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A Senate Intelligence Committee report released on Tuesday on the post-9/11 torture techniques utilized by the Central Intelligence Agency sheds “light on this dark chapter of our history, ensuring neither the CIA nor any future administration would make these grievous mistakes ever again,” according to Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, who serves on the committee.
Udall, a Democrat who lost his reelection bid last month to Republican Cory Gardner, was a key figure in trying to hold the White House, CIA and intelligence agencies accountable. He welcomed the declassification Tuesday of what he called the “the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s exhaustive study of the CIA’s brutal, ineffective and misguided detention and interrogation program (pdf download.”
“The release of the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program is an historic victory for our nation, the Constitution, and our system of checks and balances,” Udall said in a prepared statement. “This study ensures that the truth about the CIA’s brutal torture program finally comes out and that the agency can learn from its repeated missteps and start to restore its integrity.”
According to The New York Times, “the scathing report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday found that the Central Intelligence Agency routinely misled the White House and Congress about the information it obtained from the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, and that its methods were more brutal than the C.I.A. acknowledged either to Bush administration officials or to the public.
“The long-delayed report, which took five years to produce and is based on more than six million internal agency documents, is a sweeping indictment of the C.I.A.’s operation and oversight of a program carried out by agency officials and contractors in secret prisons around the world in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It also provides a macabre accounting of some of the grisliest techniques that the C.I.A. used to torture and imprison terrorism suspects.
“Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.’s medical staff, some C.I.A. prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.’s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.”
Udall had been urged by human rights groups to consider leaking the CIA torture report if negotiations broke down on its release. Republicans have been critical of plans to release the report, trying to portray it as partisan and attempting to block it in order to avoid reprisals against U.S. targets overseas and claiming torture — or “enhanced interrogation” — has resulted in invaluable intelligence.
“The partisan conclusions reached in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on CIA enhanced interrogation techniques is designed to humiliate our nation and the intelligence community,” U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado Springs, said a prepared statement.
“It also has the potential to endanger the lives of Americans,” Lamborn added. “I believe in transparent government, but I also believe in a government that is able to use all the tools at its legal disposal to protect American citizens. There should be no doubt that harsh interrogation techniques produced actionable intelligence from a handful of terrorists that could not have been obtained any other way. There is a real danger that this report could imperil our ongoing intelligence gathering partnerships, techniques, and capabilities.”
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat who represents Vail and much of Eagle County in the U.S. House, also issued a statement Tuesday on the report:
“The release of the Senate CIA torture report today reveals a dark and shameful chapter in American history. Under the guise of patriotism, the CIA conducted wholly un-American behavior that failed to secure our nation, but did much damage to our credibility and standing at home and abroad. The activities described in the report demonstrated a flagrant and frightening disregard for domestic and international law, offering a glimpse into the mindset of an agency that clearly believes it can play by a different set of rules.
“This report is a good first step towards bringing much needed accountability to our intelligence community, but it alone is not enough to change the culture that led to these lasting and continuous violations of international law and American values. I am calling for the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to double down on their oversight of the intelligence community to ensure that these types of activities never happen again and that those who work at the CIA and other intelligence agencies don’t trample on the very constitution they seek to protect.”
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, a Cortez Republican who represents the eastern half of Eagle County, issued a statement to the Durango Herald through a spokesman.
“Congressman Tipton is in the process of reviewing the Senate report, but shares the concerns of House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers that its release could put Americans’ lives at risk around the world,” said Josh Green, a spokesman for Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez. “He supports transparency and also believes that prudence should be exercised in terms of what sensitive national security information is released so that it doesn’t jeopardize American lives or incite violence.”