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Ethiopia: አቶ አባዱላ ገመዳ መግለጫ ሰጡ – ENN News video

Egypt: ‘Obstacles’ threaten agreement over Ethiopia dam – Middle East Monitor

World Council of Churches to intervene in longstanding Ethiopia-Eritrea border dispute

South Sudan Armed Opposition Group Denies Recruiting Ethiopians 

የኢትዮጵያ ጠ/ሚ ፕሮቶኮል ኃላፊ ከዱ VOA

Yemeni Army: Israeli Stations in Eritrea Islands within Our Reach – Al-Manar TV Lebanon

The USA and Gthe Gulf states want to “Make Egypt Thirsty” Awate

Abdi Mohamoud Omar on Oromo-Somali Conflict video

Global hunger rising with conflicts, climate shocks un

Ethiopia’s bereaved families seek justice video Ajazeera

ANALYSIS: River Nile politics

Ethiopia: Oromia region observes shutdown called by opposition | Africanews

Ethiopia hosts nearly 400,000 South Sudanese refugees: UN – Sudan Tribune

Nuts and Bolts of the Controversial Grand Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia – Face2Face Africa

Deepening drought hits Ethiopia herders as millions go hungry

Why are so many military bases in Djibouti? — Quartz

Nuts and Bolts of the Controversial Grand Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia – Face2Face Africa

Deepening drought hits Ethiopia herders as millions go hungry

Why are so many military bases in Djibouti? — Quartz

Ethiopia receives 3.4 bln USD in loans, grants in 12 months – Xinhua

Italy launches investigation on Eritrean priest who helps thousands of migrants cross the Mediterranean

UN agency sounds alarmed as drought-stricken herders in Ethiopia face massive livestock losses

South Sudan rebels say have retaken town near border with Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Edris and Mo Farah’s invincibility in final track race

Heavy fighting erupts in South Sudan near border with Ethiopia

Swiss charge Ethiopian imam with inciting violence

Up to 50 Immigrants from Somalia and Ethiopia deliberately Drowned by Smugglers off Yemen – UN

Corruption Is Holding Back Democracy and Prosperity in Ethiopia

Kenya Raila rejects results of Election 2017

Ethiopia: 8.5 ሚሊየን ኢትዮጵያውያን አስቸኳይ የምግብ እርዳታ ያስፈልጋቸዋል – ENN News

Ministry of Irrigation reaffirms Ethiopia has not begun filling GERD – Daily News Egypt

U.S. Should Fight Terror With Eritrea, Accused of Sponsoring Al-Qaeda Affiliate, GOP Congressman Says

South Sudan army capture rebel headquarters near Ethiopia – StarTribune.com

Ethiopia to give ID cards to Rastafarians long stateless | Miami Herald

Ethiopia: በሙስና ወንጀል ስለተጠረጠሩት ባለስልጣናት መንግስት የሰጠው መግለጫ – ENN News

Migrants in France Say Police Abuse Is Common – The New York Times

 Demolitions gather pace in the heart of the Ethiopian capital

Ethiopia: Meeting deadly disease head-on – Ethiopia | ReliefWeb

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam a threat to downstream Nile states, including Egypt | Daily Maverick

New tax law triggers protests in Ethiopia’s Oromia

Shops Close In Ethiopian Capital Over Tax Dispute

Ethiopia, Gambia, Sudan & Egypt score low marks in internet freedom survey | Africanews

Ethiopia’s Oromo people are protesting new taxes in the Oromia region — Quartz

 የአስቸኳይ ግዜ አዋጁና የኦሮሚያው ተቃዉሞ

በኦሮሚያ አድማው አሦስተኛ ቀን ቀጥሏል

Egypt faces water insecurity as Ethiopian mega-dam starts filling | Climate Home –

Charity groups unite to tackle hunger and famine in the Horn of Africa – ABC News

