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CIA inspector general seeks probe of agency conduct over Senate report

March 5, 2014 at 11:07 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, March 5 (UPI) -- The CIA Inspector General's office asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate agency conduct in an unreleased Senate study of secret detention programs.

Several knowledgeable people told McClatchy Newspapers the referral could be related to CIA monitoring of computers used by Senate Intelligence Committee aides during preparation of the study. The monitoring may have violated an agreement between the committee and the spy agency.

The request marks a huge disintegration in relations between the CIA and its congressional overseers amid a non-public battle over the 6,300-page report on the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists held in covert prisons overseas, McClatchy reported Tuesday. The CIA has disputed some of the report's findings.

White House officials have been monitoring the set-two, but haven't directly intervened, the McClatchy investigation found.

McClatchy said its findings were based on information found in official documents and provided by people knowledgeable about the dispute who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The CIA and the Senate committee declined to comment.

The report, which took about four years to prepare at a cost about $40 million, details how the CIA misled the George W. Bush administration and Congress about the use of harsh interrogation techniques considered torture by many experts, public statements made by committee members indicated.

The committee also determined the CIA monitored computers -- possibly violating an agreement against doing so -- the agency provided Intelligence Committee staff members in a secure room at CIA headquarters that the agency insisted be used to review top-secret documents, people with knowledge of the situation told McClatchy Newspapers.

On Tuesday, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., sent a letter possibly referencing the monitoring to President Barack Obama.

"As you are aware, the CIA has recently taken unprecedented action against the committee in relation to the internal CIA review and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the committee's oversight responsibilities and for our democracy," Udall wrote. "It is essential that the committee be able to do its oversight work -- consistent with our constitutional principle of the separation of powers -- without the CIA posing impediments or obstacles as it is today."

Udall also urged Obama to strip the CIA of control over how much of the Senate report should be made public.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, offered little information about the dispute Tuesday as she left a closed-door hearing on Ukraine, but did confirm that the CIA had begun an internal review, the New York Times reported.

"There is an I.G. investigation," she said.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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