Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) stunned the CIA Tuesday morning in a dramatic speech on the Senate floor. She suggested the agency may have broken the law and violated the Constitution by searching a stand-alone computer network established for Congress.
Sen. Feinstein has a fierce reputation for backing the CIA in her political career.
Her accusation stems from the CIA of searching the congressional network in January, during the Senate Intelligence Committee's ongoing investigation into the agency's detention and interrogation programs under President George W. Bush.
Who was in charge? That question has been left to the Department of Justice whom Feinstein quickly referred the matter.
She was quick to point out her suspicions of wrongdoing. "I have grave concerns that the CIA search may well have violated the separation of powers principles, not taking it lightly," insinuating it was an attempt at intimidation.
The CIA and Congress have both accused each other of spying from computers the agency provided Congress as part of the investigation so the committee could review classified documents at CIA headquarters.
The CIA apparently found documents that showed former President George W. Bush in a compromising situation. That led to CIA personnel searching the computers to see how Congress got ahold of the information.
Feinstein made it a blunt statement - "The CIA just went and searched the committee's computers."
Liberal Vermont Sen. Pat Leahy piped in calling it “historic” and something he thought was one of the Senate biggest moments.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was quick to commend Feinstein for “one of the most important principles we must maintain, separation of powers."
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