Sen. Saxby Chambliss Urges Caution in CIA-Senate Clash; American Spies Trample the Constitution as They Eye Each Other

By Dinan, Stephen | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 13, 2014 | Go to article overview

Sen. Saxby Chambliss Urges Caution in CIA-Senate Clash; American Spies Trample the Constitution as They Eye Each Other


Dinan, Stephen, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Byline: Stephen Dinan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The top Republican on the Senate intelligence committee pushed back Wednesday against accusations that the CIA snooped through congressional computers, saying that the facts are still too murky to draw any firm conclusions and a special investigator may have to be enlisted to sort it all out.

"Although people speak as though we know all the pertinent facts surrounding this matter, the truth is, we do not," said Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the committee's vice chairman.

A day earlier, committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein went to the Senate floor to level stunning allegations that the CIA had illegally broken into committee computers and deleted documents in the possession of Congress, which the California Democrat said could have grave constitutional implications.

The CIA, in its turn, has filed an official complaint with the Justice Department accusing Senate staffers of having stolen the key CIA document in the first place.

For his part, CIA Director John O. Brennan denied hacking into Senate computers but said he would await an internal investigation by his agency's inspector general.

The back-and-forth has turned into a major constitutional battle in Washington, with GOP House Speaker John A. Boehner saying he was concerned by the reports but that he, too, will wait for an independent investigation.

President Obama has also declined to comment on the clash between a top Senate Democrat and his own CIA.

"With respect to the issues that are going back and forth between the Senate committee and the CIA, John Brennan has referred them to the appropriate authorities and they are looking into it," the president said. …

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