The first part of the inside story of the Senate investigation into torture, the crisis with the CIA it spurred and the man whose life would never be the same
Daniel Jones had always been friendly with the CIA personnel who stood outside his door.
When he needed to take something out of the secured room where he read mountains of their classified material, they typically obliged. An informal understanding had taken hold after years of working together, usually during off-peak hours, so closely that Jones had parking privileges at an agency satellite office not far from its McLean, Virginia, headquarters. They would ask Jones if anything he wanted to remove contained real names or cover names of any agency officials, assets or partners, or anything that could compromise an operation. He would say no. They would nod, he would wish them a good night, and they would go their separate ways.
After midnight in the summer of 2013, Jones deliberately violated that accord.
Jones, a counter-terrorism staffer, had become the chief investigator for the Senate intelligence committee, the CIA’s congressional overseer, on its biggest inquiry. For five years, he had been methodically sifting through internal CIA accounts of its infamous torture program, a process that had begun after the committee learned – thanks to a New York Times article, not the agency – that a senior official had destroyed videotapes that recorded infamously brutal interrogations. The subsequent committee inquiry had deeply strained a relationship with Langley that both sides badly wanted to maintain. The source of that strain was simple: having read millions of internal emails, cables and accounts of agency torture, Jones had come to believe everything the CIA had told Congress, the Bush and Obama White Houses and the public was a lie.