concedes it spied on U.S. Senate investigators, apologizes
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[August 01, 2014]
By Mark Hosenball
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
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.
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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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