Politics

Obama Says He Has 'Full Confidence' In CIA Chief John Brennan

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama said Friday that he has "full confidence" in Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan, despite calls for his resignation over a damning report that found employees snooped on computers used by U.S. Senate staff to investigate the agency.

"Keep in mind that John Brennan was the person who called for the [inspector general] report," the president said.

According to a CIA Inspector General’s Office report, agency employees in 2009 hacked Senate computers being used to compile a report on the agency’s infamous detention and interrogation program -- a move that critics have characterized as a significant breach of the separation of powers.

Despite issuing an apology to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Brennan's vocal defense of the agency earlier this year has infuriated lawmakers, some of whom who are now calling for the director's resignation.

On Thursday, Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) all slammed the CIA on the matter. Udall and Heinrich called on Brennan to resign.

At a news conference Friday, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the agency's conduct was especially troubling and could possibly even be "worse than criminal."

Brennan has convened an accountability board -- chaired by former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), who was previously a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee -- to investigate the matter.

In a softly worded statement Thursday, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called the effort to conduct a review a "positive first step." The report "corrects the record and it is my understanding that a declassified report will be made available to the public shortly," she added.

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