Sen. Mark Udall accused the CIA of "lying" about the effectiveness of torture on the Senate floor
His comments come the day after a Senate panel released a report on CIA interrogation techniques
Udall called for the resignation of CIA Director John Brennan
Sen. Mark Udall accused the CIA of “lying” about the effectiveness of torture, called for the resignation of its director and blasted President Barack Obama’s handling of the spy agency on the Senate floor Wednesday.
In a 48-minute speech, the Colorado Democrat called on Obama to “purge his administration” of CIA officials, including Director John Brennan, involved in the interrogation techniques detailed in a new Senate Intelligence Committee report.
He also revealed what he called the “key findings and conclusions” of an internal CIA review commissioned by former director Leon Panetta – which the Obama administration has not publicly released.
“Director Brennan and the CIA today are continuing to willfully provide inaccurate information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture,” Udall said. “In other words: The CIA is lying.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest defended Brennan on Wednesday, telling reporters that he has done an “exemplary job” and that Obama is “pleased to rely on his advice.”
Udall’s comments came the day after Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released an explosive report detailing the rough techniques the CIA used to interrogate detainees under President George W. Bush.
The report suggests those techniques – including mock executions, sleep deprivation, beating detainees, feeding them rectally and threatening the lives of their families – produced faulty intelligence. It also said the CIA misled Congress and the White House.
But Brennan pushed back, acknowledging in a statement that the CIA made “mistakes” but saying those techniques “did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives. The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qa’ida and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day.”
Udall – who lost his re-election bid in November and is leaving office in just weeks – said he was frustrated with those comments Wednesday, and repeated his previous call for Brennan’s resignation.
He also accused Obama of failing to live up to his pledges during the 2008 campaign to be more transparent about the use of torture. And he said the CIA’s internal Panetta review’s findings reveal that the White House is misleading the public.
“One would think this administration is leading the effort to right the wrongs of the past and ensure the American people learn the truth about the CIA’s torture program,” Udall said. “Not so. It’s been nearly a six-year struggle in a Democratic administration to get this study out. For a while I worried that this administration would succeed in keeping this study entirely under wraps.
“While the study clearly shows that the CIA detention and interrogation program itself was deeply flawed, the deeper, more endemic problem lies in the CIA, assisted by a White House that continues to try to cover up the truth.”