Unprecedented demands by CIA led agency to spend $40 million on review
Dec 10 2014
Washington—The Senate Intelligence Committee study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program was completed entirely with existing committee resources; only minor staff additions were needed at some early stages of the study.
The overwhelming majority of the $40 million cost was incurred by the CIA and was caused by the CIA’s own unprecedented demands to keep documents away from the committee. Rather than provide documents for the committee to review in its own secure Senate office—as is standard practice—the CIA insisted on establishing a separate leased facility and a “stand-alone” computer network for committee use.
The CIA hired teams of contractors to review every document, multiple times, to ensure they were relevant and not potentially subject to a claim of executive privilege. Only after those costly reviews were the documents then provided to committee staff.
Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein wrote several letters objecting to this unprecedented action, pointing out the wasted expense and unnecessary delays. Later, this arrangement at the off-site CIA facility allowed CIA personnel to remove documents it had provided for the committee’s use and to inappropriately gain access to the committee staff’s computer network and email.