Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 1, 2015

Did the CIA Spy on Senate Investigators?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Sen. Mark Udall alleged interference by the Central Intelligence Agency into Intelligence Committee affairs Tuesday, it wasn’t immediately clear what he meant.

The Colorado Democrat appeared to choose his words carefully in a letter to President Barack Obama announcing opposition to moving on the nomination of Caroline Krass to be CIA general counsel without “significant progress” in responding to his inquires about CIA detention and torture programs. Udall referred to “unprecedented action against the Committee” in the letter sent Tuesday, but it wasn’t immediately clear to what he might be referring.

A bombshell report published late Tuesday gives a clue. McClatchy reported the Justice Department may have been asked by the CIA inspector general to investigate CIA monitoring of computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee while preparing a report on torture.

McClatchy cited sources and documents indicating that the CIA may have improperly monitored computers used by Senate staff working out of Langley, Va., to investigate the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” during the George W. Bush administration.That work led to the production of a 6,300-page Intelligence Committee report on detention and interrogation that remains classified.

“As you are aware, the CIA has recently taken unprecedented action against the Committee in relation to the internal CIA review, and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the Committee’s oversight responsibilities and for our democracy,” Udall wrote. “It is essential that the Committee be able to do its oversight work — consistent with our constitutional principle of the separation of powers — without the CIA posing impediments or obstacles as it is today.”

The McClatchy report suggests that Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., may have been referring to the same CIA conduct when he questioned Director John Brennan at an open hearing in late January about the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Wyden and Udall have been among the foremost Democratic critics of the intelligence community.

The full letter from Udall to Obama about the CIA conduct and the Krass nomination is posted here.

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  1. Stephen Voss

    March 5, 2014
    8:53 a.m.

    The game is over. The spectators are filing silently out of the stadium, confused about what they have witnessed, and it will take some time for the light to dawn. The Bush-Obama presidency has sold the nation’s people to the highest bidder, stripped them of every vestige of privacy, tortured and killed illegally in their name, and lied about it all. The people have lost, totally and irretrievably, and a monstrous version of organized crime has won. There remains for citizen and illegal alien alike only the hope of relocating somewhere else, perhaps supported by a job outsourced by the syndicate.

  2. MO

    March 6, 2014
    12:13 p.m.

    When the investigators come calling, the CIA will plead “state secrets” and get away without releasing any evidence. Sigh. has an interview with an ACLU attorney on how this might go.

  3. Bruno's Beach

    March 7, 2014
    2:51 a.m.

    Since similar prizes are rewarded for similar achievements in a free country, increasing efficiency naturally accompanies free markets.

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    June 27, 2015
    3:21 a.m.

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