, after years of intensifying political distrust, an investigator that they can rely on to do the job.

Holder is the only head of the Department of Justice to be held in contempt of Congress. His response to the IRS scandal has been questioned. He is not the one to see the American people through this investigation.

Simply put, the American public deserves its government, all branches and all departments, to stay true to the foundations on which this nation was based. We deserve more than what we have been given lately.

Contact Hannah Loiacono at [email protected].