Senate accuses CIA of seaching computer network established for Congress

11/03/2014 18:42

Source:  Washington Post 

The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday publicly accused the CIA of secretly removing documents from computers used by her panel to investigate the agency's controversial interrogation program and said that an internal agency investigation of the action has been referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the activities of agency officials "may have undermined the constitutional framework" of congressional oversight.

The situation amounted to an attempted intimidation of congressional investigators, she said, adding: "I am not taking it lightly."

Besides possible constitutional violations, Feinstein said the CIA may also have violated the Fourth Amendment, various federal laws and a presidential executive order that bars the agency from conducting domestic searches and surveillance. She said she has asked for an apology and recognition that the CIA search of the committee's computers was inappropriate, but, "I have received neither."

Her comments blow open a dispute that has simmered behind the scenes in recent weeks after press reports said that the CIA had searched computers intended to be used solely by the panel to in an effort to determine how committee staff members gained access to a draft version of an internal agency review of its controversial interrogation program. The computers were provided by the CIA and housed at a separate facility in Virginia operated by an agency contractors.

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