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White House: Obama has 'great confidence' in John Brennan and CIA

CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama had “great confidence” in CIA Director John Brennan and his agency after a top senator accused the CIA of improperly searching her computers.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Tuesday accused the CIA of searching a computer network storing information about her panel’s investigation into the agency’s alleged use of torture in interrogations.

The California senator said the Justice Department has been asked to investigate.

Carney on Tuesday told reporters that Obama had “great confidence in John Brennan and confidence in our intelligence community and professionals at the CIA.”

He sidestepped further questions about Feinstein’s charges, noting that the matter was being reviewed by the Justice Department and the CIA's inspector general and referred to Brennan's own statements.

Allegations from the intelligence community also claim that Senate staffers took classified CIA documents.

Brennan on Tuesday denied that the agency had tried to stop the intelligence panel from issuing its report on torture, or “hacked” any computers.

Brennan said he was confident that the DOJ and CIA IG would properly review the allegations.

“This is a matter involving protocols established in 2009 for the interaction between committee staff and CIA staff and officials as part of the investigation the committee was undergoing,” Carney said. “There have been periodic disputes about that process.

“This is under investigation,” he added. “These matters are under two separate investigations, an IG review as well as a referral to the Department of Justice. So I'm not going to provide an analysis or assessment.”

Carney said the White House supported “the declassification of the findings of the report” and had opposed the enhanced interrogation techniques used under George W. Bush's administration.

“Folks here and in the administration have been in regular consultation with Chairman Feinstein about the broader issues here,” said Carney.

“We’ve made clear that we want to see the report’s findings declassified,” he stressed.