Aspiring Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr Goes After Mark Udall

Yesterday, I predicted the CIA and its Republican apologists would try to use the torture crisis to knock off a few Democrats in an attempt to retake the Senate. If that happened, Richard Burr, who would become Senate Intelligence Chair, would surely kill the Torture Report as one of his first acts.

And all this assumes Democrats retain control of the Senate. That’s an uphill battle in any case. But CIA has many ways to influence events. Even assuming CIA would never encourage false flags attacks or leak compromising information about Democrats, the Agency can ratchet up the fear mongering and call Democrats weak on security. That always works and it ought to be worth a Senate seat or three.

If Democrats lose the Senate, you can be sure that newly ascendant Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr would be all too happy to bury the Torture Report, just for starters. Earlier today, after all, he scolded Feinstein for airing this fight.

“I personally don’t believe that anything that goes on in the intelligence committee should ever be discussed publicly,”

Burr’s a guy who has joked about waterboarding in the past. Burying the Torture Report would be just the start of things, I fear.

It sure didn’t take long to be proven right.

Republicans say that not only has the committee’s chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), provided selective information to the public about improper CIA conduct, but they are also now pointing the finger at Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

The Colorado Democrat, Republicans say, shouldn’t have disclosed internal Senate proceedings over the CIA investigation — something that some Republicans privately say should warrant an ethics committee review.

[snip]

“I think Mark did make some public releases that were committee-sensitive information, but that’s for the committee internally to handle,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), a member of the committee. “That’s being reviewed right now.”

Udall said “No way” when asked Wednesday if he was involved in the leaking of sensitive information, saying he’s “done absolutely nothing wrong here.”

“If some of my colleagues on the Intelligence Committee really want to press the case that in referring to an executive branch abuse in my March 4 letter – what I called an ‘unprecedented action’ that the CIA had taken in relation to the internal CIA review – I have somehow violated Committee rules, I am more than happy to have that debate,” Udall said.

Udall added: “In fact, the only thing I’ve done is exercise vigorous oversight over senior intelligence officials who are all too often unwilling to cooperate with Congress.”

[snip]

Several Intelligence Committee Republicans also asserted that ethics charges should be filed against Udall for his public statements about the CIA’s interrogation program and about the agency’s reaction to the panel’s investigation into that program, including the March 4 letter.

But others on the panel, said the matter should be handled internally by the Intelligence Committee — not by the Ethics Committee.

Burr added: “If you look historically, the committee has cleaned up any mistakes that members have made. Members can do whatever they want to. My concern is that the release of information could potentially causes the losses of life to Americans. That to me, is a threshold that should be addressed.”

As I noted on Twitter, Burr is the distant relation of noted assassin Aaron Burr (which he joked about once when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testified). He sure seems to take to the assassination role well. He’s now suggesting Mark Udall might potentially cause the loss of American life because he revealed that in 2009 the CIA agreed with what Senate Democrats (and John McCain) would ultimately conclude, that the CIA’s torture program was ineffective and they lied about it.

Right. Knowing the truth about CIA’s torture will kill us all.

In any case, this is all proceeding, very quickly, as I predicted. The Republicans will try to make this an election issue, helped in the background by CIA’s torturers, with the understanding that they will not only kill the Torture Report if Republicans take the Senate, but give CIA free rein.

But honest, the Intelligence Community has adequate oversight.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

41 replies
  1. abbadabba says:

    Mark Udall is the Great Grandson of David King Udall, the father of the Udall political dynasty. Mo was my US Rep. Burr is an icehole who needs to be expelled from Congress, the equivalent of impeachment for Reps and Senators. Feinstein and Rogers should join him.

    David was targeted by the GOP who’s laws against plural families were designed to keep Mormons, who were faithful DEMOCRATS, from overturning the GOP’s grip on the Territories in the 1880s. Had the Dems been in the GOP’s shoes, would they have invented a crime to deny opponents the right to vote, sit juries and run for office?

    The GOP Raiders could never find David at home with both his families as they were parted to prevent such an arrest, which only made life in the hostile, remote AZ wilderness harder for same. The GOP got David by convicting him of making a false affidavit regarding a Miles Romney’s land title. Cleveland later cleared David for having been “misled.”

    Now, the Romneys self-deported to Mexico, and like most who did, they tend toward the GOP. But those who stood their ground and endured “The Raid” like the Udalls mostly remain Dems. Jeff Flake is the exception. Hee Haw! His kin and mine hung rustlers together! Nothing like a mutual threat to bring Gentiles and Mormons to terms in the Tonto.

