March 12, 2014, 05:30 pm
Obama tries to stay above CIA-Senate feud
President Obama refused to weigh in Wednesday on a dispute between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA over the alleged hacking of Senate computers, citing an ongoing investigation.
"With respect to the issues that are going back and forth between the Senate committee and the CIA, [Director] John Brennan has referred them to the appropriate authorities, and they are looking into it and that's not something that is an appropriate role for me and the White House to wade into at this point," Obama told reporters at a White House event about economic opportunity for women.
On Tuesday, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) accused the CIA of improperly searching a secure computer network set up for congressional investigators who were examining enhanced interrogation policies carried out during the Bush administration.
Feinstein said she had "grave concerns" that the CIA had violated the Constitution, claimed the agency removed access to documents that had been provided to lawmakers, and accused the agency of intimidating her staff.
The CIA, meanwhile, charged that Intelligence Committee staffers had improperly accessed internal documents regarding the interrogation program and asked the Justice Department to investigate.
At the White House, Obama stressed that upon assuming office, he ended the enhanced interrogation program. He said he was "absolutely committed" to the Senate investigation of the Bush-era practices, and planned to declassify the report as soon as it was finished.
"In fact, I would urge them to go ahead and complete the report and send it to us, and we will declassify those findings so that the American people can understand what happened in the past and that can help guide us as we move forward," Obama said.
Brennan has said that he wants Obama to judge whether he acted improperly during the congressional investigation.
"If I did something wrong," Brennan said, "I will go to the president and I will explain to him exactly what I did, what the findings were, and he is the one who can ask me to stay or to go."
Feinstein was not among the female lawmakers — including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) — attending the White House meeting.
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/200615-obama-tries-to-stay-above-cia-senate-feud#ixzz2w8UEaXbs
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