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CIA admits to spying on Senate committee

After months of denials, CIA Director John Brennan apologizes for spying on Senate Intelligence Committee computers.

Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Central Intelligence Agency on Thursday admitted that it improperly gained access to computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to prepare a report on a CIA detention and interrogation program.

The agency's inspector general -- an internal watchdog -- concluded that some CIA employees "acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding" between the CIA and the Senate when it penetrated the computer network, said CIA spokesperson Dean Boyd in a statement shared with CNET News.

CIA Director John Brennan apologized to Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss about the actions of some of the agency's officials. Brennan is forming an accountability committee, led by former Indiana Sen. Even Bayh, that will examine the inspector general's report and recommend potential disciplinary action and ways to address broader issues.

The independent computer network that the CIA tapped was established in 2009 for Congress to review CIA documents during an investigation into alleged torture and abuse in a detention and interrogation program from the George W. Bush administration.

The CIA snooping became public in March after Sen. Feinstein accused the agency of improperly monitoring the computer network. Today's apology comes after months of denial from Brennan.

"When the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong," Brennan said at the time, according to The New York Times.

The Senate's more than 6,000 page report on the now-defunct detention and interrogation program will be released to the public, possibly as soon as next month, according to The Hill.