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Senator's spy claims chill CIA - Congress relations

Published on Mar 12, 2014 11:58 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A top US lawmaker's hotly disputed charge that the CIA illegally spied on Senate staff has roiled the intelligence community, fraying ties between the agency and its overseers in Congress.

Senator Dianne Feinstein brought what had been a behind-the-scenes spat into the public glare on Tuesday with her furious broadside against the Central Intelligence Agency, saying its agents searched computers used by staffers investigating its interrogation methods.

"I have grave concerns that the CIA's search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution," Feinstein said on the Senate floor.

She alleged the CIA may have breached federal law as well as the executive order that bars it from domestic spying, but the agency's director John Brennan quickly denied the allegations.

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