Transcript: Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s floor statement on improper CIA search of congressional computers – Part III of V

Part III of V: Partial transcript of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-California) floor statement accusing the Central Intelligence Committee of improperly accessing and searching computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs at “black prisons” overseas. Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, delivered her statement on March 11, 2014.

Now, prior removal of documents by CIA. In early 2010, the CIA was continuing to provide documents and the committee staff was gaining familiarity with the information it had already received.

In May of 2010, the committee staff noticed that the documents have been provided for the committee’s review were no longer accessible. Staff approached the CIA personnel at the offsite location, who initially denied that the documents have been removed.

CIA personnel then blamed information technology personnel, who were almost all contractors, for removing the documents themselves without direction or authority.

And then the CIA stated that the removal of the documents was ordered by the White House. When the committee approached the White House, the White House denied giving the CIA any such order.

After a series of meetings, I learned that on two occasions CIA personnel electronically removed committee access to CIA documents after providing them to the committee.

This included roughly 870 documents or pages of documents that were removed in February 2010. And secondly, roughly another 50 that were removed in mid-May 2010.

This was done without the knowledge or approval of committee members or staff and in violation of our written agreement.

Further, this type of behavior would not have been possible had the CIA allowed the committee to conduct the review of documents here in the Senate.

In short, this was the exact sort of CIA interference in our investigation that we sought to avoid at the outset.

I went up to the White House to raise the issue with the then White House Counsel. In May 2010, he recognized the severity of this situation and the grave implications of executive branch personnel interfering with an official congressional investigation.

The matter was resolved with a renewed commitment from the White House Counsel and the CIA that there would be no further unauthorized access to the committee’s network or removal of access to CIA documents already provided to the committee.

On May 17, 2010, the CIA’s then-Director of Congressional Affairs apologized on behalf of the CIA for removing the documents. And that, as far as I was concerned, put the incident aside.

This event was separate from the documents provided that were part of the internal Panetta Review, which occurred later and which I will describe next.

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