An investigation by the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms into CIA spying of Senate Intelligence Committee computers wrapped up this week without drawing any significant conclusions as a result of lost computer records reportedly deleted by the agency.
Citing “sources familiar with the inquiry,” The Huffington Post reports CIA erased computer records relevant to the investigation before Senate investigators could get their hands on them — a claim disputed by CIA officials in the same report, who said they provided the records in question.
“CIA cooperated fully with the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms review and provided all the relevant information that the [Sergeant-at-Arms] requested,” agency spokesman Dean Boyd said in the report. “In fact, audit data was specifically provided to the [Sergeant-at-Arms] in July 2014. Furthermore, CIA continues to maintain copies of this audit data to this day. Claims alleging otherwise are patently false.”
According to the Post source, the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms “can’t verify any of what CIA is saying.”
Unnamed sources “familiar with the CIA inspector general report” suggested earlier this week that CIA agents impersonated Senate Intelligence Committee staffers to access computers used to compile a report about the agency’s post-9/11 torture and imprisonment techniques. The agency has since denied impersonating staffers. (RELATED: Report: CIA Agents Impersonated Senate Staffers To Spy On Senate Computers)
Last month CIA Director John Brennan refused to answer questions posed by the Senate Armed Services Committee about the infiltration, including who authorized agents to spy on committee computers containing records of the agency’s Bush-era War on Terror interrogation and black site imprisonment practices. (RELATED: CIA’s John Brennan Refuses To Tell Congress Who Authorized Senate Spying)
After initially denying the incident occurred, the agency admitted to the infiltration in July with a summary release of the inspector general’s report, forcing Brennan to apologize to Senate Intelligence Committee members Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss. (RELATED: CIA Admits To Infiltrating Senate Computers, Apologizes)
The IG report revealed CIA not only illegally accessed the computers, the agency also tried to defend itself by claiming Senate staffers accessed classified agency documents without permission, prompting the infiltration. The agency reported the access to the Department of Justice, with full knowledge that the allegation was false. It also showed that after Brennan ordered the spying to halt, agents accessed Senate email accounts without authorization. (RELATED: CIA Spied On US Senate Computers Over Torture Program Report)
Neither the CIA inspector general’s report nor the torture report itself have been released to the public.