Egypt fails to make headway as it navigates Nile River talks

15 Ethiopians charged with terror offences – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Ethiopia hosts more than 840,000 refugees: UNHCR – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Renaissance Dam: Need for political intervention as technical negotiations get complicated | MadaMasr

Egypt: Ethiopia is yet to start filling its reservoir – Middle East Monitor

Aid Groups Marshal Scarce Resources to Save Ethiopian Children voa

How Egypt Is Slowly Losing Its Hold Over the Nile River – worldpoliticsreview

EU parliament probe Ethiopia for human rights investigation 39 signed

Ethiopia to inaugurate 2 Chinese built industrial parks – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn

Ethiopia-born UK citizen appears in London court over terrorism charges | Africanews

Ethiopian Christians slaughtered on the beaches of Libya by ISIS

  • Video seems to show militants in Libya holding one group of at least 16 captive on a beach and 12 others in a desert
  • Before the killings a masked fighter in black brandishes a pistol as he vows to kill Christians if they do not convert 
  • Ethiopia unable to confirm its citizens were killed by militants in the footage but condemned the ‘atrocious act’
  • It comes two months after 21 Egyptian Christians were beheaded by extremists in a similar video from Libya

 

A shocking new video appearing to show at least 30 Christians being beheaded and shot by ISIS in Libya has been released.

The 29-minute video, titled ‘Until It Came To Them – Clear Evidence’, shows dozens of militants holding two separate groups captive, thought to be in the south and the west of the country.

At least 16 men, described by Islamic State as the ‘followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church’, are lined up and shot in a desert area while 12 others are filmed being forced to walk down a beach before being beheaded.

This follows another video in February of the beheading of a group of 21 Coptic Christians on the beach in Libya, though that terrain was rockier than the one shown in the latest film.

It raises fears that ISIS is consolidating its presence on the ‘doorstep of Europe’, as Libya is just a few hundred miles from the coast of Italy.

Scroll down for video 

Thirty Ethiopian Christians appear to have been beheaded and shot by ISIS in a sickening new propaganda video. Above, at least 16 men are marched down a beach in Libya by militants before they are killed

Thirty Ethiopian Christians appear to have been beheaded and shot by ISIS in a sickening new propaganda video. Above, at least 16 men are marched down a beach in Libya by militants before they are killed

Ethiopia was unable to confirm its citizens were killed in the footage but condemned the ‘atrocious act’, a government official said.

The video shows the men at the coast wearing Guantanamo-style orange jumpsuits and being held at the neck by fighters in combats with balaclavas covering their faces. The victims inland are forced to kneel as militants dressed in combats and green masks stand behind them holding rifles.

It starts with what it called a ‘history of Christian-Muslim relations’, which includes scenes of militants destroying churches, graves and icons.

A masked fighter in black then brandishes a pistol as he vows to kill Christians if they do not convert.

In an apparent reference to Ethiopia’s attacks on neighbouring Somalia, whose population is almost entirely Muslim, he says: ‘Muslim blood shed under the hands of your religions is not cheap. To the nation of the cross we are now back again.’

The footage, which was released on websites and social media accounts officially linked to ISIS, also cuts to Christians in Syria explaining how they were given the choice of converting to Islam or paying a ‘special tax’.

At the end it switches between the two sets of captives – thought to be mainly migrant workers – with one group shot dead at point-blank range and the others beheaded on the beach. The video has not yet been verified.

