WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA’s director and its top lawyer told White House attorneys in advance about their plans to file an official criminal complaint accusing Senate Intelligence Committee aides of improperly obtaining secret agency documents, the White House confirmed Wednesday.
Lawyers in the White House counsel’s office did not approve the CIA’s move to refer its complaint to the Justice Department or provide any advice to the agency, presidential spokesman Jay Carney said.
“There was no comment, there was no weighing in, there was no judgment,” Carney said, citing protocol not to interfere in the ongoing inquiries into the matter by the FBI and the CIA’s inspector general.
Carney did not say whether President Barack Obama was directly aware of the decision. “The president has been aware in general about the protocols and the discussions and occasional disputes involved,” he said.
Obama avoided commenting on his involvement in the dispute at the end of a meeting Wednesday with female Democratic lawmakers on women’s economic issues. He added that “with respect to the issues that are going back and forth between the Senate committee and the CIA, (CIA Director) John Brennan has referred them to the appropriate authorities. And they are looking into it. And that’s not something that is an appropriate role for me and the White House to weigh into at this point.”