House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Wednesday that he's known about accusations that the CIA searched computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee for a while, but said attention should remain focused on the findings of the agency's internal review of the matter.
“The important thing here is to make sure we get the facts, that’s what’s going to be important about this thing," Rogers told The Washington Post.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) publicly accused the CIA of violating the Constitution and breaking federal law in a dramatic floor speech on Tuesday. She detailed how the CIA allegedly accessed computers set up for committee investigators at a secret facility in Northern Virginia, where they had been reviewing files on the agency’s use of waterboarding and other brutal interrogation methods after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The CIA’s inspector general has been reviewing the accusations and recently referred the case to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution.
Asked Wednesday whether he's ever raised Feinstein's concerns directly with CIA Director John O. Brennan, Rogers said: "It really was something that those two were working out. I didn’t think it was my place to do that, but clearly things have changed."
Feinstein has said she hopes to release the findings of a 6,000-page report on the interrogation and waterboarding programs in the near future. Rogers said Wednesday that he has discussed the report's findings with Feinstein on several occasions.
“We’ve had lots of conversations about it," he said. "There’s lot of differences of opinion on their investigation, which is separate from what the allegations were. There’s two different issues there. So yeah, we’ve been in contact."
Meanwhile, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday that he'll withhold his opinions on the accusations until the release of the agency's internal investigation.
"I'll keep my opinions to myself," until the CIA inspector general releases his report, he told reporters.
As House Speaker, Boehner receives regular intelligence briefings from top intelligence officials. He also is close friends with Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the two most-senior Republicans on the intelligence panel, who withheld comment on Feinstein's accusations on Tuesday.