News | Oregon | Politics

Wyden: CIA 'Embedded In A Culture Of Misinformation'

OPB | March 18, 2014 9:42 p.m. | Updated: March 19, 2014 8:13 a.m. | Portland

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Senior officials at the CIA are “embedded in a culture of misinformation,” according to Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.

Kayo Lackey / OPB

Wyden sits on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Last week Sen. Diane Feinstein, who heads the committee, alleged the Central Intelligence Agency searched its files.

Wyden says that over the last several months, senior officials at the CIA have made a number of inaccurate statements.

Speaking to about 700 people at the World Affairs Council of Oregon, he blamed provisions of the Patriot Act, “This secret body of law and set of secret surveillance authorities have created a culture, an embedded culture in which senior officials frequently make inaccurate and misleading statements about their authorities and their activities and then fail to correct the public, even when they get called out on it,” Wyden said.

In response to the committee allegations last week, CIA director John Brennan said  ‘nothing could be further from the truth.’

Wyden also talked about the NSA’s characterization of its telephone surveillance program, “In 2012 the director of the National Security Agency was asked about domestic surveillance in a public forum. And he said, and I quote: ‘The NSA doesn’t hold data on US Citizens.’ He could have avoided the question. Given a non-answer. I can’t get into it. But he unequivocally said “no.” You can see his statement on YouTube,” said Wyden.

Edward Snowden, a contractor, later provided reporters with secret documents on NSA surveillance programs that revealed the bulk collection of phone records from millions of Americans.

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