The chair of the US Senate committee overseeing the CIA has denounced the intelligence agency for searching the computers of committee staff.
The committee was investigating the CIA’s harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects after the 9.11 attacks.
Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein informed the Senate on Tuesday of the CIA’s search.
Feinstein said the committee had been examining internal CIA documents related to the interrogations since 2009. The agency had consented to make the documents available on computers at a leased facility.
She said the CIA not only searched the computers it provided to senate investigators, but the committee’s own internal computer network as well.
She condemned the searches, saying they may have violated the separation of powers principle embodied in the US Constitution.
CIA Director John Brennan denied the accusations in a speech in Washington later that day.
The criticism from the Senate could heighten public distrust of the CIA following the disclosures of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about spying operations.