    • emptywheel says:

      Thanks for the background.I note that Flake finally woke from his relative silence on SJC to get concerned about this today. Does he have any allegiances to the Udalls?

  2. abbadabba says:

    Seriously freaking because I am seeing zero of my comments at the Intercept, and simply hope that’s because I’m being suppressed there. Otherwise, GCHQ is redirecting my comments. I have mercilessly pounded them with GGpa Edward’s hammer, but I’m no journalist or activist. Just a honey badger who will not quit stinking up GCHQ’s game.

    I have asked the mods at the Intercept to let just ONE of my comments through to show me they are getting them but prefer not to post. That’s fine with me. But I’d like to know if they are NOT so I can SUE NSA and GCHQ.

    I work next door to Homeland Security. Should I take lappie into them to ask what the frack? If the Intercept’s mods are just gaslighting me, that is pretty fracking sick of them.

  3. abbadabba says:

    Hey, Burr, I’m down from fracking traitors, too!

    John Claypool led a pitchfork pounding protest against the Continental Army Tax and even raised a tanker to toast King George when they came to collect out in Lost River. Arrested for treason, he plead for pardon from Governor Jefferson, and at war’s end was granted same with those he misled by the second governor of Virginia. Washington had surveyed the Lost River land, so there was no getting past the taxman. Of course they were mostly drunkards. That was their primary business.

    I recommend we all take a long nap, and when we wake up, maybe we’ll be American, again? I ALMOST bought some Clarks, today, but then I read they’re BRITISH! BOYCOTT!

  4. abbadabba says:

    “FILL YOU HAND, YOU SON OF A BITCH!”

    If the GOP thinks the Udalls won’t STAND THEIR GROUND, ask Romney who left town when the GOP Raiders tried to tear apart Democratic families!!

    I don’t give money to pols, but my KINDRED ARIZONA SPIRIT? Tell us what you need, Colorado Mark! We can be there as fast a Sockwad gallops!

    Do your damnedest GOP! Remember who handed you back your flat hats! Cleveland!! And don’t THEY rock!

  5. abbadabba says:

    If the GOP attempts to make Mark out to be a Snowpee, I can’t wait for the Mormons to schism all over themselves. They got a problem with folks who pry, too.

    The GOP is INSANE to attack folks like Udall who are sick of all the lying while Rand Paul, the phoniest 4th Amendment patriot of ALL fails to demand an expulsion hearing for Feinstein and company for their oversight failures. Let’s skip the sensible inquiry.

    I’d prefer we hold a wider, fully empowered and independent inquiry into this whole fracking mess, and if Hillary doesn’t demand we clean it up, I’m staying home and baking cookies with smiley faces sticking out their tongues.

    NO WAY am I voting for a KISSINGER in a WIG!

  6. abbadabba says:

    Not a journalist’s job to manage commentor BS, but please tell Intercept if they have NOT been getting my emailed comments, I would be happy to help us sue!! And if the mods are simply fuckwads, fuck them and GCHQ!

  7. abbadabba says:

    Rolling phone rings? Check

    Regular calls from strangers who never leave messages. Check (The one from the disconnected number is quite the mystery) Very uncool hours, but I’m used to rude marketing.

    Thwarted email to curious addresses like the Guardian’s US sight? Check

    Being able to see proposed comment text being viewed as if the dashboard mechanism was installed backwards? Check Mods can’t do that, can they?

    I just assumed it was lousy service. I changed my landline to cable, still sucks but the ring cycle Wagnered itself out.

    Does that mean the telecoms are in on the mindscrew, 2? New plot lines for a VERY eager market!!

    When the PHONE just WON’T…STOP…RINGING…maybe it’s time to dump you landline.

    I got their stock and I hope to see it drop, but broker says they are bullet proof. TOO INTERCONNECTED TO FAIL. UTILITIES. Geeze, why I gotta be found hanging out with such SCUM?

    Hay, GCHQ, shove that up your dumb pipe!

  8. ANOther says:

    This is the same Richard Burr who got his bell rung by a Canadian doctor yesterday. (If I knew how to link I would, but just google Richard Burr canadian doctor.)

  9. abbadabba says:

    OK, so the dumb pipes are up against the shite pipes. One’s got our shite and the other is just dumb. Can’t sell anything but transfer tickets. Meanwhile, shite pipe is hocking our shite like a hurricane, and all I got was this stupid t-shite.

    Oh, GCHQ, I hope you look like Sir Ian Richardson, but OLDER, DA-DEEEEEEEEEEEE!

