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CIA nominee Brennan was interviewed in leak probes

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's nominee to head the CIA, John Brennan, has been interviewed in connection with U.S. prosecutors' probes into unauthorized leaks of government secrets to the news media, documents released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday said.

Written submissions from Brennan to the committee were posted on the panel's website. In them, Brennan confirmed that he had participated in voluntary interviews as part of probes into leaks concerning cyber attacks against Iran and a foiled bomb plot tied to Al Qaeda's Yemen-based affiliate.

Brennan said, however, that his lawyer had been advised by both prosecutors' offices that he is only a witness in both inquiries. The White House declined to comment.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is holding a hearing on Brennan's nomination on Thursday.

The two leak investigations in which Brennan was questioned were launched last June by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

"I participated in a voluntary interview in connection with an investigation being conducted by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland into possible unauthorized disclosures of information to reporters about cyber attacks against Iran," Brennan wrote in his submissions to the intelligence committee.

In that probe, the U.S. attorney in Baltimore is looking into disclosures in a book and an article by a New York Times journalist about the alleged role of U.S. agencies and Israeli authorities in cyber warfare activities against Iran, including deployment of a virus known as Stuxnet.

The other probe by the U.S. attorney in Washington is examining leaks that led to the premature end of an undercover operation to infiltrate al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al Qaeda's Yemen-based affiliate.

"I participated in a voluntary interview" in connection with the probe into "possible unauthorized disclosures of information to reporters about a foiled bomb plot tied to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," Brennan said in his written submissions.

(Editing by Susan Cornwell and Christopher Wilson)

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