Is the CIA spying on congressional computers? Here’s what you need to know

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Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) accused the Central Intelligence Agency of an "unauthorized search" of her committee's computers -- while the committee was performing oversight over the Central Intelligence Agency itself. In doing the search, she says the CIA potentially violated the separation of powers as enshrined by the constitution, along with federal laws and an executive order.

Along with the 6,000-page study on “enhanced interrogation” conducted by the Obama Administration, there was also an internal CIA review, often called the "Panetta Review" because it was started during Leon Panetta's tenure as head of the agency that some officials say agrees with the committee's findings. The exact details of what happened the discrepancy between these two reports are still murky, but according to Sen Feinstein the CIA searched computers and networks used by committee staffers preparing their review of CIA detention and interrogation programs.

According to Sen Feinstein, staffers had access to a draft of the review that they found during their investigation using a search tool provided by the CIA. In a Jan 15 meeting, Sen Feinstein says CIA Director John Brennan informed her and Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) "that without prior notification or approval, CIA personnel had conducted a search ... of the committee computers at the off-site facility." That search allegedly included not just an audit of the CIA documents available to the staff, but also their own internal work products and communications.

[March 11]

Is the CIA spying on congressional computers? Here’s what you need to know