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Udall will be missed on critical issues such as CIA torture, NSA spying

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December 10, 2014, 10:55 am

Sorry if you were trying to get on either site (Real Vail or Real Aspen) Tuesday afternoon into this morning. Right after I posted quick stories reporting on Colorado lawmaker reaction to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA torture report, both sites crashed.

Coincidence? Maybe. My sites haven’t crashed for months; then all of a sudden, I post a story on CIA torture and … poof. Offline for 12-plus hours. Then a black helicopter started circling my house and … JK on that last part.

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner

Regardless, it’s a very interesting debate – one that outgoing Democratic Sen. Mark Udall was instrumental in keeping at the forefront of our public consciousness, including taking to the Senate floor to blast the Obama administration on the issue Wednesday. He clearly should have focused more on his track record as a watchdog  over the CIA and NSA instead of zeroing in on his opponent’s abysmal and indefensible record on reproductive rights in last month’s midterm election.

Udall quickly issued a release on the torture report Tuesday. Where does U.S. Rep. and new Senator-elect Cory Gardner stand on the release of the report? Who knows? No statement, nothing on Twitter since Nov. 20, the last press release from his office was Oct. 30, and his last Facebook post was Dec. 5. And none of them mention the CIA.

Gardner, to his credit, does condemn the Sand Creek massacre on his Facebook page, calling it a shameful chapter in U.S. history, but that was 150 years ago. I guess more recent shameful chapters aren’t worthy of comment. The only comment I could find from a Colorado Republican was the one I posted from CD5 U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn.

Democrat Jared Polis, who represents eastern Eagle County (including Vail) quickly released a statement that I included in my post Tuesday, but Republican Scott Tipton, who represents the western half of Eagle County (as well as Aspen and surrounding Pitkin County) didn’t issue a public statement. Instead, a spokesman gave a comment to the Durango Herald. At least it’s something.

One would think the Senator-elect who’s replacing such a champion on these issues would have said something by now, to somebody. But Gardner was still silent as of Wednesday at 11 a.m.

If you voted for Gardner, you can expect that lack of public discourse and transparency for the next six years. Congratulations. Gardner doesn’t even bother to have his people email or call reporters back, especially if they have tough questions.

And if you’re a Democrat who didn’t bother to get out and vote for Udall, you get the government you deserve, and clearly you’re OK with the CIA and the NSA watching your every move, torturing terrorism suspects without filing charges and executing U.S. citizens anywhere they want with illegal drone strikes.

Mark Udall had a problem with all of the above. He will be missed.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, SKI Magazine, Atlantic Media's RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), Ski Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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