CIA Director John Brennan on Tuesday denied charges by Sen. Dianne Feinstein that his agency has broken into computers used by Senate staffers to investigate its Bush-era interrogation practices.
“We are not in any way trying to thwart the [Senate Intelligence Committee] report’s progress [or] release,” Brennan told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell at a Council on Foreign Relations event. “As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into computers, nothing could be further from the truth.”
“That’s beyond the scope of reason,” he added.
Brennan also said the CIA has “tried to work as collaboratively as possible with the committee on its report, and we will continue to do so.”
Earlier Tuesday, Feinstein, the Intelligence Committee’s chairwoman, accused the CIA of covertly removing key documents from computers used by her panel’s staff to investigate the agency’s past interrogation practices.
In a scathing 40-minute speech on the Senate floor, the California Democrat said the intelligence agency possibly violated the Constitution in January by accessing the computer files used by committee staffers to investigate the CIA’s now-defunct interrogation programs.
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden also spoke out on the CIA spying allegations, telling NBC News on Tuesday, “It’s clear the CIA was trying to play ‘keep away’ with documents relevant to an investigation by their overseers in Congress, and that’s a serious constitutional concern.”
But Snowden also accused Feinstein, traditionally one of the intelligence community’s staunchest defenders in Congress, of hypocrisy for being incensed by the notion of CIA spying on Congress while “not caring” about the NSA’s surveillance of other Americans.
In a statement last week, Brennan said he was “dismayed” at “spurious allegations about CIA actions that are wholly unsupported by facts.”