► Lawmakers from Crimea arrived in Russia today to begin laying the groundwork for the region to join Russia. Just yesterday, Crimea’s regional assembly voted to secede from Ukraine and to hold a referendum on March 16 for the region’s voters to ratify the decision. Russian Parliament leaders have announced that they support a vote by Crimea to break away from Ukraine and become a new region of the Russian Federation. Valentina I. Matviyenko, the chairwoman of the upper house of Russia’s Parliament, “compared the vote to a scheduled referendum in Scotland on whether to become independent from Britain” without addressing the fact that London has agreed to the vote, The New York Times reports. Ukraine’s new interim government has opposed the referendum.
► The CIA is facing criticism as claims surfaced this week that it searched computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to find how staffers gained access to a draft version of an internal agency review of its interrogation program. The agency notified the committee, which has oversight power over the CIA, of the search after it was conducted and the CIA’s inspector general has launched an investigation into the agency’s conduct, reports The Washington Post. The inspector general has also made a referral to the Justice Department to if there are grounds for a criminal inquiry. CIA Director John Brennan said that he was “deeply dismayed” about the allegations that the search was a breach of separation of powers and that they are “wholly unsupported by the facts,” according to the Post.
► Privacy advocates have asked U.S. regulators to intervene in Facebook’s acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp until there’s a better understanding of how the company plans to use personal data of WhatsApp’s users. The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy filed a joint complaint with the Federal Trade Commission asking the regulator to investigate the deal “specifically with regard to the ability of Facebook to access WhatsApp’s store of user mobile phone numbers and metadata,” according to Reuters. Facebook announced last month that it intends to buy the messaging service for $19 billion in cash and stock and said that “WhatsApp will operate as a separate company and will honor its commitments to privacy and security.”