Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett talks Feinstein-CIA controversy, Working Families Summit, Obama's Funny or Die interview

The CIA and Congress are suddenly fighting in public. Veterans of Washington say they've never seen anything like what's unfolding.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has accused the agency of hacking Congressional computers, and CIA Director John Brennan has shot back that the charge is not true. He said he's prepared to let President Obama decide.

"If I did something wrong," he said, "I will go to the president and I will explain to him exactly what I did, what the findings were, and he is the one who can ask me to stay or to go."

Responding to the controversy on "CBS This Morning," Mr. Obama's Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett explained the Intelligence Committee has been reviewing enhanced interrogation methods that were used by the prior administration.

"These are methods that the president criticized when he was running for office and that he ended as soon as he took office," Jarrett said. "The president believes in the work of the committee. He believes that the findings of the committee should be released after they're reviewed and redacted as appropriate to protect our national security. So he fully supports the work that Chairwoman Feinstein has been doing. ... This is subject to review of the inspector general and also the Justice Department and so it really isn't going to be appropriate for us to comment until that work is finished."

Pressed on whether there is a conflict between the CIA director and Feinstein, Jarrett said "there appears to be."

She added that, as Brennan said, if there has been some kind of wrongdoing, "he wants to be the first to get to the bottom of it."

Asked why he wouldn't know about what's going on in his own agency, Jarrett said Brennan has to investigate, and that "he's made it clear that he intends to do that."

Turning to the White House Summit on Working Families coming up in June, Jarrett said it's designed to focus on making U.S. workplaces globally competitive, as well as ensure that everyone -- and especially women -- can fully participate in the workplace.

Jarrett noted the Council of Economic Advisers released a report Wednesday that shows that as you compare the United States to our global competitors, women are beginning to lag in terms of participation.

"We also find that women are disproportionately among the low-wage workers," Jarrett said. "As you know, the president has called for raising the minimum wage. That will help so many women participate as they are increasingly breadwinners in families. It's also important that we look at pay. Women still only earn 77 cents on the dollar. Women of color earn even less than that."

Jarrett touted legislation being pushed by Democrats in Congress called "Paycheck Fainress," designed to reduce the gender gap in incomes and opportunities.

"We are not going to be globally competitive if half of our population is on the sidelines," she said.

The summit will also look at workplace flexibility, according to Jarrett.

"More people have responsibilities outside of work," she said. "We want to make sure they have the flexibility to participate in the work, but also honor the responsibilities and it could be taking care of children, elder care, volunteering in the community, and that companies that are flexible tend to be more productive and more profitable. So how can we support that?"

In addition to the summit, Jarrett -- who was one of the players behind President Obama's appearance on Zach Galifianakis' show "Between Two Ferns" -- said it wasn't hard to get the president to participate.

"So far it's been overwhelmingly successful," she said. "I was checking how many hits were on the site last night when I went to bed, it was 10 million, which I'm sure breaks all kinds of records. But also more importantly than that, the traffic on our website has gone up 40 percent between yesterday and today and that was the goal. The goal is to help reach that young audience and Zach and the guys at Funny or Die, they have huge followings."

"People are signing up (for Obamacare)," she said. "We released our numbers just yesterday for the month of February, so 4.2 million folks have signed up and we now still have several weeks to go. March 31st is the deadline. ... (Healthcare.gov is) working just fine."

  • Amanda Cochran

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