2014-03-20T163702Z_1_CBREA2J1A5S00_RTROPTP_2_USA

U.S. Senate leader orders probe of alleged CIA computer hacking

Reid answers questions from reporters after the weekly Republican caucus luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in WashingtonBy Patricia Zengerle and Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The leader of the U.S. Senate strongly backed the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday in a dispute with the Central Intelligence Agency, ordering an investigation into what he called an “indefensible” breach of the panel’s computers by the CIA. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said accusations that the agency spied on the panel’s computers as it investigated the use of harsh interrogation techniques during the Bush administration raised concerns about possible violations of the Constitution. “The CIA has not only interfered with the lawful congressional oversight of its activities, but has also seemingly attempted to intimidate its overseers by subjecting them to criminal investigation,” Reid said in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder obtained by Reuters. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the agency last week of searching computers used by committee staffers compiling a report on the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation methods such as simulated drowning, or waterboarding, in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

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