The men – wearing Guantanamo-style orange jumpsuits – are held at the neck and forced to kneel by fighters in combats with balaclavas covering their faces

The men, thought to be migrant works, are described by Islamic State in the video as the 'followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church'

The men, thought to be migrant works, are described by Islamic State in the video as the ‘followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church’

The footage also shows around 12 men being shot in a desert area, believed to be in the south of the country, by militants wearing green balaclavas and combats

The footage also shows around 12 men being shot in a desert area, believed to be in the south of the country, by militants wearing green balaclavas and combats

A masked fighter in black (right) brandishing a pistol vows to kill Christians if they do not convert, saying: 'Muslim blood shed under the hands of your religions is not cheap. To the nation of the cross we are now back again'

A masked fighter in black (right) brandishing a pistol vows to kill Christians if they do not convert, saying: ‘Muslim blood shed under the hands of your religions is not cheap. To the nation of the cross we are now back again’

The victims are forced to kneel in front of the militants (above) before being shot at point-blank range simultaneously. The video bore the official logo of the IS media arm Al-Furqan and resembled previous footage released by the extremist group

The militant in black - who is completely covered apart from his eyes - remains flanked by two people holding guns throughout the clip

The militant in black – who is completely covered apart from his eyes – remains flanked by two people holding guns throughout the clip

CHRISTIANITY IN ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia is a predominantly Christian country with the religion being introduced in the country the 4th century, making it one of the oldest Christian states in the world.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is one of the oldest organized Christian bodies in the world, and more than 40 per cent of the population are members of the church.

Around 20 per cent of the population follow other branches of Christianity, a majority being Protestant.

Islam was not introduced in the country for another 300 years, and now about one third of Ethiopians identify as Muslim.

Initial reports did not make clear who the captives were or when they were captured.

The video bore the official logo of the IS media arm Al-Furqan and resembled previous footage released by the extremist group.

Redwan Hussein, an Ethiopian government spokesman, said officials were in contact with its embassy in Cairo to verify the video’s authenticity.

He said he believed those killed were likely to have been Ethiopian migrants hoping to reach Europe. Libya has become a hub for migrants across Africa hoping to cross the Mediterranean to enter Europe for work and better lives.

‘If this is confirmed, it will be a warning to people who wish to risk and travel to Europe though the dangerous route,’ Mr Hussein said.

He added that Ethiopia, which does not have an embassy in Libya, would help repatriate Ethiopians if they wanted to leave. Libyan officials were not immediately available for comment.

Abba Kaletsidk Mulugeta, an official with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church’s Patriarchate Office, said he also believed the victims were likely to have been migrants.

‘I believe this is just another case of the IS group killing Christians in the name of Islam. Our fellow citizens have just been killed on a faith-based violence that is totally unacceptable. This is outrageous,’ he said.

‘No religion orders the killing of other people, even people from another religion.’

Ethiopia’s options to retaliate remain slim, given its distance from Libya.

However, Ethiopian Ambassador to Egypt Mohammed Edrees said his country could partner with Cairo to strike the militants.

‘That could be an option,’ Mr Edrees said. ‘We will see and explore what is possible to deal with group.’

It comes just two months after the extremist group in Libya beheaded 21 captured Egyptian Christians on a beach (above)

It comes just two months after the extremist group in Libya beheaded 21 captured Egyptian Christians on a beach (above)

The latest video mirrored a film released in February showing militants beheading 21 captured Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach (pictured above), which immediately drew Egyptian airstrikes on the group's suspected positions in Libya

The latest video mirrored a film released in February showing militants beheading 21 captured Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach (pictured above), which immediately drew Egyptian airstrikes on the group’s suspected positions in Libya

Frederic Wehrey, a senior associate for the Middle East Programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said: ‘The Islamic State in Libya is still focused on this consolidation phase of announcing its presence through these very high-profile executions. But they face some structural limits in terms of how much local support they can get because they haven’t captured real revenue streams.’

It comes just two months after IS militants filmed themselves beheading 21 captured Egyptian Christians on a similar beach, which immediately drew Egyptian airstrikes on the group’s suspected positions in Libya.

ISIS has been able to gain a foothold amid chaos in Libya, where two governments backed by rival alliances of militias are battling each other as well as extremist groups.

The group is also advancing in Iraq, where it has captured three villages near the city of Ramadi.

