The Department of Justice has officially ended its criminal probe concerning allegations of spying and document stealing involving the United States Senate and the Central Intelligence Agency.
On Thursday this week, a DOJ spokesperson confirmed to McClatchy that the Justice Dept. won’t pursue any further its investigation into whether Senate Intelligence Committee staffers took classified documents from a secure facility, nor a related probe concerning allegations that the CIA spied on those same congressional workers.
“The department carefully reviewed the matters referred to us and did not find sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal investigation,” spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement sent to the news agency.
Earlier this year in March, the CIA alleged that Senate staffers working on a controversial, yet-to-be-published report concerning the agency’s use of torture tactics after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks had improperly removed classified documents from a protected site and brought them illegally to their Capitol Hill offices. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee working on that report, in turn fired back and said that the CIA has been secretly monitoring the computer use of lawmakers and staff members involved.
During an unannounced speech on the floor of Congress that month, Feinstein said she had “grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the US Constitution.”
There is“no legitimate reason to allege to the Justice Department that Senate staff may have committed a crime,”Feinstein said, adding that she viewed the CIA’s request for an investigation as a“potential effort to intimidate this staff.”
“I am deeply dismayed that some members of the Senate have decided to make spurious allegations about CIA actions that are wholly unsupported by the facts,”CIA Director John Brennan responded to the senator. “I am very confident that the appropriate authorities reviewing this matter will determine where wrongdoing, if any, occurred in either the executive branch or legislative branch.”