Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) was petitioned by more than 200,000 petition signatures from Americans to read the 6,300 page classified version of the Senate Intelligence Report on CIA torture into the Congressional record, similar to what Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK) did, reading the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record in 1971 (with no one present to object to unanimous consent in the early morning hours, Sen. Gravel moved to insert the 4,100 pages of the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record of his subcommittee).
The following day, the Supreme Court’s New York Times Co. v. United States decision ruled in favor of the New York Times and Washington Post, which resumed publication of the Pentagon Papers.
So far, Sen. Udall has resisted reading the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on CIA torture into the Congressional Record, preferring to work through “regular order” for now, but keeping his options open. Charles Pierce at Esquire reports, Mark Udall Had Something To Get Off His Chest:
Outgoing Senator Mark Udall got up in the Senate yesterday, and while he didn’t enter the entire 6000 pages of the Senate’s torture report into the record, the way I think he should have, he unlimbered himself sufficiently — It’s being called a “career-defining” speech, albeit one delivered to a largely empty chamber — that I suspect the mandarins of the security state, and their acolytes in the legislature and in my business, will shortly be rending their garments. In fact, that already may have started.
Nevertheless, beware the politician with nothing left to lose.
In a career-defining speech, Sen. Mark Udall took to the Senate floor Wednesday to discuss a largely classified internal CIA investigation into the agency’s Bush-era “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and to call for the current CIA director’s resignation. Udall, an outbound Democrat from Colorado, began highlighting key conclusions from the CIA’s so-called Panetta Review, written in 2011 and named after then-agency Director Leon Panetta. Its critical findings, in addition to the agency’s attempts to prevent the Senate from seeing it, Udall said, demonstrates that the CIA is still lying about the scope of enhanced-interrogation techniques used during the Bush administration. That deceit is continuing today under current CIA Director John Brennan, Udall said. “The refusal to provide the full Panetta Review and the refusal to acknowledge facts detailed in both the committee study and the Panetta Review lead to one disturbing finding: Director Brennan and the CIA today are continuing to willfully provide inaccurate information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture,” Udall said. “In other words: The CIA is lying.” Obama, Udall said, “has expressed full confidence in Director Brennan and demonstrated that trust by making no effort at all to rein him in.” Udall additionally referred to Brennan’s “failed leadership” and suggested that he should resign.
Oh, no. Not…classified information! To the shelter, mother, and fire up the crystal set!
Udall said that redactions in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s landmark torture report obfuscated key details about the CIA’s harsh interrogation methods. Among those, Udall said, the report is ambiguous about how many CIA officials participated in the brutal practices. In reality, it was only a handful, he said. As he spoke, Udall continued to give a blistering and detailed account of what he portrayed as the CIA leadership’s refusal to come clean with the American people about its now-defunct interrogation program. Udall accused the CIA of outright lying to the committee during its investigation. “Torture just didn’t happen, after all,” Udall said. “Real, actual people engaged in torture. Some of these people are still employed by the CIA.” Udall said it was bad enough not to prosecute these officials, but to reward or promote them, he said, was incomprehensible. Udall called on Obama “to purge” his administration of anyone who was engaged in torturing prisoners. “He needs to force a cultural change at the CIA,” Udall said. And, Udall said, the institutional problems are far from over. “CIA was knowingly providing inaccurate information to the committee in the present day,” he said.
The heat will come, and right soon, I’m thinking.
Inexplicably, this is how the White House responded to Sen. Udall’s call for CIA Director Brennan to resign. White House: CIA chief a ‘professional and patriot’:
The White House on Wednesday stood behind CIA Director John Brennan on Wednesday, after a Senate Democrat called for his resignation over the findings of the new report on “enhanced interrogations.”
“Mr. Brennan worked here in the White House for four years as the president’s top homeland security adviser. And Mr. Brennan has continued his service as the director of the CIA. The president believes that he has done an exemplary job in both of those roles,” Earnest said.
The press secretary sidestepped accusations from some on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), that Brennan and the CIA are misleading lawmakers about the efficacy of the interrogation techniques. Udall called for Brennan to resign.
“We certainly would have the expectation that everybody in this administration, including everybody who works for the Central Intelligence Agency, would be truthful and honest with members of Congress, particularly when they’re under oath,” Earnest said.
Earnest also said President Obama is confident the Justice Department acted appropriately in opting not to bring criminal charges against intelligence officials.
Earnest was asked repeatedly if the president thought criminal charges should be filed after the release Tuesday of a Senate Intelligence Committee report that found CIA interrogators had subjected detainees to conditions the president himself described as “torture.”
The investigation found the CIA used sleep deprivation, rectal rehydration, ice water baths and assorted other types of physical abuse — as well as threats to sexually abuse the family members of detainees — in a bid to glean information about al Qaeda and other terrorist networks.
Earnest sad repeatedly that it was up to the Department of Justice to determine whether there was a need for criminal prosecutions.
“That is the way that our criminal justice system works, which is that we have career federal prosecutors that are insulated from any sort of political interference, even the appearance of political interference,” he said. “And the president accepts that’s the way that the system works.”
Or not . . . Justice Department will not reopen torture inquiry.
Andrew Prokop at Vox.com asks the right question: Torture is illegal. Americans tortured. Why isn’t anyone being prosecuted? The answer: politics.
How strange is it that President Obama, so reviled by the right, is the protector of the criminals of the Bush-Cheney regime? America now harbors war criminals and torturers to prevent their prosecution, something we have long criticized other countries for doing. We have lost our moral compass.