On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that as part of his overarching investigation into how the Russia probe was conducted, Attorney General William Barr has directed the Justice Department to look into the practices of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Barr has tapped John Durham, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, to oversee the interviewing of CIA agents, and the agency director, Gina Haspel, has said she will give Barr whatever he needs.
According to the Times, although no one at the CIA is under criminal suspicion, the investigation has “provoked anxiety” at the agency, and “senior agency officials have questioned why the C.I.A.’s analytical work should be subjected to a federal prosecutor’s scrutiny.”
The CIA, as a foreign intelligence service, does not have a mandate to investigate Americans, and as a rule, refers domestic matters to the FBI if necessary.
Barr has made investigating the investigators one of his top priorities upon taking office, and has publicly validated conspiracy theories pushed by President Donald Trump and his allies that the Russia investigation was a political plot to ruin him. He has suggested, with no evidence, that there was inappropriate “spying” by intelligence officials on the Trump campaign, and has even suggested that Trump had a right to try to shut down the investigation because it made him angry.