 Islamic State fighters, pictured carrying flags and dressed in black, have been able to gain a foothold amid the chaos in Libya

 Islamic State fighters, pictured carrying flags and dressed in black, have been able to gain a foothold amid the chaos in Libya

More than 90,000 people have fled the ISIS’s advance in Anbar, a United Nations humanitarian agency said earlier this morning.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement that civilians are fleeing Ramadi as well as the three nearby villages captured by the IS group a few days ago.

Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said: ‘Our top priority is delivering life-saving assistance to people who are fleeing – food, water and shelter are highest on the list of priorities.’

Iraqi officials in Anbar have described Ramadi as a ghost town, with empty streets and closed shops.

Iraqi troops backed by Shiite militias and U.S.-led airstrikes managed to dislodge ISIS, which controls large parts of Iraq and Syria and wants to redraw the map of the Middle East, from the northern city of Tikrit earlier this month.

But the troops have struggled against the militants in Anbar, which saw some of the heaviest fighting of the eight-year U.S. military intervention that ended in 2011.

Elsewhere today, the US-led coalition said Kurdish forces recaptured 11 villages in Iraq’s Kirkuk province from ISIS following days of intense clashes. The coalition said the area of about 25 square miles (65 square kilometers) was south of the city of Kirkuk.

Ethiopians in Israeli Army ambivalent integration

BY MITCH GINSBURG

original title – Mixed results for army’s Ethiopian integration program

IDF tells Knesset committee incarceration rates were down but that dishonorable discharge figures are rising.

The incarceration rate of Israeli soldiers of Ethiopian heritage has dropped considerably during the first half of 2014 as opposed to the same period in 2013, the army told a Knesset oversight committee on Sunday

The overall figures, however, are still troubling, the army conceded, with the community still severely over-represented in army prisons and the dishonorable discharge rate hovering at 22.8 percent for men and 10.6% for women – both figures that have risen slightly over recent years and which are well above the national averages of 16.5% and 7.5% respectively.
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“Although the figures do show a slight improvement, the gaps are still large and in certain realms there has even been a regression,” said MK Omer Bar-Lev (Labor), a colonel in the IDF reserves and the chair of the subcommittee of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that heard the IDF report on Sunday. The committee is closely monitoring the army’s progress in integrating the Ethiopian community successfully into its ranks.

Motivation to serve in the IDF is high among the 130,000 or so Israelis of Ethiopian heritage, IDF data indicated, with 89% of teenage boys and 57% of teenage girls joining the army.
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The discrepancy between the desire to serve at the onset and the service record upon discharge has spurred the army into action. Early in 2013, the army’s first female major general, the recently retired commander of the IDF’s Manpower Division, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai, set aside funds, despite across-the-board cuts in the army’s budget, for the establishment of a department devoted solely to the advancement of soldiers of Ethiopian heritage.

The army now runs a 24-hour call center in Hebrew and Amharic for soldiers, pre-draft teens and parents. It streamlined the process of requesting financial aid by requiring only the recommendation of an officer and an NCO, and not the bevy of bank statements required of other soldiers requesting assistance. It mandated yearly home visits by direct commanders, beginning no later than eight weeks after a soldier’s draft date. And, among a score of other measures, it launched a pre-army program solely for Israelis of Ethiopian heritage, AMIR, and began administering an alternative set of evaluation tests which gauge cognitive capacity rather than aptitude.

Maj. Hila Halpern, the commander of the new department, told the MKs that the new testing method had proven effective, enabling the army to post soldiers from the community to more challenging and interesting positions in the Air Force and the Intelligence Corps, among other units, and led to the corresponding drop in the incarceration rate, which fell over the past year from 10.8% to 9.1% – though the reduced figure is still more than double the community’s representation in the army at large.

The incarceration rate of Israeli soldiers of Ethiopian heritage has dropped considerably during the first half of 2014 as opposed to the same period in 2013, the army told a Knesset oversight committee on Sunday.

