CIA apologizes for spying on Senate committee

File photo

File photo

(CNN) — CIA Director John Brennan apologized to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday and admitted the agency spied on computers used by its staffers who prepared an investigation of the controversial post 9/11 CIA interrogation and detention program.

The episode was the subject of an unusual, public dispute between the panel and the spy agency over access to classified information.

The CIA had accused the committee staffers of getting access to internal agency documents and of improperly handling classified material.

The Justice Department looked into it at the request of the CIA and decided there wasn’t enough evidence of a crime to warrant further investigation.

IG weighs in

But the CIA’s inspector general, a watchdog, found that some agency employees “acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding” reached between the intelligence panel and the CIA in 2009 regarding access to information, the CIA said in a statement.

“The director subsequently informed the (committee) chairman and vice chairman of the findings and apologized to them for such actions by CIA officers as described in the (inspector general’s) report, the statement said.

“The director is committed to correcting any shortcomings related to this matter” and is commissioning an Accountability Board to be chaired by former Indiana Democratic senator and Intelligence Committee member Evan Bayh, the CIA said.

“This board will review the (inspector general’s) report, conduct interviews as needed, and provide the director with recommendations that, depending on its findings, could include potential disciplinary measures and/or steps to address systemic issues.” the CIA added.

The intelligence panel report could be released to the public as soon as next week, congressional sources from each party said this week.

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