Do Senators Collins, King, and Warner Like Being Spied On?

Over the last few days, I’ve tracked the accusations and counter-accusations between CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee.

A number of people have asked why, as a way to end this issue, the Committee doesn’t just declassify the entire SSCI Report.

But it’s not so simple as that.

It’s not clear there are the votes to release the Report.

Recall that when the Committee approved the Report back in 2012, the vote was largely split on party lines, with the exception of John McCain, who voted as an Ex Officio member (as Ranking Member of Senate Armed Services Committee) to release the Report. McCain is no longer SASC Ranking member: Jim Inhofe is, and I’m betting he’s not going to vote to release the Report.

There are few other changes in the Committee proper since the report was originally finalized. Martin Heinrich and Angus King have replaced Bill Nelson and Kent Conrad, and Susan Collins and Tom Coburn have replaced Olympia Snowe and Roy Blunt.

And while Heinrich has quickly become one of the better overseers on the Committee, including on torture, it’s not actually clear whether King would vote to release the report. Collins, too, has been reported to be undecided (and her vote would be critical to making this a “bipartisan vote,” now that McCain doesn’t have a vote). There are even hints that Mark Warner wouldn’t vote to support its declassification (though he supported its finalization).

And importantly, King and Collins have been reported to be undecided after the time when, in January, the Committee at least began to suspect they’d been surveilled.

There are, obviously, two different issues (though Saxby Chambliss, at least, sides with CIA on both counts). But there’s been little outcry from the swing votes on releasing the underlying report itself.

Update: h/t to JK for the link to the Collins/King report I was not finding.

7 replies
  1. lefty665 says:

    Chambliss is Warner’s BFF. His vote will lean towards Chambliss’s. Warner has been amazingly silent. He is up for re-election. Publicizing his votes and flushing out his opinions have leverage this year.

  2. GKJames says:

    Have those who oppose declassification gone on record with their rationales? What’s the point in doing a report that’s not in fact reported?

  3. orionATL says:

    warner may or may not mind releasing the report, but the reasons he likely won’t touch the issue right now are spelled “northern virginia” and “norfolk/hampton roads” – to paraphrase bmaz, there are many ways the milindcmplx can bite a politician in the ass.

  4. C says:

    @GKJames: For one thing you can talk about what it contains and rest your behavior on the secret information therein without ever having to back up your statements. It functions exactly like the “unspecified plots” that the NSA points to all the time to validate their actions.

  5. D says:

    @C, unspecified plots are great, until some killjoy like Udall brings up the CAT and harshes your Kiefer Sutherland buzz with Article 2.2, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture,” and facts show the scale of it rises to the threshold of a crime against humanity and all of a sudden you’re just a coward with helpless victims and a place to hide and you don’t dare leave the US anymore because there’s universal jurisdiction and no statute of limitations.

    And then when your alliances are falling apart* and an axis with more gigatons lays down the law, then we learn why the world put in all that time and effort to codify and perfect the Nuremberg Charter. There will be ritual sacrifice or there will be war. Sacrificial virgin duty is item 3 in Obama’s job description, but resignation and a pardon will not cut it this time. The US is a recidivist aggressor. The world must take some scalps. The USA is going to need a few bad apples to put away.


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