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Ear to the Ground

John Brennan Admits to Agency Spying on Senate Staffers

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Posted on Jul 31, 2014

    CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in March in Washington. AP/Carolyn Kaster

In an extraordinary development Thursday, the CIA director reversed months of angry public denials and apologized for the agency’s past spying on staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In March, committee chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein accused the agency of unconstitutional spying on the Senate. She has yet to comment on Brennan’s statement.

The Guardian reports:

Brennan acknowledged that an internal investigation had found agency security personnel transgressed a firewall set up on a CIA network, called RDINet, which allowed Senate committee investigators to review agency documents for their landmark inquiry into CIA torture. The acknowledgement brings Brenan’s already rocky tenure at the head of the CIA under renewed question.

“Some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between SSCI and the CIA in 2009 regarding access to the RDINet,” CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement to reporters, using the acronym for the Senate select committee on intelligence.

Democratic Sens. Mark Udall of Colorado and Ron Wyden of Oregon both commented on the statement. Udall tweeted that “Brennan misled [the] public” and pledged to “fight for change at the CIA.” Wyden remarked: “What’s needed now is a public apology from director Brennan to staff and the committee, a full accounting of how this occurred and a commitment there will be no further attempts to undermine Congressional oversight of CIA activities.” Both senators have a history of criticizing the agency.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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