Chambliss Casts Doubts on Feinstein Spying Claims

Image: Chambliss Casts Doubts on Feinstein Spying Claims

Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 09:10 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Sen. Saxby Chambliss on Wednesday urged colleagues to reserve judgment about allegations by Sen. Dianne Feinstein that the CIA had snooped on computers used by Senate investigators looking into the agency's interrogation and detention programs.

"Although people speak as though we know all the pertinent facts surrounding this matter, the truth is we do not," Chambliss, the Georgia Republican and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on the Senate floor, according to The Hill.

He said that GOP members of the committee and their staffs did not participate in the investigation.

"We do not know the actual facts concerning the CIA's alleged actions or all of the specific details about the actions by the committee staff regarding the draft of what is now referred to as the Panetta Internal Review," he said.

Feinstein, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman, made an impassioned speech on the Senate floor Tuesday accusing the agency of breaking laws, and violating the constitutional principle of separation of powers between branches of the government, in an effort to undermine the panel's investigation of the agency's interrogation program.

She said the CIA secretly removed documents, searched computers used by the committee and attempted to intimidate congressional investigators by requesting an FBI inquiry into their conduct.

CIA Director John Brennan immediately disputed Feinstein's claims.

Meanwhile, the White House confirmed Wednesday that the CIA had given them a "heads up" that it was filing a report with the Justice Department that suggested Senate staffers had committed a crime by taking documents from a CIA computer, The Hill reported in a separate story.

"The president has been aware in general about the protocols and the discussions and occasional disputes about the protocols involved in the provision of an unprecedented number of documents from CIA to the committee," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

He added that the White House would not be taking a position on the matter because it is under review both by the independent inspector general and by the Justice Department.

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