NEWS

CIA Admits to Breaching Senate Intelligence Committee Computers

By Holly Gilbert Stowell

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has admitted to spying on a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee, despite CIA Director John Brennan’s profuse denial of the allegations when they first surfaced in March. McClatchy reported the statement today, but the CIA released the information to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

After conducting an internal investigation, Brennan apologized to the top two leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying that his agency improperly breached their computers to review classified files regarding the interrogations of prisoners.

According to the Washington Post, “A statement released by the CIA on Tuesday acknowledged that agency employees had searched areas of that computer network that were supposed to be accessible only to committee investigators. Agency employees were attempting to discover how congressional aides had obtained a secret CIA internal report on the interrogation program.”

In March, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) had accused the CIA of violating federal law by improperly searching the committee’s computers for information about the CIA’s interrogation techniques and Bush-era prison system. Brennan also accused the committee of snooping on CIA files.

The computer network was located in Northern Virginia, and was reserved solely for Senate investigators working at an agency facility. The CIA breached the computers when it “suspected that the intelligence committee had improperly obtained an internal C.I.A. report about the detention program,” which was discontinued.

However, the statement did not include specifics about the findings of the report, which was written by the agency’s inspector general David Buckley. In the statement, Brennan said he ordered the CIA to set up an internal review board to look into the incident and determine “potential disciplinary measures.”

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