CIA Affirms But Also Defends Its Actions in Spying on Senate Panel

The Central Intelligence Agency recently conducted an internal investigation and found that several officers within the agency infiltrated a Senate Intelligence Committee computer network that the Committee used to prepare a controversial report about a detention and interrogation program used by the CIA.

The investigation also revealed that CIA agents accessed emails sent and received by the Senate investigators as well as sent a false criminal referral to the DOJ. The CIA agents in question also allegedly generated a series of false online identities in an effort to infiltrate computers that were being used by Senate staff.

Harsh criticism from Senate officials followed an account given by the inspector general regarding the CIA’s covert surveillance of congressional committee members who had been ordered to oversee the agency’s activities. This comes after California Senator Diane Feinstein publicly excoriated the CIA for allegedly spying on committee investigators.

CIA Director John O. Brennan issued a statement earlier this week through a spokesperson saying that he had formally apologized to the Senator and other committee members for the unauthorized surveillance and said that he would take it upon himself to establish an internal accountability board to review the allegations. He also said that the board could potentially issue recommendations for “disciplinary measures” as well as for ways in which “systematic issues” within the agency could be addressed.

The CIA’s detention and interrogation program has been the subject of harsh scrutiny over the last five years, most notably in a report generated by Democrats within the Committee. The report alleges that the CIA used strong-arm tactics and methods of interrogation for years as part of its investigative protocol.

While the CIA has officially apologized for the actions, it has also said that it must sometimes use methods of investigation that may seem unsavory to certain parties, but which are necessary for extracting information and carrying out operations.