CIA unlikely to punish agency officials over Senate Intelligence Committee computer search: NYT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A panel investigating the CIA’s search of a computer network used by U.S. Senate staff will not recommend disciplining the agency officials involved in the incident, according to the New York Times.
The review panel is looking into the search by agency officials of staffers from the Senate Intelligence Committee who were investigating the CIA’s use of torture in interrogations of detainees after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
The Times, citing current and former government officials, said the panel was likely to fault the Central Intelligence Agency for missteps.
But the newspaper said the decision not to recommend anyone for disciplinary action was likely to anger members of the Intelligence Committee, who have accused the agency of interfering with its investigation of agency wrongdoing.
CIA officials searched the Senate computers in late 2013 as the committee finalized its report on the agency’s handling of detainees. Staffers concluded in a report released Dec. 9 that the agency misled the White House and the public about its tactics and acted more brutally and pervasively than previously acknowledged.
Five CIA officials involved in the computer search have already been cited by the agency’s inspector general for the improper searches, but have defended their actions as lawful and at times ordered by CIA director John Brennan, the Times said.
The CIA review panel was appointed by Brennan and consists of three CIA officers and two people from outside the agency — former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh and President Barack Obama’s former White House lawyer Robert Bauer, according to the paper.
Brennan has apologized for the CIA’s monitoring of the committee after earlier defending the agency actions. Federal prosecutors have also declined to pursue a criminal investigation over the dispute.
While the panel’s recommendations were still being finalized, officials told the newspaper that the five officers involved had been told they will not be recommended for punishment.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Crispian Balmer)