    Now, in whos interest is it for dumb pipe to get reamed? I mean dethroned as the home where the eves drop in on you. That wouldn’t be you, google, wood it? My, look at that thing grow. Put some STRINGS on, you manic puppet! And pay up for guzzling the jet fuel at Navy rates while housing your penises around NASA. That’s been off the chart since Tea Pot Dome, blowups.

  10. C says:

    While this may be about the next election it is also about the last one. While the torture had the tacit approval of Senate Dems it was run by a Republican administration. Burr and the others have already seen how ties to Bush can cost them and they have got to realize that once the report is public that cost will increase. The “party of life” and “family values” cannot afford to have documentary evidence that they are also the party of torture, ineffective, illegal, and likely criminal torture.

    For Burr this has gone beyond principle to pure politics.

  11. it's anthrax time again says:

    I am indeed riveted by the cut and thrust of the master debaters there in Boy’s State. Brennan pats a couple of them on the head and exterminates them if they step out of line. The COG regime is not going to be dislodged by domestic politics of any sort.

  12. abbadabba says:

    I think it’s the Scotch in me, no the Scot, I seem to be picking a fight with my Scot English self and beating the shite out of us both. You know, I used to hate the idea of Murdoch buying off Scotland to quit the Commonwealth, but F a bunch of Brits if they can’t even lie straight. What a vile crocodile of worthless tears. Crimea River, Lesser Britain.

    I’m a short study of the Saar, and you’d be Saary too if it happens to you. Talk about your Sophie’s CHOICE. You wanna go with the antisemitic, anti-socialist militia freaks in France or Germany? Or, do you want to stand by yourself and see what the big bullies will do with the League of Nation’s backing you? Imagine the year leading up to the 1935 Plebiscite. They had a long time to think about it, and the intrigues were numerous.

    Surprise, the false west wall where Hitler let Commies run the West Homberg railway customs house to fake the Saary out at the border. A coal mining state with a labor centered party commonly had socialist party majorities but not much longer. Those folks got railroaded right after the Saar went with the biggest bully on the block. What choice did they have? How would you have voted? Hitler was suggesting he’d gun for the coal even if the Saar went with France. A Friar’s just trying to get a little sleep.

    I’d have still been dissed about 1871! Did you know the guy who gave us the Statue of Liberty was NOT allowed to let his Lion of Belfort even LOOK at Herman that wing nutted German? It’s so human…and all MINE!! MINE!! and google’s.

    Think Budapest Hotel with a bunch of drunk hysterical historical Germans and French! Throw in a Swiss for a swift kick in the pants! Don’t forget the invaders! HAGEN’S HEROS Don’t look for women in beer tent dresses, fear women like Brunhild and Kreimhild, they will show you the road to ruin. What every you do, PROMISE them NO-THING!

    Come and be their guests at the White Friar’s Black Lagoon.

    I think it will work. Who knew the site was sitting right there in my own backyard? OMG, I’m going home. Did you know Romans took Germanians and made them move to Scotland to guard Hadrian’s Wall until it crumbled and they all got on much better? I got Gemanian in me, too. Beeden, I love you!

    Fuck you, GCHQ.

  13. orionATL says:

    and now we learn just why sen burr is

    a whore and a hypocrite

    when he says, re: sen udall’s comments in dec, 2013, that he (burr) is concerned about udall causing loss of american lives:

    from miss wiki –

    “… Uranium enrichment[edit]
    As a representative, Burr co-sponsored, with Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2003 relaxing restrictions on the exports of specific types of enriched uranium, first enacted in the Schumer Amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The original Schumer amendment placed increased controls on U.S. civilian exports of weapons grade highly enriched uranium (HEU) to encourage foreign users to switch to reactor grade low-enriched uranium (LEU) for isotope production. HEU is attractive to terrorists because it can be used to create a simple nuclear weapon, while LEU cannot be used directly to make nuclear weapons.[53]
    The primary agent in the weakening of the Schumer amendment was a Canadian company, MDS Nordian, which lobbied Burr to relax the previous restrictions on enrichment of HEU, due to the additional costs conversion to LEU would levy on their medical isotope production. Burr received $66,500 in campaign contributions for his 2002 congressional campaign from the nuclear industry, “making him the 7th highest recipient from the industry among all 435 members of the House of Representatives”.[54][55]…”

    get it?

    the senator from n. carolina is a whore and a hypocrite because in 2003 – you know, just 2 years from sept 2001 and in preperation for warring against iraqui weapons of mass destruction –

    he weakened a long-standing american prohibition on the export of high level enriched uranium at the behest of a foreign company and he (burr) accepted AT LEAST $65,000.00 in campaign contributions from this company.

