evaluating complaints about hacking by CIA, Senate panel: sources
Send a link to a friend
[March 19, 2014]
By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The FBI is
evaluating separate criminal referrals sent to the Justice Department by
the CIA in its dispute with Senate investigators over access to
documents about the agency's "enhanced interrogation" practices,
officials familiar with the matter said.
The CIA and one of its two main congressional overseers, the
Senate Intelligence Committee, have traded accusations that each
inappropriately intruded into computer systems containing highly
classified data about the Bush-era practices, which human rights
activists have described as torture.
The CIA's inspector general sent the Justice Department a "crimes
report" about allegations that the agency had intruded into a
computer network that was supposed to be exclusively reserved for
Senate investigators. The allegations suggested that the CIA did
this in an apparent attempt to learn how the congressional
investigators got access to documents that the agency deemed to be
covered by legal privilege.
Meanwhile, the agency's acting general counsel sent a second "crimes
report" to the Justice Department asking it to look into whether
Senate investigators somehow obtained inappropriate access, via CIA
networks, to the same documents.
The officials familiar with the matter said the FBI is now examining
the referrals to see if full-scale investigations are merited. The
Justice Department had no comment and the FBI did not immediately
respond to requests for comment.
Two officials familiar with the matter said that the FBI has found
itself in an uncomfortable position. It would be politically
awkward, if not highly contentious, for the agency to open a
full-scale criminal investigation in one case but not the other. One
of the officials said that most likely the FBI would prefer that
both cases quietly go away.
[to top of second column]
In a fierce speech on the Senate floor, Intelligence Committee
Chairman Dianne Feinstein last week accused the CIA of spying on
Congress and possibly breaking the law by searching computers used
by her investigators.
A person sympathetic to the CIA suggested Feinstein's investigators
somehow hacked into parts of a CIA network they were not supposed to
have access to and found and downloaded a copy of documents that
included the agency's own internal account of how it carried out
The committee has produced a 6,000 page draft report on the programs
that sources say strongly condemns now-abandoned agency
interrogation techniques such as "waterboarding" or simulated
drowning, and concludes that such techniques did not produce
significant counter-terrorism breakthroughs. Although it was
completed more than a year ago, the still-secret document has not
yet gone through the formal process of declassification.
(Editing by Alistair Bell and Steve Orlofsky)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.