Udall loses ‘confidence’ in CIA chief
Central Intelligence Agency Director John O. Brennan lost the confidence of U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., on Tuesday, when Brennan said the spy agency hadn’t hacked computers used by Senate staffers.
“I’ve lost confidence in Director Brennan’s ability to lead the agency” given Brennan’s denials on Tuesday that the CIA had spied on the Senate investigation, Udall said in an interview with The Daily Sentinel.
Brennan admitted on Jan. 15 that Senate investigators had searched through files on a computer network reserved for congressional investigators.
“I want to be respectful, but Director Brennan contradicted himself today,” Udall said. “There is no equivalency that the CIA acted in an unconstitutional way” by breaching the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.
“What (the CIA) has done in effect is reject our oversight role,” Udall said, adding that he would insist on the separation of powers “no matter who is in the White House.”
Udall wrote a letter last week to President Barack Obama that referred to an unexplained action by the agency. “As you are aware, the CIA has recently taken unprecedented action against the (Intelligence) Committee in relation to the CIA review, and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the Committee’s oversight responsibilities and for our democracy,” Udall wrote. “It is essential that the Committee be able to do its oversight work consistent with our constitutional principle of the separation of powers — without the CIA imposing impediments or obstacles as it is today.”
In that letter, Udall said he couldn’t support Obama’s nomination of Caroline Krass as general counsel for the CIA.
The friction between the governmental branches apparently sprang from the Intelligence Committee’s investigation of a report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.