    the level of that enriched uranium is, by the way, higher than any uranium that iran possesses today.

    trivia question: what is sen burr’s position on american-iranian nuclear negotiations.

    so there you have it. sen burr’s willingness to take money to weaken a u.s. prohibition on heavily enhanced uranium.

    could this uranium, the kind allegedly desired by terrorists, be a good thing for americans that might be exposed to it?

    do not focus on that seeming contradiction.

    just know that sen burr cares about the threats that sen udall’s exposure of cia lies and illegality might bring to sen burr’s beloved american people –

    hey, what’s a little atomic dust shared among compatriots.

  14. lefty665 says:

    Burr is telling everyone to shut up and wait. Chambliss is saying “oh we’ve got these dueling allegations, this will take some time to sort out, may even need a special investigation”. McCain is nattering about a special prosecutor. The White House is still withholding thousands of documents.
    .
    All efforts seem designed to stall until the heat of the moment subsides and, perhaps more important, until after November. How can we help make the reports public NOW?
    .
    Strike while the irony of DiFi as whistleblower is hot.

  15. Stephen says:

    Richard Burr has apparently made some not dissimilar allegations (to the Feinstein ones) about the CIA himself in the past, this time concerning a different Senate Intel Committee investigation. See the following article from cnsnews.com of February 13, 2013 titled “Sen. Burr: CIA Has ‘Flatly Refused’ to Give Intel Committee Some Benghazi-Related Documents”:

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/sen-burr-cia-has-flatly-refused-give-intel-committee-some-benghazi-related-documents

    – See more at: #sthash.4Wdj3AlB.dpuf

  16. john francis lee says:

    It’s been well over year since the report on CIA torture was approved. It was late, a long time coming, then.

    Come on one you so-called senators … read that damn thing into the congressional record … or did Brennan take all the copies of ‘your’ report away from you already?

    This is a CIA coup. And they’re getting away with it.

  17. john francis lee says:

    The CIA, the Senate and the breakdown of American democracy

    There was a stark contrast in demeanor between Feinstein, visibly tense and seemingly frightened as she spoke for nearly an hour on the Senate floor, and CIA Director John Brennan, who arrogantly rebuffed her claims of misconduct in a speech to a foreign policy think tank a few hours later, then smirked through a press interview afterwards.

    For all the media publicity devoted to the political infighting between the White House and Congress, or the decisions of the Supreme Court, the real power in America is in the hands of an unaccountable, murderous apparatus of violence, provocation and spying that includes the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, FBI and a dozen other such agencies.

    The various Senate and House committees exercising “oversight” are little more than rubber stamps for the operations of this vast and secretive apparatus. But the slightest semblance of democratic supervision is treated as an affront by the officials who control armies of spies and assassins. They are quite prepared to use the same methods against their domestic critics as they employ against the targets of American imperialism overseas.

    President Obama stands at the head of this apparatus, as the “commander-in-chief,” and a White House spokesman sided unambiguously with the CIA against the Senate, declaring that Brennan had the president’s full confidence.

    The trajectory of this conflict is an ominous warning: the criminality of the military-intelligence apparatus is metastasizing into an open onslaught on constitutional principles, including such fundamental precepts as the separation of powers.

    It’s a coup d’etat “that includes the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, FBI and a dozen other such agencies.”

    Our elected officials are not up to defending our system of government … or they’re on the side of the coupsters and clamoring to clean the House and the Senate of those who are the least bit reluctant to click their high-heels and salute the coup.

    What are we gonna do about it? Or is is What? Are we gonna do anything about it? We’d better!

    • JamesJoyce says:

      “The trajectory of this conflict is an ominous warning: the criminality of the military-intelligence apparatus is metastasizing into an open onslaught on constitutional principles, including such fundamental precepts as the separation of powers.”

      This comment was the gist of a letter sent to local paper never printed in 2004! THe prediction was that the post 911 reaction would metastasize into an open onslaught on “American Republicanism,” an damage our republic, just like another one time republic, turned fascist.

      Great comment F. L. Great! Astute, Truthful and correct….

      Remember Emptywheel? How them coffee beans treating you? ;)

  18. blueba says:

    Well, this is certainly plenty of reason (as if there was not already) to just read into the Senate record – but I would not count on DiFi to do that. DiFi is gutless, she will talk and actually do nothing. It will take a whistle-blower to get the report out.

