U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) gestures as he addresses reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 11, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked Holder to "carefully examine" the charges on each side of the CIA/Intelligence Committee conflict. He blasted the agency for attempting to intimidate Congress and hinder its oversight of the agency.
Reid charged that CIA officials have conducted a “transparent attempt to intimidate the [Senate Intelligence] Committee and undermine its oversight of the Agency."

"The CIA’s decision to access the resources and work product of the legislative branch without permission is absolutely indefensible, regardless of the context. This action has serious separation of powers implications," Reid warned. […]

In his letter, Reid points to the decision by the CIA’s acting general counsel to refer criminal complaints to DOJ against Senate staff as an act of intimidation, arguing that “the allegation that Senate committee staff who have no technical training somehow hacked into the CIA’s highly secure classified networks is so absurd as to be comical.”

Reid has also ordered Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer to review the computers used by staff in the Senate Intelligence Committee in investigating CIA torture, asking CIA Director John Brennan to provide access to those computers to provide evidence of Brennan's contention that Intelligence staff illegally obtained CIA documents related to the torture probe.
In his message to Brennan, Reid rejected as "patently absurd" suggestions that committee staffers improperly accessed classified information about the agency and the interrogation program. "To my knowledge, the CIA has produced no evidence to support its claims that Senate committee staff who have no technical training somehow hacked into the CIA's highly secure classified networks," Reid said.
Reid's actions Wednesday indicate just how seriously Senate leadership is taking the CIA's interference in the committee's efforts to conduct oversight. For his part, Holder says that Justice is reviewing the CIA's allegations that committee staff improperly obtained documents, but did not say whether the agency will investigate. Reid's letter to Holder is essentially a challenge to let him know that the Senate will not back away from this conflict.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:42 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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