The overall figures, however, are still troubling, the army conceded, with the community still severely over-represented in army prisons and the dishonorable discharge rate hovering at 22.8 percent for men and 10.6% for women – both figures that have risen slightly over recent years and which are well above the national averages of 16.5% and 7.5% respectively.

“Although the figures do show a slight improvement, the gaps are still large and in certain realms there has even been a regression,” said MK Omer Bar-Lev (Labor), a colonel in the IDF reserves and the chair of the subcommittee of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that heard the IDF report on Sunday. The committee is closely monitoring the army’s progress in integrating the Ethiopian community successfully into its ranks.

Motivation to serve in the IDF is high among the 130,000 or so Israelis of Ethiopian heritage, IDF data indicated, with 89% of teenage boys and 57% of teenage girls joining the army.

The discrepancy between the desire to serve at the onset and the service record upon discharge has spurred the army into action. Early in 2013, the army’s first female major general, the recently retired commander of the IDF’s Manpower Division, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai, set aside funds, despite across-the-board cuts in the army’s budget, for the establishment of a department devoted solely to the advancement of soldiers of Ethiopian heritage.

The army now runs a 24-hour call center in Hebrew and Amharic for soldiers, pre-draft teens and parents. It streamlined the process of requesting financial aid by requiring only the recommendation of an officer and an NCO, and not the bevy of bank statements required of other soldiers requesting assistance. It mandated yearly home visits by direct commanders, beginning no later than eight weeks after a soldier’s draft date. And, among a score of other measures, it launched a pre-army program solely for Israelis of Ethiopian heritage, AMIR, and began administering an alternative set of evaluation tests which gauge cognitive capacity rather than aptitude.

Maj. Hila Halpern, the commander of the new department, told the MKs that the new testing method had proven effective, enabling the army to post soldiers from the community to more challenging and interesting positions in the Air Force and the Intelligence Corps, among other units, and led to the corresponding drop in the incarceration rate, which fell over the past year from 10.8% to 9.1% – though the reduced figure is still more than double the community’s representation in the army at large.

Bar-Lev scolded the army at the outset for sending him a copy of the new figures “eight and a half minutes” before the start of the session, and insisted that the drop in the number of male officers and the rise in the number dishonorable discharges suggested the army was taking credit for the improvements but deeming as inexplicable the setbacks. “You keep finding the coin under the beam of the flashlight,” he said.

There are currently 10 times more soldiers of Ethiopian heritage being dishonorably discharged than attending officers’ training school, he added.

MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima) asked Halpern what had become of the committee’s earlier recommendation to change the way soldiers from the community are put on trial, with an emphasis on higher-ranking officers meting out justice. “That is the sort of change we are looking for,” said Hasson, a former deputy head of the Shin Bet. Halpern replied that the army was still weighing the matter.

Ziva Mekonen Degu, the executive director of the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews, lamented the army’s “segregationist” approach, adding that the solution to the problem can’t be based on skin color alone.

MK Penina Tamano-Shata (Yesh Atid) told The Times of Israel in May that the Amir course, which is solely for members of the community, “is an embarrassment and a disgrace and a certificate of poverty.” Can you imagine this happening in the US Army, she asked, “a course only for African-Americans?”

Seated at the head of the committee’s large oval table, Bar-Lev ignored the charges of segregation and instead asked the army to prepare a plan for the successful re-entry of the soldiers into the civilian world. “In the end, most of the years that these young men and women serve the state are after their discharge,” he said, adding that bridging the gaps for these teens “is a social and security imperative of the first order.”

 

Caribbeans Demande Europeans for Reparation for slavery & Ethiopia and Ghana for citzenship

 

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 ‘Our aim is to open a dialogue with European states’• Wide range of support sought from former slaving countries

Heads of state of 15 Caribbean nations will gather in St Vincent on Monday to unveil a plan demanding reparations from Europe for the enduring suffering inflicted by the Atlantic slave trade.

