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CIA Chief Apologizes To Sens. Feinstein, Chambliss Over Computer Intrusion

Ending a contentious and very public spat between two branches of government, Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan apologized to Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, because some CIA officers improperly accessed computers used by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

If you remember, this spat started when Feinstein, a Democrat from California, took to the floor of the Senate to say that the CIA was tampering with the committee's work by searching through computers provided by the agency so the committee could access classified documents on a network called RDINet.

As we reported:

" 'In place of asking any questions, the CIA's unauthorized search of the committee computers was followed by an allegation — which we now have seen repeated anonymously in the press — that the committee staff had somehow obtained the document through unauthorized or criminal means,' she said."In a separate appearance in Washington today, CIA Director John Brennan said the agency had not hacked into the committee's computers." 'Nothing could be further from the truth,' Brennan said at a Council on Foreign Relations event. 'We wouldn't do that. I mean, that's just beyond the scope of reason.' "

In a statement on Thursday, CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said the CIA launched an internal investigation into the matter, and the CIA's Office of Inspector General found "that some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between SSCI and the CIA in 2009 regarding access to the RDINet."

"The Director subsequently informed the [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] Chairman and Vice Chairman of the findings and apologized to them for such actions by CIA officers as described in the OIG report," Boyd said.

Boyd added that Brennan is commissioning an "accountability board," which will be chaired by former Sen. Evan Bayh.

It's important to note that all of this goes back to the Bush administration's use of controversial interrogation techniques. Feinstein accused the CIA of destroying evidence having to do with the program, and the CIA has accused Feinstein's committee of improperly removing documents from the RDINet system.

According to Feinstein, Brennan told her the CIA searched the committee's computers to find out if staff members had removed an internal report about the harsh interrogation techniques.


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