WASHINGTON (AP) — CIA officers improperly accessed Senate computers, read the emails of Senate staff, and exhibited a "lack of candor" when interviewed by agency investigators, according to a declassified CIA inspector general's report.
The document, released Thursday by the CIA, is a summary of an internal CIA investigation that prompted CIA Director John Brennan to abandon his defiant posture in the matter and apologize to Senate Intelligence Committee leaders.
Brennan has convened an internal accountability board chaired by former Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., that will examine whether the CIA officers should be disciplined, said his spokesman, Dean Boyd.
The agency officers searched Senate computers without permission for information gathered in the course of a Senate investigation into the CIA's interrogation techniques. The summary of a classified report on post-9/11 detentions and interrogations that accuses the CIA of misconduct is expected to be made public soon.
Five agency employees improperly accessed Senate computers in an effort to track down certain documents, the inspector general found. Then, after Brennan ordered a halt to the review, the CIA office of security began a "limited investigation" that led to surveillance of Senate emails, the report said.
Three information technology staff "demonstrated a lack of candor about their activities" in interviews with CIA investigators, the report said.
The CIA inspector general shared his findings with the Justice Department, which has so far declined to pursue criminal charges against the CIA employees, officials said.
The inspector general concluded "that some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between" the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA in 2009 regarding access to a shared classified computer network, Boyd said. The shared network had been used by Senate aides to access classified files on CIA interrogations. The CIA penetration occurred after the aides got ahold of documents that the CIA claimed were internal, but which showed that some CIA officials shared misgivings about the treatment of al Qaida detainees.
Brennan informed Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the senior Republican on the committee, "and apologized to them for such actions by CIA officers as described in the (inspector general's) report," Boyd said.
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