Dianne Feinstein

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein

By Donna Cassata, Associated Press
Posted: 03/11/14, 8:21 AM PDT | Updated: 20 secs ago

WASHINGTON — The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday the CIA improperly searched a stand-alone computer network established for Congress in its investigation of allegations of CIA abuse in a Bush-era detention and interrogation program. She said the CIA’s own inspector general has referred the matter to the Justice Department.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she had “grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution,” as she publicly aired an increasingly explosive dispute between Congress and the spy agency.

Determined to set the record straight amid various published reports and rampant speculation, Feinstein said the CIA searched the computer network in January and she had pressed CIA Director John Brennan about the agency’s actions and the legal basis for its search. She said she has not received any answers despite letters sent on Jan. 17 and Jan. 23. She also has sought an apology but said the CIA has been silent.

Feinstein said the CIA’s inspector general, David Buckley, has referred the matter to the Justice Department “given the possibility of a criminal violation by CIA personnel.”

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