House Intel Chairman: CIA 'Overstepped Their Bounds,' Did Not Spy on Senate

Image: House Intel Chairman: CIA 'Overstepped Their Bounds,' Did Not Spy on Senate House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich. (Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Landov)

Monday, 04 Aug 2014 11:20 AM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers on Sunday conceded that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) "overstepped their bounds," but refuted the notion Senate staffers were spied on during their investigation of the agency's detainee interrogation program.

"This suggests someone overstepped their bounds by trying to figure out what the coding was on who had access to CIA computers and CIA spaces," said Rogers on CNN's "State of the Union."

Rogers agreed that "somebody needs to be held accountable," but disputed the idea that "this is some conspiracy notion that they wanted to spy" on either the House or Senate intelligence committees.

"These weren't Senate computers. These were CIA computers at the CIA and I think you have to take that into consideration," Rogers told host Candy Crowley.

Rogers' defense of the CIA was echoed by Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss during an appearance on CBS News' "Face the Nation."

"This is very, very serious. If I thought John Brennan knew about this, we would certainly be calling for his resignation. But he did not," the Georgia Republican told host Norah O'Donnell.

At the center of the dispute between the Senate and the CIA are documents produced by former CIA Director Leon Panetta that pertained to material the agency had summarized and were giving to the committee for its investigation of the program. The documents were housed in a CIA facility designated for the committee's use.

The documents, which were labeled "for internal use," were uncovered by Senate staffers during the course of their investigation.

According to CNN, the Justice Department has no plans to pursue the issue any further.

In March, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein of California delivered a speech on the floor of the Senate alleging that the CIA may have violated the Fourth Amendment by conducting a search of the computers used by Senate staff.

Feinstein said CIA Director John Brennan admitted to her in January that the computers were searched because agency personnel believed Senate staff improperly gained access to unauthorized materials.

Feinstein issued a measured statement on July 31 on the CIA inspector general report and Director Brennan's apology.

"The investigation 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," said the California Democrat, who characterized the IG report and its correction of the record as "positive first steps."

Feinstein's colleague, Ron Wyden of Oregon, was less judicious saying the CIA "attempted to have Senate staff prosecuted for doing their jobs" and called for "a full accounting of how this occurred and a commitment there will be no further attempts to undermine Congressional oversight of CIA activities."

Appearing on "State of the Union," Maine Senator Angus King described the admission by the CIA that it looked into the computers as "shocking" and contended that an apology is not enough because "this happened several times before."

King, an Independent, said he wanted to have "serious discussions" with Brennan about what he knew, but stopped short of calling for the director's resignation.

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado issued a statement on July 31 calling for Brennan's resignation.

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