CIA briefing to lawmakers on suspected energy attacks turned contentious
May 4, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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A briefing on suspected energy attacks on US intelligence officers turned contentious last week, two sources told CNN, as senators demanded more information about the mysterious incidents from the CIA and accountability for how the agency has handled them.
Washington (CNN)A briefing on suspected energy attacks on US intelligence officers turned contentious last week, two sources told CNN, as senators demanded more information about the mysterious incidents from the CIA and accountability for how the agency has handled them.
President Joe Biden's new CIA director, Bill Burns, has committed to prioritizing an investigation into the attacks but the extraordinary briefing revealed that a lot of work needs to be done on this complex and disturbing issue -- particularly in terms of accountability for how the agency initially mishandled cases, including failing to properly provide medical care to officials affected and coordinating the investigation across government, according to the sources familiar with the briefing.
The briefers -- who were members of the CIA task force looking into the attacks -- did not provide a clear timeline of when certain information had been discovered and why it was only being shared with the senators then, which led some members to believe that the agency had previously been hiding that information from Congress, the sources said.
Senators made it clear during the briefing that agency officials who mishandled the agency's response to the attacks from the get-go must be held accountable, one of the sources said.
Some senators directed criticism specifically towards officials in the CIA medical office, which initially doubted intelligence officials who said they had been subject to the mysterious attacks.
Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday it was "outrageous" that officials have struggled to obtain medical care.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, pressed Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines about the possible attacks at a hearing last week, urging Haines to declassify information about the incidents and "share it with members of Congress in a way that allows us to better respond. "