Senator Mark Udall. (photo: Brendon Smialowski/Getty Images)
Mark Udall Promises America Will "Be Disgusted" at CIA Torture Report
By Scott Raab, Esquire
07 December 14
And that he'll use every power he still has to declassify it.
The Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Dianne Feinstein of California, is soon expected to release its summary of the so-called CIA Torture Report, the committee’s four-year-long investigation into the CIA’s Bush-era torture practices. Release of the summary is the result of months of wrangling and negotiating with the White House on what would be released to the public and when—and it will likely be heavily redacted. During an interview conducted on Friday, November 21, by Esquire writer at large Scott Raab, outgoing senator Mark Udall of Colorado, who lost his reelection race on November 4, once again said that if the report is not released in a way he deems transparent, he would consider all options to make it public. In this excerpt from the interview, Raab asks Udall if he will read the document into the record on the floor of the Senate before he leaves in January, an act for which he cannot be prosecuted.
The full interview will be published in the January 2015 issue of Esquire.
Scott Raab: Your loss is seen as symbolic of the midterm sea change. How does it feel?
Mark Udall: It stings and I feel liberated.?.?.?.? I don’t like losing. I don’t like being turned back from the summit of a mountain—I’m a mountain climber—but I have always found that the mountains I didn’t climb are the ones that taught me the most. So I’m taking that attitude towards this election loss.?.?.?.?But it’s been hard to be here for the last couple of weeks. When you get fired, usually it’s “Clean your desk out and go,” and I’ve got two months of work left to do. We do have some things I’m working hard to get accomplished. I want to get the CIA Torture Report declassified.
SR: I’ve been puzzling through this. You’ve talked about how Edward Snowden should come back.
SR: But he’s gonna be charged with crimes that could put him behind bars forever. And you’re in a position to read this into the public record.
MU: Sure. Yeah.
SR: Is there any reason not to do that? Not do what Mike Gravel did with the Pentagon Papers? What is the tightrope there? You got a $40 million 6,300-page report, right?
SR: And all the pressure’s on you right now to—
MU: I have made it clear over the last couple of weeks—if the report is not declassified in a way that’s transparent and shines a bright light on what we did, then I will consider using all and any options.
SR: I’ve heard this before.
MU: And right now, we are at the point where I’m still optimistic that the White House, working with a committee, is going to do the right thing, which is to declassify the report in a way that’s understandable and transparent. And so I’m working through what we call regular order here in Washington. But if, in my opinion, the report is either—obviously, if it’s not released, then I’m gonna use every power I have, because it’s too important. It’s too historic. And we can’t afford to repeat the mistakes to let this slide.
SR: So you don’t just have the report, you have an agency that hacked the committee’s computers.
MU: Right. Four times. Four times.
SR: You called for CIA director John Brennan’s resignation.
MU: There are some that would like this report never to see the light of day. There are some that are running out the clock. There are some that are raising the specter that the CIA employees involved would somehow be subject to not only threats but potential action that would affect their personal safety. Those personnel, if they have that worry, can be given some legitimate security.?.?.?.
The people who conducted these activities in the name of the CIA, in the name of the American people, have a right to be processed. They don’t have a right to [pause] push under the rug what happened.
MU: What happened broke faith in the Constitution. It’s made our challenge much greater when it comes to facing the threat of Islamic fundamentalism. And it is morally repugnant. When this report is declassified, people will abhor what they read. They’re gonna be disgusted. They’re gonna be appalled. They’re gonna be shocked at what we did. But it will lay a foundation whereby we don’t do this in the future. That’s been my goal. That’s been my mission.
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