  19. abbadabba says:

    On Flake and Udall ties, I don’t see many. William Flake founded the Snowflake ward and the Udalls were more on the St. John’s side. Both wards were located “above the rim” as AZers like to say, on the Colorado Plateau. I’m sure they all got together occasionally for events, and for sure William Flake would have worn his prison stripes to remind the kids what bastards the GOP are. William Flake spent six months in the Yuma Pen for polygamy and was writing a diary until he lost his pencil.

  20. abbadabba says:

    OMG, I’m so sorry, but I can’t comment at Intercept and just HAD to repeat a quote regarding this massive malware insert that sounds “out of control” as it subjects entire systems to insecurity.

    “It couldn’t possibly be targeted or named. It sounds like wholesale infection and wholesale surveillance.” Mikko Hypponen.

    On the retail side, say it’s NAME! TARGET!

  21. abbadabba says:

    Last night, Nightly Business Reports on PBS had a story about Palantir, a private company with a whole lot of data analysis expertise. They help big banks like Morgan’s Chase and Stanley manage their structured and unstructured data like emails and the such. They also have a contract with CIA. Just an odd button to stick in my bin. But a very likely nexus for financial penetration.

    Why at this time would this story be worthwhile? Someone wants to dump their private shares? They have been doubling in size since they were created in 2004. That can’t go on forever…

    I got the feeling you collect odd buttons, too, so there you go. Let me now if you find a match.

  22. abbadabba says:

    Burr’s nothing but an annoyance under our saddles. The arch of history is going to leave him in the dust.

  23. abbadabba says:

    OMG, even in 2010, GCHQ “wasn’t sure” if hacking was illegal. At least after the year 2000 law was 6 years old, NewsUK bothered to figure it out. Yet still, in 2011, the London Times was confused as to whether hacking a computer was a crime. How is it James Harding gets away with such BS? Isn’t he now working for BBC?

    Sorry to clutter up your cupboard, I process this mess by mimicing and then mocking it. It’s how I remain sane. Thank you for the mindspace.

    This is the same law here in the US our CIA is now suspected to have violated. I can’t WAIT for my UK and US scandal bags to collide.

  24. abbadabba says:

    Marcy, I think you have plenty on your plate, but have you had a bite of my BlackBerry Squish?

    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/may/11/rebekah-brooks-missing-blackberry-message

    Not so puzzling after you know GCHQ bragged to NSA that THEY cracked the BlackBerry’s compression technology in Nov. of 2011, a few months after Cameron’s email got the content squished out of it when Brooks’ legal team downloaded the Berry’s files after being in police custody for three weeks.

    OR could that contentless email be a Tempora metadata copy of it’s former selfie? Some stupid dolt wiped that Berry and another tried to put back what was lost after Cameron’s email had gone meta?

    I say Cameron’s got a Nixonian tape worm problem. I hope it ends his government faster than natural causes.

    I’m a hacking scandal disher and follow this surveillance mess closely because I think the UK failed to bring all the NotW’s hackers to justice because that would have exposed their own illegal government surveillance system if they brought them to court. Only Q for me is did Murdoch and/or the US know it and influence that decision?

  25. ArizonaBumblebee says:

    I have been away from my computer for several hours and missed this article. Your article indicates that Senator Richard Burr is a distant relative of Aaron Burr. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t President Jefferson charge Aaron Burr with having engaged in a treasonous conspiracy against the United States? Does this suggest a family trait?

  26. abbadabba says:

    So, I tried to comment at your story at the Intercept, Marcy. Thanks for that fun one, but I’m not. I can’t get a word in there, which is not necessary and is perfectly OK just as long as it’s not GCHQ screwing with my head. I’m banned, right? Guard had to cut me loose for speculating…what ME? I forgot the UK rules. I just adore how commentors curse like pirates there, but still so witty!

    Bannshment is MUCH more preferable to being intercepted by GCHQ. But a Wild Weasel knows exactly what to do in such a case.

    Bite their balls off. Honey Badger don’t give a shit. Honey Badger is bad ass. You know he’s a weasel, right? Oh, she’ll do it, too, no problem. And when they get in a tight spot, they stink the place up until everyone gags and leaves. Heywood, Hague and Cameron heaving their hearts out? Priceless.

    But can I churn some useless hay into gold for a good site? Shite that RIGHT!

    I want some free OROGOLD samples, MEOW! Let’s see if anyone is listening…I’m checking my mobile ad network right MEOW!

  27. abbadabba says:

    I said OROGOLD, not Nivea, dad gummit! The Guardian always tips me off.

    But I might take a DHC coupon if you can’t deliver, GCHQ!

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