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FBI Probing Alleged Removal Of Documents From CIA By Senate Staffers

McClatchy Tribune News Service National News Politics

FBI Probing Alleged Removal Of Documents From CIA By Senate Staffers

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The committee’s $40 million classified study concluded that little valuable intelligence was obtained by the CIA’s use during the George W. Bush administration of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods on suspected terrorists in “black site” prisons in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, according to lawmakers who have read it.

The study, the lawmakers have said, also found that the CIA misled the White House, Congress and the public about the usefulness of the information gained from the techniques, which many experts and governments condemn as torture. The CIA and former Bush administration officials said the methods were legal. The program ended in 2006.

The committee approved a final draft of its report in December 2013 and submitted it to the CIA for an official response and recommendations on what portions should be withheld from the public. The agency submitted its response in June 2013 and has resisted its release, citing inaccuracies in some of the committee’s conclusions.

As reported earlier this week by McClatchy, the dispute escalated last fall when committee staff discovered what lawmakers have characterized as a draft of a top-secret internal CIA review ordered by former CIA Director Leon Panetta that broadly corroborated their report’s findings, according to one of the knowledgeable people. They found the draft in a database into which documents were deposited after being vetted by a team of CIA officials and contractors.

The staff then realized that the draft review showed that CIA leadership misled the panel in submitting an official response that disputed some report conclusions, the knowledgeable person said.

The staff printed out the draft, walked the document out of the CIA facility and took it to Capitol Hill, an act that the CIA regarded as the unauthorized removal of classified material and a violation of a user agreement between the sides, according to knowledgeable people.

The CIA confronted the committee in January with details of the unauthorized removal. The staff then determined that the CIA had recorded their use of the computers in the high-security research room that also allegedly violated the user agreement, McClatchy learned.

The CIA has denied that it conducted an internal review, saying that the group assembled at Panetta’s direction only produced summaries of the documents deposited in the database for use by the committee staff, and that it didn’t compile an analytical report.

AFP Photo/Saul Loeb

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