CIA chief scolds senators for 'outburst'

CIA Director John Brennan fired back at reports that the CIA spied on Senate staffers’ computers while accusing lawmakers of making "spurious allegations."

“I am deeply dismayed that some members of the Senate have decided to make spurious allegations about CIA actions that are wholly unsupported by the facts,” Brennan said in a statement Wednesday evening. 

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Lawmakers expressed outrage at allegations reported Wednesday of CIA intrusions into staffers’ computers on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) confirmed that the CIA Inspector General was investigating, and McClatchy had reported the matter was referred to the Justice Department.

But Brennan suggested in his statement that wrongdoing could also have occurred in Congress.

“I am very confident that the appropriate authorities reviewing this matter will determine where wrongdoing, if any, occurred in either the Executive Branch or Legislative Branch,” Brennan said.

“Until then, I would encourage others to refrain from outbursts that do a disservice to the important relationship that needs to be maintained between intelligence officials and Congressional overseers.”

His statement was released Wednesday evening as McClatchy reported that the computer spying was allegedly discovered when the CIA confronted the Senate Intelligence panel about documents removed from the agency’s headquarters.

The second McClatchy report suggested that it was unclear whether the CIA referral to the Justice Department was tied to the computer monitoring, the removal of the documents or another study.

The back-and-forth is escalating tensions between the Intelligence Committee and CIA, which were already strained over the panel’s 6,300-page report on the Bush-era interrogation techniques that is critical of the spy agency.