Rand Paul calls for removal of CIA director

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Friday became the third senator to publicly call for CIA Director John Brennan to leave office in the wake of the agency’s admission that some officials spied on Senate staffers.

In a statement sent to The Hill, Paul, who mounted a 13-hour filibuster against Brennan’s confirmation in March, said that the spy agency chief and everyone else involved with the hacking should be removed from office.

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“It is illegal for the CIA to spy on Americans and an affront to our republic to spy on the Senate,” Paul said. “Brennan told the American people that the CIA did not spy on the Senate but now he admits that they did.

“Brennan should dismiss those responsible for breaking the law and be relieved of his post.”

Paul’s call comes after Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who both sit on the Intelligence Committee, on Thursday urged Brennan to step aside.

An agency watchdog this week said  five officials at the spy agency had “improperly accessed” Senate staffers’ drives and emails through a network set up to share secret documents about a report on the agency’s “enhanced interrogation” methods. The Senate panel is preparing to release a public version of the 6,300-page classified analysis, which is expected to describe in detail the harsh techniques that were used during the George W. Bush administration.

Despite the lawmakers’ call for Brennan to step aside, he has received robust support from the White House. On Friday, President Obama maintained that he continues to have “full confidence” in the CIA leader.

Leaders of the congressional Intelligence committees have also declined for the spy chief to be removed from office, even while denouncing the hacking incident.