California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's claim that the CIA spied on a Senate computer network could "destroy" relations between Congress and the agency if proven true, said House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers.
"It's troubling to see this, but I have an immense respect for Sen. Feinstein," the Michigan Republican told CNN
on Wednesday morning, noting that "the charges are serious" or she would not have made them.
"The Inspector General has referred a criminal referral to the Department of Justice," Rogers said Wednesday, insisting he doesn't want to speculate on Feinstein's claims.
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But at the same time, he said, "there's something there. We need to get to the bottom of this soon to make sure that this thing doesn't spill over and stop the agency from being able to do its work."
Rogers said investigators need to be sure the CIA did not break any laws, as "that would be a pretty horrific situation, and it would destroy that legislative-CIA relationship," Rogers said.
Feinstein, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, said on the Senate floor Tuesday the CIA searched the committee's congressional computer network, potentially violating the Fourth Amendment, as well as the separation of powers between the branches of government.
The CIA hacked into supposedly secure computers the agency had provided to committee staffers who were investigating the agency's interrogation and detention programs, Feinstein said, and removed hundreds of pages of documents.
Feinstein said CIA Director John Brennan told her his agency searched the computers because agents thought lawmakers had gotten hold of an internal CIA review of interrogation techniques.
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