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Feinstein Disputes CIA Report on Spying on Senate

Brennan and Feinstein (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is disputing findings of a CIA Accountability Board review that determined no one should be punished for accessing Senate computer files.  

"The bottom line is that the CIA accessed a Senate Intelligence Committee computer network without authorization, in clear violation of a signed agreement between the committee and former Director Leon Panetta," Sen. Dianne Feinstein said in a statement. "That access, and the subsequent review of committee staff emails, breaches the constitutional separation of powers between Congress and the executive branch."  

Feinstein was the panel's chairwoman last year, when she revealed that files used by committee staff as part of the landmark investigation into the use of torture techniques by the agency had been improperly accessed. In effect, the CIA had spied on the Senate. Her office provided a list of 15 items where Feinstein takes issue with the Accountability Board review. Some of them relate to an apparent dispute over the scope of the investigation. Among them, Feinstein says the claim that the CIA and investigators did not have a "common understanding" about access is simply false.  

"This is a serious matter and has been acknowledged by the CIA inspector general and the CIA Accountability Board. Regardless of the extent of the violation or intent of those involved, someone should be held accountable," Feinstein said.  

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