Heinrich: CIA Must Admit Secret Search of Senate Files Was Improper

WASHINGTON, D.C. – CIA Director John Brennan must admit the CIA improperly searched Senate files, and commit to never again threatening the Constitutional separation between Congress and the executive branch, Senate Intelligence Committee members Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, wrote today.

“It is vitally important for the American public to have confidence that senior intelligence officials respect US laws and the Constitution, including our democratic system of checks and balances,” the senators wrote to Brennan. “In our judgment your handling of this matter has undermined that confidence.  We call on you to acknowledge that this search was improper, and commit that these unacceptable actions will not be repeated.”

CIA officials secretly searched Senate Intelligence Committee files in January 2014, while the committee was investigating the agency’s use of torture from 2002-2007. Director Brennan repeatedly denied that the search occurred. While he now concedes the search did take place, Director Brennan has yet to acknowledge that the search was improper, or committed to never again performing such a search.

In a separate, classified letter, the senators also asked Brennan to correct the public record regarding inaccurate public statements that he made in March on a separate topic.