Sir Hilary Beckles, who chairs the reparations task force charged with framing the 10 demands, said the plan would set out areas of dialogue with former slave-trading nations including the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. He dismissed claims that the Caribbean nations were attempting to extract vast sums from European taxpayers, insisting that money was not the main objective.

“The British media has been obsessed with suggesting that we expect billions of dollars to be extracted from European states,” he said. “Contrary to the British media, we are not exclusively concerned with financial transactions, we are concerned more with justice for the people who continue to suffer harm at so many levels of social life.”

Beckles also tried to assuage fears that “this is opening up a can of worms leading to litigation”. “That is not our aim at all,” he said. “Our aim is to open up a dialogue with European states.”

The 10-point plan will be unveiled on Monday at the heads of government meeting of Caricom, the regional political and economic body. Given the head of steam behind the reparations movement in the Caribbean, the blueprint is expected to be approved. It will then go forward for discussion with European governments.

The claims are being channeled through the United Nations convention on the elimination of racial discrimination, and processed with the help of the London law firm Leigh Day.

Among the demands made on European former slave trade nations are that they:

• provide diplomatic help to persuade countries such as Ghana and Ethiopia to offer citizenship to the children of people from the Caribbean who “return” to Africa. Some 30,000 have made such a journey to Africa and have been offered generous settlement packages, but lack of citizenship rights for their children is causing difficulties;

• devise a development strategy to help improve the lives of poor communities in the Caribbean still devastated by the after-effects of slavery;

• 3 support cultural exchanges between the Caribbean and west Africa to help Caribbean people of African descent rebuild their sense of history and identity;

•   back literacy drives designed to improve education levels that are still dire in many Caribbean communities;

•  provide medical assistance to the region that is struggling from high levels of chronic diseases such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes that the Caricom reparations commission links to the fallout from slavery.

One of the most important, and most contentious, demands will be for European countries to issue an unqualified apology for what they did in shipping millions of men, women and children from Africa to the Caribbean and America in the 17th and 18th centuries. Beckles was scathing of European leaders who have issued statements of regret about slavery, including Tony Blair who in 2007, as UK prime minister, said the slave trade was a matter of “deep sorrow and regret” .

“It was disgraceful to speak of regret rather than to apologise,” Beckles said. “That was a disrespectful act on Blair’s part as it implied that nothing can be done about it – ‘Take our expression of regret and go away’.”

The most positive response from any of the relevant European governments has come so far from Sweden, which said it has “respect for the process” on reparations emerging from the Caribbean. But the UK government has expressed scepticism, with the Foreign Office  “we do not see reparations as the answer. Instead, we should concentrate on identifying ways forward.”

For Beckles, a historian who is pro-vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies in Barbados, the reparations issue is personal. His great-great-grandparents were slaves on the Barbadian plantation owned by ancestors of the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Beckles’s great-great-grandmother was herself a Cumberbatch.

Cumberbatch, who plays a plantation owner in the Oscar-winning film 12 Years A Slave, has said he took on a previous role as the abolitionist William Pitt the Younger as a “sort of apology” for his family’s involvement in the trade.

12yearsaslave-diaalnews.com

Beckles said that 12 Years A Slave, which was directed by Steve McQueen, a Briton of Grenadian descent, and starred Chiwetel Ejiofor, a Briton of Nigerian descent, had made a “very important step in the right direction” in its unstinting portrayal of the brutality of slavery. He said he would like to see a similar treatment of the subject from the perspective of Britain rather than America.

