The Senate Intelligence Committee did not hack into CIA computers to obtain an internal report on the agency’s interrogation and detention program, the head of the committee said on Tuesday.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, in a scathing statement on the Senate floor aimed at the CIA’s handling of the matter, said she had “grave concerns” that the agency’s search of the committee’s computers was illegal.
“The committee clearly did not hack into CIA computers to obtain these documents, as has been suggested in the press,” Feinstein said.
Feinstein’s comments were the latest salvo in a long-running and bitter dispute between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA over documents outlining the agency’s handling of the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, a program that dates to 2002 and became public in 2006.
Feinstein, chairman of the committee, said the CIA’s “document dump” of more than 6 million papers provided to her panel contained an internal review of the interrogation and detention program known as the “Panetta Review,” after then-CIA Director Leon Panetta.
She said the internal report was obtained by committee staffers using a CIA search tool provided to them.
Feinstein denied reports the panel had gotten the internal review through unauthorized means. “This is not true,” she said.
But she did question the CIA’s own methods in trying to determine how the panel got the Panetta Review, saying the intelligence agency searched its computers without ever asking how the got the documents.
After the speech, Sen. Patrick Leahy, the senior member of the Senate, said he had never heard a more important speech in the chamber.