There’s No Honor Among Thieves

There’s no honor among thieves so this story shouldn’t surprise anybody:

Apparently, nobody’s exempt from the CIA’s intelligence gathering, not even its own intelligence partners. According to a set of documents published by WikiLeaks, the CIA uses a tool called “ExpressLane” that hides behind a fake software update to collect information from agencies around the world that use its biometric collection system. In the US, the list includes fellow government agencies like the FBI, the NSA and Homeland Security. These partners are supposed to share data with the CIA, but clearly, the intelligence service wants to make sure they’re not keeping anything from the agency.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA), and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are all tasked with spying. In the case of the FBI, it is tasked with spying on domestic individuals. Both the NSA and CIA are supposed to spy on foreign individuals but they always seem to get caught spying on domestic individuals as well. Since those two agencies are willing to violate the rules that are supposed to govern their behavior, it shouldn’t surprise anybody that they’re both violating those rules by spying on each other.

Now the question is, what will happen with this revelation? Will Congress hold a hearing and punish the CIA for surveilling other agencies? It’s a possibility since the State generally doesn’t take transgressions against it kindly. Then again, Congress has been happy to stand idly by as agencies within the executive branch violate every rule written to govern their power. And since the CIA is spying on everybody, it’s quite possible that the agency has some good dirt on some of the members of Congress (and if you’ve read anything on the history of the CIA, you know that the agency wouldn’t be above using blackmail against members of Congress). If Congress ignores this transgression like it has ignored the NSA’s transgressions, it will further embolden government agencies to violate further rules governing their behavior and the vicious cycle will continue on its merry way.