In a speech just ended on the floor of the U.S. Senate today, outgoing Colorado Sen. Mark Udall called out the CIA and President Obama for continuing to obfuscate and dodge responsibility for the gross violations of U.S. and international law detailed in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s “torture report” released yesterday and also, as Udall made clear, outlined in a 2011 internal CIA investigative report.
The Democratic senator, a member of the Intelligence Committee who lost a reelection bid this year in the Republican wave, referred to de-classified conclusions on the Bush-era torture program reported in the “Panetta Review,” named after former CIA Director Leon Panetta.
Udall was clearly enraged at the pushback the torture report has drawn over the past 24 hours and at the soft response by the Obama administration.
The National Journal came out fast with a story on what it called the “career-defining” speech:[blockquote]”One disturbing finding: Director Brennan and the CIA 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.
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.
“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, Udall 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.[/blockquote]
Correction: The original version of this story reported that the Panetta Review’s conclusions were classified and that the Senator was revealing classified information. That is incorrect. The Panetta Review has been de-classified.