A rare public spat erupted on Tuesday between the CIA and the U.S. lawmakers meant to oversee its work, with the head of the agency angrily denying claims it spied on Senate staff.

Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein launched a fiery attack on the Central Intelligence Agency, accusing it of improperly searching computers used by staffers investigating CIA interrogation methods. “I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution,” Ms. Feinstein said on the Senate floor. The agency’s director John Brennan quickly denied the allegations.

Ms. Feinstein said the CIA searched a computer drive used by staffers on the intelligence committee. “I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers... was inappropriate,” the Democratic senator from California said. “I have received neither.” — AFP