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CIA investigates whether officers spied on Senate

KIMBERLY DOZIER, AP Intelligence Writer
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Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA is investigating whether its officers improperly monitored members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which oversees the intelligence agency, U.S. officials confirmed Wednesday.

Senate intelligence committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told reporters that the CIA inspector general is investigating how her committee investigated allegations of CIA abuse in a Bush-era detention and interrogation program.

Two officials familiar with the investigation says the senator confirmed the CIA is looking into allegations of wrongdoing, including whether its own officers improperly monitored senate investigators and possibly accessed their computers. The allegations were first reported by The New York Times.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

The CIA declined to comment.

When asked about the reports Wednesday, President Barack Obama responded with a smile. “I’m going to try to make sure I don’t spill anything on my tie,” he said, during a stop at a New Britain, Conn., restaurant. He did not comment further.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said he was “deeply concerned about allegations that the CIA improperly accessed computers used by Senate investigators,” adding that the allegations “have serious constitutional implications that go to the heart of the separation of powers.”

Democrats on the Senate committee completed the 6,000-page interrogation report last year and are revising it with CIA comments, before asking the White House to declassify its 300-plus-page executive summary, and its conclusions.

When the report was first approved by Democrats on the committee in December 2012, Feinstein said her staffers reviewed 6 million pages of CIA and other records, and came to the conclusion that the program yielded little or no significant intelligence.

She called it “a comprehensive review of the CIA’s detention program that includes details of each detainee in CIA custody, the conditions under which they were detained, how they were interrogated, the intelligence they actually provided and the accuracy_or inaccuracy_of CIA descriptions about the program.”

She has said documents made public reveal abuses by the program including, “beating a detainee in Afghanistan, who later died in custody, with a heavy flashlight, threatening a detainee with a handgun and a power drill; staging a mock execution; threatening to kill a detainee’s family; choking a detainee to the point of unconsciousness,” and using the interrogation technique known as waterboarding in ways the CIA’s legal counsel had not authorized.

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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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