The Washington Post

CIA spying on other U.S. officials — nothing new?

Senate Intelligence Committee chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-Calif), on March 11, saying the CIA's search of a Senate computer has referred to the Justice Departmen. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman  Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) on March 11, saying the CIA’s search of a Senate computer has been referred to the Justice Department. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein’s blistering attack last  week on the CIA for spying on the committee’s investigation of the agency’s interrogation measures — an allegation strongly disputed by CIA Director John Brennan — sounded vaguely familiar.

We recall a case in Croatia in 1994 where the CIA station chief kept a very close eye on then-ambassador Peter Galbraith and other agency staff, reporting back to the CIA on what he suspected they were up to —  which included a very controversial, though apparently authorized,  operation to get some weapons to what many feared were the about-to-be-crushed Bosnians.

It was even alleged that the station chief reported on  the personal lives of U.S. government employees, a source told us by way of refreshing recollections. A congressional inquiry, led by a Loop favorite, the forever youthful late Illinois GOP congressman Henry Hyde,  concluded that there was no “spying.” But the allegations persist to this day. (The agency declined comment.)

 We had heard at the time that the station chief  had bugged the ambassador’s and other offices and phones, but our source said that definitely wasn’t true. (He didn’t need to. His liaisons, the  Croatian spooks, were already likely doing that.)

So if the CIA was spying on the Senate investigation, is it something like  gambling in Casablanca?

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.



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