Sen. Mark Udall: CIA Chief Should Resign Over Senate Computer Spying

Image: Sen. Mark Udall: CIA Chief Should Resign Over Senate Computer Spying CIA Director John Brennan. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 09:52 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Sen. Mark Udall declared Thursday that he had "no choice" but to call for the resignation of CIA chief John Brennan after a classified report found the agency had hacked into Senate computers.

In a firmly worded statement, the Colorado Democrat called the spying illegal and unconstitutional, declaring such "grave misconduct" illustrates "a tremendous failure of leadership…."

"After being briefed on the CIA Inspector General report today, I have no choice but to call for the resignation of CIA Director John Brennan," the Senate's intelligence committee member stated.

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"The CIA needs to acknowledge its wrongdoing and correct the public record in a timely, forthright manner — and that simply hasn't occurred under John Brennan's leadership. Such an acknowledgment is necessary, whether we're talking about spying on Senate computers or about correcting misleading and inaccurate information about the CIA's detention and interrogation program. An internal CIA accountability board review isn't enough."

Udall’s firm stance comes as the freshman lawmaker is engaged in a competitive race for re-election against Republican Rep. Cory Gardner – a contest that could help determine control of the Senate next year.

Earlier Thursday, Brennan apologized to committee leaders and called for an accountability board to investigate and possibly discipline the CIA officers involved in the spying.

The inspector general report found that CIA officers had searched Senate computers without permission for information gathered during a Senate probe of the CIA's interrogation techniques, suspecting Senate aides had found an internal review the CIA believed the Senate wasn't entitled to see.

The review included comments from CIA officers describing misgivings about the treatment of al-Qaida detainees.

Intelligence Committee chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, said the inspector general report "confirmed what I said on the Senate floor in March — CIA personnel inappropriately searched Senate intelligence committee computers in violation of an agreement we had reached, and I believe in violation of the constitutional separation of powers."

The Justice Department has so far declined to pursue criminal charges.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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