Republican casts doubt on CIA charges

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Wednesday pushed back against allegations leveled by the panel’s Democratic chairwoman against the CIA.

{mosads}Chambliss pointedly declined to endorse Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) allegations that the CIA snooped on computers that Senate investigators used to compile a 6,300-page report on the agency’s interrogation and detention programs.

Chambliss warned his colleagues not to rush to judgment.

“Although people speak as though we know all the pertinent facts surrounding this matter, the truth is we do not,” he said on the Senate floor.

He pointed out that Republican members of the committee and their staff did not participate in the investigation that Feinstein alleges CIA officials obstructed.

“We do not know the actual facts concerning the CIA’s alleged actions or all of the specific details about the actions by the committee staff regarding the draft of what is now referred to as the Panetta Internal Review,” he said.

The Panetta Internal Review was an internal report compiled by CIA officials that covered the documents on interrogation reviewed by Senate investigators. Feinstein claims it is significant because she believes it corroborates the findings of the Senate investigation, which CIA officials have publicly disputed.

The document is at the center of the controversy because Feinstein claims CIA officials improperly removed it from the computer network Senate investigators were using. CIA officials, in turn, have accused Senate staff of taking a copy to Capitol Hill without permission.

Chambliss said it might require the appointment of special investigator to determine the facts underlying the competing accusations.

“Given that both of these matters have been now referred to the Department of Justice, it may take us a while before any accurate factual findings can be achieved,” he said.

Tags CIA Dianne Feinstein Saxby Chambliss
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