A member of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday disclosed the existence of a secret Central Intelligence Agency document that committee members believe supports their conclusions in a study highly critical of “waterboarding” and other harsh counterterrorism practices.
Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat, demanded the document – a CIA study of the interrogation techniques – at a confirmation hearing for Caroline Krass, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the CIA’s general counsel.
Udall said he would not support Krass’ nomination until the previously undisclosed document was provided, raising the possibility that he might use a “hold” to stop the nomination.
The intelligence panel’s disagreement with the CIA over its 6,300-page report and the need for cooperation with Congress were a major focus of Tuesday’s hearing, which also covered the nomination of Daniel Smith to be assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research.
The dispute over the report – and revelations by former contractor Edward Snowden about sweeping electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency – have sparked debate over whether congressional oversight of U.S. spy agencies is effective enough.
The Senate panel approved a draft of its report a year ago. But the CIA disputes many of its findings and has not met lawmakers’ requests that parts of it be made public, leaving some senators frustrated at what they see as a lack of cooperation.
So much for Congressional oversight of agencies supposedly representing the interests of the American people. I know that sounds corny and old-fashioned to people who accepted torture as a “normal” part of the Bush/Cheney government. The less fascist-minded quest to justify most of the same illegal pursuits by the Obama/Biden administration is no less disgusting.
We are held as a nation in contempt of standards long recognized by treaties around the world on what is and isn’t admissible in war and intelligence-gathering. History recognizes nations that deliberately violate those standards as outlaw states, unworthy of trust.
It is especially pleasing – if not unique – to witness a member of our elected Congress with the backbone and integrity to stand up to the White House and their flunkies in the CIA. Kudos to Mark Udall.