THE BLOG
12/22/2014 03:50 pm ET Updated Feb 21, 2015

Decision Not to Pursue Punishment of CIA Officials Who Conducted Unauthorized Search of Senate Computers Is Unacceptable

This weekend, The New York Times reported that the panel appointed to review the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) unauthorized search of Senate Intelligence Committee staff members' computers is expected to not recommend pursuing disciplinary action against CIA officials involved in the breach. Read my full statement below:

Press reports over the weekend indicate that no one at the CIA will be held accountable for conducting an unauthorized search of the Committee's computer files and emails, and that Director Brennan may have ordered the search. If this is accurate, it is unacceptable.

I have spoken to the CIA's Inspector General about his investigation into this, and what he found is extremely troubling.

The CIA's unauthorized search of computer files and emails belonging to its Congressional oversight committee was a massive breach of the separation of powers and very well may have violated federal laws. Added to this is the CIA's baseless and retaliatory criminal referral against Committee staff, and the fact that Director Brennan continues to impede oversight by refusing to answer repeated and basic bipartisan questions from the Committee about his role in the search.

That there would be no repercussions for any of this is beyond the pale. It enables a culture where serious mistakes are tolerated and swept under the rug. Such an unabashed lack of accountability would not be acceptable at any other department or agency, and it should not be acceptable at the CIA. That the CIA operates largely in a culture of secrecy must not be a free pass - rather it means that its leaders should meet an even higher standard for internal oversight and discipline.

"Plain and simple, the search was deeply inappropriate and shows a major lapse in judgment. If it was conducted without Director Brennan's approval, whoever ordered it should be held accountable. If Director Brennan called for the search, then the White House needs to hold him accountable. Period.