Brennan: CIA hacking allegations not true

CIA Director John Brennan on Tuesday denied allegations that the CIA hacked into Senate Intelligence Committee computers.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Brennan said at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations. “We wouldn’t do that. That’s just beyond the scope of reason in terms of what we’d do.”

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Brennan's denial comes after Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) issued a scathing statement on Tuesday accusing the CIA of illegally searching her committee’s computers.

“I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution,” Feinstein said. “I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate. I have received neither.”

The Justice Department and CIA inspector general have reviewed the allegations that the CIA was monitoring Senate Intelligence Committee computers, as well as allegations that Senate staffers improperly took classified documents from CIA facilities.

Brennan said he was confident that the reviews both inside and outside the CIA would properly look at the actions of committee staffers and CIA officials.

“If any inappropriate actions were taken related to that review, either by CIA or SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] staff, I’ll be the first one to say 'let’s get to the bottom of this,' ” Brennan said.

“Appropriate authorities right now both inside of CIA as well as outside of CIA are looking at what CIA officers as well as SSCI staff members did, and I defer to them to determine whether or not there was any violation of law or principal,” Brennan said.

The allegations of misconduct surround the Senate Intelligence Committee’s massive report on waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques used during the George W. Bush administration.

Democratic senators on the committee say that an internal CIA review conducted under former Director Leon Panetta corroborates the committee’s findings and contradicts the CIA’s public statements.

The senators have accused the CIA of stonewalling the public release of the committee’s report.

Brennan said Tuesday that the CIA was not trying to prevent the report’s release. He said the agency has sat down with the committee to point out “where we believe there are factual errors, or errors in judgment or assessments.”

“We are not in any way shape or form trying to thwart this report’s progression or release,” Brennan said. “We want this behind us. We know that the committee has invested a lot of time, money and effort into this report, and I know they’re determined to put it forward.”