Ex-CIA Director Woolsey: CIA Hacking Senate Committee 'Troubling'

Friday, 01 Aug 2014 01:06 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Former CIA Director James Woolsey says the CIA Inspector General's report confirming that the agency hacked the computers of members of the Senate Intelligence Committee is "definitely troubling."

"It's a very serious matter," Woolsey said on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum" on Friday, adding that the members of that committee have "taken a firm and very defensible position."

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"This sort of thing happens in due diligence investigations in the non-government world where somebody will be investigating a company and the hunter becomes the hunted as the people who are being looked at figure out some way to get into the software of the people who are looking to investigate them," Woolsey said.

"So it's not as if this never happens, but to have it happen with a congressional committee, having the . . . questions and the investigations being looked into by a U.S. government agency — I don't recall a similar case like this, and it's definitely troubling," the former CIA director added.

CIA Director John Brennan issued an apology on Thursday to the Senate Intelligence Committee for the hacking, which the agency confirmed was done by five of its employees.

Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra told Newsmax that "the CIA cannot be hacking into Congress."

"This is just totally off of the radar screen," the former Michigan Congressman said. "[The CIA] cannot be doing anything domestically — it is a foreign intelligence gathering organization."

"This is really frightening," he added.

"It should be explosive news — that the director of the CIA has formally admitted and apologized to the Senate for hacking into their computers," Hoekstra said. "It is absolutely outrageous."

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee called on Brennan to resign over the matter, saying that it demonstrates "a tremendous failure of leadership."

Hoekstra said that it will ultimately need to be the decision of Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the committee.

"Do they trust John Brennan to lead that organization with integrity and those types of things?" the Michigan Republican said.

"Remember he came out in March when this first was starting to percolate and vehemently denied and directly went after Sen. Feinstein and said the CIA would never do anything like this," he said.

"The bottom line is the director of the CIA needs to have the confidence and the trust of his counterparts on the Hill," Hoekstra said. "If he's lost that trust, then it's time to go."

The accusations were made in March by Feinstein as a result of an investigation the committee was conducting into the intelligence agency's concerning interrogation tactics.

The California Democrat claimed that the CIA had hacked the computer network used by lawmakers involved in the investigation. She also said that a 900-page CIA document originally provided to the committee by the agency was missing.

Brennan initially denied the allegation, saying that "nothing could be further from the truth."

Feinstein said in a statement on Thursday that "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."

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