“America has made efforts to reflect on their own history, but Britain has made no such effort to do so. If the British public were shown slavery in their own society seen through the eyes of the enslaved, they would get a much better understanding,” he sai

Dianne Feinstein “CIA Spied on Intelligence Committee”

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REUTERS, 12/03 00:18 CET

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 A bitter dispute between the CIA and the U.S. Senate committee that oversees it burst into the open on Tuesday when the committee chairwoman accused the agency of spying on Congress and possibly breaking the law.
Veteran Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said the CIA had searched computers used by committee staffers examining CIA documents when researching the agency’s counter-terrorism operations and its use of harsh interrogation methods such as simulated drowning or “waterboarding.”
Speaking on the Senate floor, Feinstein condemned how the CIA had handled the committee’s investigation into the agency’s detention and interrogation program started under President George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Human rights advocates condemn the interrogation practices as torture.
“I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search (of committee computers) may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the Constitution,” said Feinstein, who is normally a strong ally of U.S. intelligence agencies.
She disclosed that the Justice Department had been asked by two different CIA offices to investigate whether committee officials or the agency itself might have violated the law.
Her accusations of CIA-led computer searches were denied by CIA Director John Brennan. They brought into the open a simmering row between the committee and the agency that had been brewing for months and disrupted the committee’s work.
The committee investigation, which resulted in 6,000 pages of findings which remain highly classified, was meant to comprehensively document what the agency did and assess the effectiveness of its methods.
Sources familiar with the findings say they condemn the CIA’s aggressive interrogations and question whether they produced significant intelligence information. The CIA has given the committee a classified rebuttal to the report.
Feinstein said that in January, the CIA’s Brennan requested an emergency meeting with her and the committee’s top Republican, Senator Saxby Chambliss.
She said he informed them that agency personnel, without notifying the committee or seeking its approval, had conducted a “search” of computers that committee investigators were using to review documents related to theCIA program.
CIA SEARCHES
She charged that the search may have 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 or surveillance.
Brennan denied any charge of computer hacking. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn’t do that,” he said in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank.
He said the agency was not trying to thwart the release of the panel’s report. “We are not trying at all to prevent its release,” he said.
Feinstein has been pushing to make the report’s findings public but infighting with the CIA had meant the formal process to declassify the document had not even begun. Feinstein said she hoped declassification could begin before the end of March.
A key dispute is over how the committee acquired what Feinstein and others describe as the CIA’s own internal review of its interrogation tactics and secret prisons, and its use of “rendition,” a practice in which prisoners are transferred between countries without formal judicial process.
Feinstein and committee sources say they had found the review in the computer system the CIA set up for their use and at some point their staff printed out a copy and took it to their offices on Capitol Hill.
In a letter Brennan wrote to Feinstein in January, which was obtained by Reuters, he acknowledged the data had been deposited in the part of the CIA computer network to which Senate investigators had access but said he did not know how this happened.
Feinstein said the review mirrored key concerns outlined in her staff’s report and differed sharply from the official CIA response to the committee’s investigation.
INTIMIDATION
Partly as a result of the committee accessing the internal review, security sources said, the CIA’s acting general counsel sent what is called a “crimes report” to the Justice Department complaining about the actions of committee staff.
Feinstein condemned this action on Tuesday as an attempt to intimidate committee staff. She bristled at suggestions her staff had gotten information improperly and said the CIA itself provided her committee with more than 6.2 million documents.
“The committee clearly did not hack into CIA computers to obtain these documents, as has been suggested in the press,” the California Democrat said.
Brennan said he had also asked the CIA’s in-house inspector general to investigate. That led to another “crimes report” being filed by that office with the Justice Department related to committee complaints that the agency had violated the law by searching the computer system its investigators had used.
Brennan, who took the helm of the CIA a year ago, said the agency was eager to relegate the rendition, detention and interrogation program to history.
The dispute heightened concerns about the effectiveness of congressional oversight of U.S. spy agencies. Concern had already been raised by revelations by fugitive U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about sweeping electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency.
Brennan vigorously defended the CIA’s commitment to working with Congress. “We are a far better organization because of congressional oversight,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell and Will Dunham; Editing by David Storey and Cynthia Osterman)