WASHINGTON, March 12 The CIA's relationship with
Congress would be ruined if it is proven that the agency
illegally spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee, the
chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said on Wednesday.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat who heads the Senate
committee, said on Tuesday the Central Intelligence Agency may
have broken the law when it searched her panel's computers to
find out how staff obtained an internal agency review of the
U.S. interrogation program of suspected terrorists.
The internal review was more critical than the official CIA
report on the controversial program, which was put in place
after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"It's troubling to see this, but I do have immense respect
for Senator Feinstein, so if she's going down to the
floor, she clearly believes something untoward happened,"
Representative Mike Rogers, who heads the intelligence panel in
the House of Representatives, said in an interview with CNN.
Rogers, a Republican, said that Feinstein's charges needed
to be investigated to ensure the CIA did not break any laws.
"That would be a pretty horrific situation and would destroy
that legislative-CIA relationship," he said.
John Brennan, who has been CIA director for a year, quickly
denied Feinstein's accusation on Tuesday.
Feinstein also said the CIA had tried to intimidate her
committee's staff by complaining about its investigation to the
Justice Department, a tactic that Rogers said was troubling.
"I think that was a horrible decision," Rogers said. "So we
need to unwind this, get tensions down, and find out what the
facts are so we can get this behind us.
"We need to find out what happened, was this a very senior
level decision to do something that violated the law? ... But we
shouldn't taint the whole agency. The agency is well-overseen,
lots of oversight, and they're doing some really incredible work
to protect the United States of America," he said.
(Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Paul Simao)