Outgoing Democratic Sen. Mark Udall asserted Wednesday that the CIA is continuing to lie to Congress about past interrogation practices and that the White House is working with the agency “to cover up the truth.”
Udall, a vocal critic of CIA Director John Brennan, said the recently released Senate report on the CIA’s intelligence gathering techniques after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is inaccurate and the spy agency lied and destroyed evidence to mislead both Congress and the public.
“Director Brennan and the CIA today are continuing to willfully provide inaccurate information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture. In other words, the CIA is lying,” Udall said on the Senate floor.
He added, "So while the study clearly shows that the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program itself was deeply flawed – the deeper, more endemic problem lies in a CIA, assisted by a White House, that continues to try to cover up the truth."
The Senate Intelligence Committee report found that the CIA used harsh interrogation techniques that rarely resulted in valuable information. Udall said an internal report, known as the Panetta Review, is a “smoking gun” that proves the agency continues to mislead the public.
“Committee staff grew concerned that the CIA was knowingly providing inaccurate information to the Committee in the present day – a serious offense and a deeply troubling matter for the Committee, the Congress, the White House, and our country,” Udall said. “The Panetta Review was evidence of that potential offense.”
Udall, who lost his re-election bid in Colorado in November, called for the Panetta Review to be made public. He blasted President Barack Obama for not following through on the promises of transparency he made during his 2008 campaign and said the president needs to “purge” his administration of anyone involved in prisoner abuse.
“If there is no moral leadership from the White House helping the public understand that the CIA’s torture program wasn’t necessary and didn’t save lives or disrupt terrorist plots, then what’s to stop the next White House and CIA Director from supporting torture?” Udall said.
The release of the report was met with largely partisan reaction, with Republicans calling it incomplete and saying it jeopardizes Americans overseas.
GOP Sen. John McCain, who was tortured in Vietnam, was one of the few conservatives who supported the report’s public release.
-- Andrew Rafferty and Kelly O'Donnell