CIA concedes it spied on US Senate investigators, apologizes

CIA concedes it spied on US Senate investigators, apologizes

CIA concedes it spied on US Senate investigators, apologizes

A US Senate Intelligence Committee staff member enters the committee's offices with a secure attache case on Capitol Hill in Washington. REUTERS Photo

The CIA has conceded that it had improperly monitored computers used by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee in an investigation of interrogation tactics and secret prisons for terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Central Intelligence Agency spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement that the agency’s inspector general had determined that “some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent” with an understanding between the agency and the Senate panel.

Boyd said CIA Director John Brennan had informed Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s chairwoman, and its senior Republican, Saxby Chambliss, of the finding and apologized.

The Senate committee has been investigating excesses allegedly committed by CIA officers who used harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding or simulated drowning, and established a network of secret prisons abroad.

Human rights activists and critics of the CIA’s methods, including some U.S. politicians, have described the CIA’s interrogation methods as torture.

According to an unclassified summary of the inspector general’s report obtained by Reuters, he found that five agency employees, two lawyers and three information technology staffers, “improperly accessed” a data network Senate investigators were using to pursue their inquiry.

The summary said the CIA’s Office of Security also looked at how Senate investigators accessed the data network and conducted a “keyword search of all and review of some” of the investigators’ emails sent through the network.

As tension built between the CIA and the committee this year, the agency asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether committee staffers used the network to access privileged CIA information.