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-snooping through the Senate investigators’ computers to see if they had read an internal CIA review, and accusing those investigators of viewing it illegally.


Q: What does CIA Director John Brennan say?

A: He denies hacking into the Senate investigators’ computers and says the agency has cooperated.

He says that Senate investigators may have “improperly obtained and/or retained” sensitive CIA documents, in violation of the ground rules for how the classified materials would be handled. The agency’s acting general counsel has asked the Justice Department to look into whether Senate staffers committed a crime.


Q: Will anybody be charged with a crime?

Both sides have asked the Justice Department for a criminal investigation, but that’s no guarantee that will happen. This involves a murky area of the law and it’s not clear that prosecutors will want to get in the middle of this government dispute.


Q: Is this another partisan fight between Democrats and Republicans?

A: Not this time. It’s more complicated.

Feinstein, typically a staunch defender of intelligence agencies, is squaring off against a CIA director who appears to have strong backing from his boss, the president. Brennan was Obama’s counterterrorism adviser before taking the CIA job.

Brennan also served in the CIA during the Bush years, when the harsh interrogations were carried out.


Q: What are Republicans saying about all this?

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