Udall calls for CIA director to resign amid Senate spying scandal

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US Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)
U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO).

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., called for the resignation of CIA Director John Brennan on Thursday, after a new report said that CIA officers improperly accessed Senate computers, read the emails of Senate staff, and exhibited a "lack of candor" when interviewed by agency investigators.

Udall says the CIA needs new leadership, and a change in culture.

"They’ve gotta be accountable to Congress since the public, for national security reasons, can’t be told about all the things our intelligence community does," Udall told CPR News. "That’s why this obstruction of our work is just so egregious."

Udall sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. He had previously called for Brennan's resignation in March.

Earlier this year, Brennan denied accusations by the committee chair that the CIA had accessed some of the committee’s work. Udall says that denial is one reason Brennan should step down.

"I don’t know why the director made those comments. He instead could have been forthcoming. He could have agreed to work with all of us to remedy these problems," Udall says.

The document released Thursday by the CIA is a summary of an internal CIA investigation that has prompted Brennan to abandon his defiant posture in the matter and apologize to Senate Intelligence Committee leaders. The IG report says a criminal referral by the CIA about the conduct of Senate staffers, "was not supported, as the author of the referral had been provided inaccurate information."

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., also issued a harsh statement on the matter Thursday.

“It is appalling to think that the CIA would illegally spy on the United States Congress, especially after Director Brennan made assurances that this did not happen. CIA leadership owes Congress and the American people a full, public accounting of what happened and what is being done to prevent any such actions ever again. Our intelligence agencies must operate within the law and respect the Constitutional separation of powers.”

A White House spokesman defended Brennan Thursday, saying the CIA director has a difficult job and does it well.