CIA and senators in bitter dispute over Capitol Hill spying claims

n13-iconThe Guardian reports: Relations between the CIA and the US senators charged with its political oversight were at a nadir on Wednesday after the head of the agency issued a rare public rebuke to lawmakers who accused it of spying on their staff.

John Brennan, the director of the CIA, said the claims by members of the Senate intelligence committee were “spurious” and “wholly unsupported by the facts”, and went as far as suggesting the committee itself may have been guilty of wrongdoing.

The battle stems from a hotly contested report into the use of torture by the CIA in the interrogations it carried out after 9/11, whose conclusions are so explosive that it has yet to be declassified, despite exhortations from the White House that a summary should be published.

Earlier on Wednesday reports surfaced that the CIA inspector general had opened an inquiry, said to have been referred to the justice department, into claims that CIA employees had acted improperly. Suggestions that the CIA had monitored the computer networks of committee staffers had shocked the senators that sit on the panel. Some observers believe that such actions might be criminal. [Continue reading…]

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