Chambliss: Brennan did not know about spying on Senate panel

Sen. Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissLobbying World Former GOP senator: Let Dems engage on healthcare bill OPINION: Left-wing politics will be the demise of the Democratic Party MORE (Ga.), the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Sunday rejected calls that Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan should resign.

Chambliss said Brennan did not know his agency had spied on Senate investigators when in March he denied an accusation by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenators push mandatory sexual harassment training for members, staff Bipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program Senate panel to hold hearing on bump stocks MORE (D-Calif.).

Chambliss said had Brennan knowingly lied at the time, he would call on him to step down.

“The fact is we now know he did not have all the facts. Once he got all the facts, he came back and he did apologize,” Chambliss said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Brennan categorically disputed Feinstein’s claim in March that CIA officials broke into a computer server being used by Senate staff conducting a probe of the agency’s interrogation tactics.

“As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn’t do that. That’s just beyond the scope of reason,” he said at the time.

Chambliss said Brennan subsequently apologized when he learned that agency officials had acted inappropriately.

“When he found about this breach ... he called Sen. Feinstein and me and he came to us and he said, 'Here’s what’s happened,' ” he said. “He was wrong. Sen. Feinstein was right.”

Chambliss noted the computers were at a CIA facility but had been dedicated for Senate staff to use for their investigation.

“This is very, very serious. If I thought John Brennan knew about this, then it would be — certainly, we’d be calling for his resignation,” he said.

He noted that CIA’s Office of Inspector General found that Brennan was not aware of the snooping.

Chambliss did not support Brennan’s nomination to become CIA director but says he has done a good job since winning Senate confirmation.