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Udall plans to quiz CIA nominee on ‘torture report’

Sen. Mark Udall.

Sen. Mark Udall.

Senators want John Brennan to reform CIA interrogation practices

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — It may be business as usual for incoming CIA chief John Brennan, who was was unprepared this week to discuss a recent classified U.S. Senate report on the agency’s detention and interrogation program, but that stance doesn’t sit well with at least a handful of senators, who plan to grill Brennan about the report at his confirmation hearing next week.

Among them is Mark Udall, Colorado’s senior Democratic senator, who has often expressed concerns and questions over whether U.S. Intelligence agencies are violating civil rights and U.S. laws in some of their programs.

“I was deeply disappointed today during my meeting with John Brennan. A few weeks ago, I had asked that he be prepared to discuss at today’s meeting the findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee‘s comprehensive study on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program,” Udall said in a statement. “Not only was he not prepared to discuss the important findings, but he hadn’t reviewed the report at all,” Udall said.

The report referenced by Udall was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee in mid-December. It’s still classified, pending review by the White House, but the report confirms that intelligence agencies used secret sites to torture prisoners, sometimes using contract employees.

“I strongly believe that the creation of long-term, clandestine ‘black sites’ and the use of so-called ‘enhanced-interrogation techniques’ were terrible mistakes. The majority of the Committee agrees,” Feinstein said.

Udall said he’s prepared to ask Brennan direct questions about the report during the confirmation hearing.

“Brennan promised today to review the findings before the Intelligence Committee’s confirmation hearing next Thursday. I intend to hold him to that promise, and I hope Mr. Brennan will be more forthcoming in his testimony next week. I understand that he may not see it in his or the CIA’s interests to criticize the very agency that he hopes to lead, but I see this as an opportunity for Mr. Brennan to correct the record, institute the necessary reforms and help restore the CIA’s reputation for integrity and analytical rigor,” Udall said.

According to Feinstein, “The report uncovers startling details about the CIA detention and interrogation program and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight … Conducting oversight is sometimes a difficult and unpleasant task for all involved, but I am confident the CIA will emerge a better and more able organization as a result of the committee’s work.

“I also believe this report will settle the debate once and for all over whether our nation should ever employ coercive interrogation techniques such as those detailed in this report,” she said.

 

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