CIA concedes it spied on U.S. Senate investigators, apologizes

WASHINGTON Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:56pm EDT

The logo of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is shown in the lobby of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia  March 3, 2005. REUTERS

The logo of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is shown in the lobby of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia March 3, 2005.

Credit: Reuters

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA conceded on Thursday that it had improperly monitored computers used by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee in an investigation of interrogation tactics and secret prisons for terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Central Intelligence Agency spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement that the agency's inspector general had determined that "some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent" with an understanding between the agency and the Senate panel.

Boyd said CIA Director John Brennan had informed Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee's chairwoman, and its senior Republican, Saxby Chambliss, of the finding and apologized.

The Senate committee has been investigating excesses allegedly committed by CIA officers who used harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding or simulated drowning, and established a network of secret prisons abroad.

Human rights activists and critics of the CIA's methods, including some U.S. politicians, have described the CIA's interrogation methods as torture.

According to an unclassified summary of the inspector general's report obtained by Reuters, he found that five agency employees, two lawyers and three information technology staffers, "improperly accessed" a data network Senate investigators were using to pursue their inquiry.

The summary said the CIA's Office of Security also looked at how Senate investigators accessed the data network and conducted a "keyword search of all and review of some" of the investigators' emails sent through the network.

As tension built between the CIA and the committee this year, the agency asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether committee staffers used the network to access privileged CIA information.

FOCUS ON BRENNAN

However, the inspector general's summary said it turned out that the "factual basis" for the criminal referral the agency sent to the Justice Department "was not supported" because the lawyer making the referral "had been provided inaccurate information."

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Brennan had "done what is necessary to get to the bottom what had happened."

The CIA said Brennan had ordered a further inquiry, headed by former Senator Evan Bayh, to see if disciplinary actions or institutional reforms were needed.

Senator Mark Udall, a Democrat on the intelligence committee, went further, calling upon Brennan to resign and saying the activity demonstrated "a tremendous failure of leadership."

But there was no such call from the committee leaders.

Feinstein declined to comment. Chambliss noted that Brennan had kept him and Feinstein informed to date, telling reporters, "Until I find otherwise, or unless he fails to hold individuals accountable that breached the Senate computer, I'm going to withhold judgment."

The White House is expected to deliver a declassified summary of the committee's report, and the CIA and Republican responses, to Congress by the end of this week.

Officials familiar with the report said it concludes that the use of coercive interrogations did not produce any significant counter-terrorism breakthrough in the years after the 2001 attacks and that CIA officials misstated or exaggerated the results to other agencies and to Congress.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball, additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by David Storey, Dan Grebler, Richard Chang, Cynthia Osterman, Toni Reinhold)

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Comments (15)
herbxerx wrote:
Sorry . . . That we were caught

Jul 31, 2014 1:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
brotherkenny4 wrote:
They spy on everyone and congress knows this, so this is just a bit of theatre to try and make you think that congress will do something or can do something. If congress questions the CIA it is because the CIA wants to give the impression that they are not a criminal organization and that congress controls them.

Jul 31, 2014 3:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
REnninga wrote:
“CIA concedes it spied on U.S. Senate investigators, apologizes”

RESPONSE:
Wow, and you thought YOUR job was boring. Imagine the tedium of “spying” on members of Congress. Yawn,…..Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Jul 31, 2014 3:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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