CIA probing allegations it improperly monitored Senate committee: reports

WASHINGTON Thu Mar 6, 2014 6:24am EST

U.S. Senator and chair of the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Investigations Subcommittee, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) questions Credit Suisse officials on Capitol Hill in Washington February 26, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

U.S. Senator and chair of the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Investigations Subcommittee, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) questions Credit Suisse officials on Capitol Hill in Washington February 26, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA's internal watchdog has begun a probe of whether members of the agency secretly monitored a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of Bush-era detention and interrogation policies, according to media reports on Wednesday.

McClatchy Newspapers and the New York Times, quoting individuals with knowledge of the investigation, said the CIA's inspector general launched the probe after members of Congress complained that agency officers had improperly accessed the work of Intelligence Committee staffers.

According to individuals cited in the reports, CIA employees went so far as to gain access to computer networks the committee was using in its work for a report on the interrogation program, which many have equated with torture, conducted during President George W. Bush's administration.

Two sources contacted by Reuters confirmed the probe by the CIA inspector general.

McClatchy reported late on Wednesday that congressional aides took with them from the CIA an internal agency review of the Bush-era policies that at least one lawmaker has publicly said showed that CIA leaders misled the Intelligence Committee in disputing some of the committee's findings.

When the CIA confronted the committee on the issue, staff members concluded the spy agency had been monitoring computers they had been using in a high-security research room at the CIA campus, the report said.

The Senate committee's draft report, nearly 6,000 pages long, concludes there is little evidence the "enhanced interrogation techniques" produced counter-terrorism breakthroughs.

The panel's Republican minority disputes those findings. The report itself remains highly classified and it is unclear whether portions of it will ever be made public.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said in a statement that "if, as alleged in the media, CIA accessed without permission or authority a computer network dedicated for use by a Senate committee, it would be an extremely serious matter."

The Michigan Democrat said such activity, if true, "would impede Congress' ability to carry out its constitutional oversight responsibilities and could violate federal law."

CIA Director John Brennan said he was "deeply dismayed that some members of the Senate have decided to make spurious allegations about CIA actions that are wholly unsupported by the facts.

"I am very confident that the appropriate authorities reviewing this matter will determine where wrongdoing, if any, occurred in either the Executive Branch or Legislative Branch," Brennan said in a statement.

"Until then, I would encourage others to refrain from outbursts that do a disservice to the important relationship that needs to be maintained between intelligence officials and Congressional overseers."

A CIA spokesman declined to elaborate beyond Brennan's statement.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney and Mark Hosenball. Editing by Ken Wills)

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Comments (6)
WhyMeLord wrote:
they think they can get away with anything, regardless of the law.
Nobody, or any organization, should put themselves above the law.
Risky business for organizations, especially spy-based, to go rogue.
The CIA running loose is worse than letting a fox in a chicken coop.

Mar 05, 2014 11:33pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Cleveland2012 wrote:
I am proud to say I worked in the Intell field, and I spent a couple years dodging flying metal in Afghanistan. President Obama needs to put a leash on this carnival of what the agencies are now doing. It is time to fire people. Heads need to roll and it needs to get cleaned up. If the President lacks the guts to do anything, then it is time to make sure that he is disgraced in history. Why? Because our country is going down the drain in front of our very eyes, and it is on his happening on his watch. Everyone involved in this needs to be out of work today. We need to get off the US government off of the slippery slope of breaking the law with impunity. Such disregard for law undermines our truly great nation.

Mar 06, 2014 6:03am EST  --  Report as abuse
Tiu wrote:
The CIA is investigating itself, hang on let me check, no it’s no April Fools day… but they still expect people to swallow this sh*t.
All paid for with your tax money, which doesn’t even cover the interest being charged any more!

Mar 06, 2014 6:12am EST  --  Report as abuse
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