WASHINGTON, D.C.: A top United States (US) lawmaker’s hotly disputed charge that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) illegally spied on Senate staff has roiled the intelligence community, fraying ties between the agency and its overseers in Congress.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein brought what had been a behind-the-scenes spat into the public glare on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) with her furious broadside against the CIA, saying its agents searched computers used by staffers investigating its interrogation methods.
“I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution,” Feinstein said on the Senate floor.
She alleged the CIA may have breached federal law as well as the executive order that bars it from domestic spying, but the agency’s director John Brennan quickly denied the allegations.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Brennan said at a Washington event.
“The matter is being dealt with in an appropriate way, being looked at by the right authorities, and the facts will come out.”
Feinstein said the CIA searched a computer drive used by staffers on the intelligence committee to prepare a major report into a controversial and now defunct agency interrogation program that used “enhanced interrogation techniques” against detainees.