Thanks to Dianne Feinstein and Mark Udall for Seeing Torture Report Through

The Senate Intelligence Committee just voted 11-3 to release the torture report, with 3 ardent GOP critics voting to release the report.

McClatchy (as it has had throughout recent debates over this) has good coverage, including two new details:

  • CIA illegally detained 26 of 119 detainees (this may refer to CIA’s practice of ghosting detainees, and removing some illegally from Iraq, as well as the mistaken detention of people like Khalid el-Masri).
  • “The news media were manipulated with leaks that tended to blunt criticism of the agency.” (We knew that, but glad to see SSCI agrees).

A lot of people on the Senate Intelligence Committee deserve credit for making this happen. It started, after all, under Jay Rockefeller’s tenure.

But Dianne Feinstein and Mark Udall deserve particular attention. Feinstein persisted in this through a lot of opposition from Republicans on the committee. And she oversaw a great deal of work to get it done.

Her statement read, in part,

The report also points to major problems with CIA’s management of this program and its interactions with the White House, other parts of the executive branch and Congress. This is also deeply troubling and shows why oversight of intelligence agencies in a democratic nation is so important.

The release of this summary and conclusions in the near future shows that this nation admits its errors, as painful as they may be, and seeks to learn from them. It is now abundantly clear that, in an effort to prevent further terrorist attacks after 9/11 and bring those responsible to justice, the CIA made serious mistakes that haunt us to this day. We are acknowledging those mistakes, and we have a continuing responsibility to make sure nothing like this ever occurs again.

While I’m not satisfied simply with admitting error — democracy can’t work when rule of law doesn’t — she’s right that the intel agencies need adequate oversight.

Mark Udall, in the last year, has also made the report a particular focus, particularly with his relentless pressure on the White House, even in a tough reelection year. He repeated that pressure in his statement on the release.

“Following today’s historic vote, the president faces what I believe should be a straightforward question. He can defer declassification decisions to the CIA — which has demonstrated an inability to face the truth about this program — or pass this authority to the Director of National Intelligence or hold on to the redaction pen himself,” Udall added. “The president needs to understand that the CIA’s clear conflict of interest here requires that the White House step in and manage this process.”

Let’s hope Feinstein, Udall, and others persist in their efforts to fight back on what is sure to be CIA criticism of the report.

Update: As I noted earlier, Richard Burr was a yes vote, along with Saxby Chambliss and one other Republican in addition to Collins. Tom Coburn voted “present.”

8 replies
  1. john francis lee says:

    ‘ The release of this summary and conclusions in the near future … ‘

    Did someone say ‘release’? Is this the official kick-off for the deep-six non-‘release’ of the committee’s ‘report’?

  2. Bill Michtom says:

    Now that DiFi has done this (surprising) good work on the CIA, will she stop being a flack for the NSA?

    • jo6pac says:

      No, her & hubby make money being friends with nsa.

      I doubt we the people will ever see even the summary, what about we the people see the whole report then arrest everyone involved. I can dream can’t I?

  3. chronicle says:

    One simple question which should be blindingly obvious. WHO..was this report prepared for in the first place? After all, it cost $40 goddamned million dollars, of which We the People paid for. So, even if the taxpayers PAID for it, only to get a redacted “summary”, then WHO gets to read the rest?

    This vote unequivocally STINKS. As usual with “anything” associated with the CIA. The reality is, what they’re trying to do is “legally” sweep the whole torture debate under the carpet by writing a $40 million dollar report that the American public will never get to read, but will officially “end” the torture debate once and for all. The shell game to end all shell games. The depth of WDC deviant psychopathy is beyond pale. Frankly, unless the people of this nation come to their goddamned senses pretty soon, they’re going to wake up to their front door being kicked in…sooner..or ..later…

  4. ess emm says:

    democracy can’t work when rule of law doesn’t

    ew, that hits on why I don’t give Feinstein good marks on torture. She says she wants to make sure it never happens again. But she undercuts her own claim that it’s serious when she insists on referring to them “mistakes” and not crimes. And why does she call them mistakes? Because she doesn’t want to use her Constitutional responsibility to hold the Executive accountable for his “gloves come off” Memorandum of Notification.

    Her failure to exercise her Constitutional responsibility will only embolden future Executives to continue to do whatever sadistic thing they want and lie about it, because the criminal penalties are only meted out to low-level guys (like Passaro), if at all. So it will happen again.

    She’s done our Nation no favors.

  5. P J Evans says:

    Hayden is now saying DiFi is ‘too emotional’ so the report can’t be objective.

    “That motivation for the report may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the senator,” Hayden opined. “But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.”
    Wallace was shocked: “You and I both know Sen. Feinstein. I have the highest regard for her. You’re saying you think she was emotional in these conclusions?”
    “You’re asking me about a report that I have no idea of its contents,” Hayden admitted. “No one responsible for that report has spoken a word of it to me, to [former CIA Director] George Tenet, to [former CIA Director] Porter Goss, to anyone else who is actually involved in these events.”

    Like hell he doesn’t have any idea what’s in the report.

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