A senior US senator has accused the CIA of illegally accessing a computer network used by a Senate panel investigating the agency over its alleged use of torture. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, made the accusations public on Tuesday, exposing a previously behind-the-scenes dispute between Congress and the CIA. Read more >>
The cartoon by Chappatte from The International New York Times shows the United States Capitol (home of the US Senate) and the CIA headquarters (of course, they are not really in such close proximity since the Capitol is in Washington, D.C., and the CIA headquarters is located in in Langley, Virginia, a few miles west of Washington, D.C.). A member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has been looking at the CIA through a telescope, asks a colleague, "Remind me, who's monitoring whom?" (The CIA have an array of spying equipment directed at the Capitol).
1. Although most English speakers wouldn't think twice about saying "Who's monitoring who?", according to the rules of formal grammar, 'whom' should be used when, as here, it is in the object position in a sentence. Another example would be Whom did you see? (though many would consider this to be stilted and overly formal).
2. The verb 'monitor' is used with a double meaning. The CIA is monitoring (i.e., spying on) the Senate, while the Senate is monitoring (i.e., keeping under official review) the CIA.