Why Did Obama Suppress This Torture Report?
More than a year ago, the White House received an expansive report on torture at the hands of the CIA — but it was never released to the public. Now, Sen. Mark Udall wants to know why. On Tuesday, Udall sent an open letter to the White House, urging the President to make public the 6,000-plus page torture report, compiled more than a year ago by the Senate Intelligence Committee, of which Udall is a member.
The report in question has been in the works since 2009, and the Senate approved it in Dec. 2012. The top-secret document includes details on all CIA prisoners; the conditions in which they were kept; whether or not they were tortured; whether they yielded any information; and to what extent the CIA sought to cover up their own behavior. The White House has refused to declassify this report which, as Udall points out, runs contrary to Obama's stated commitment to "transparency."
In his letter, Udall writes that he's strongly opposed to the nomination of Caroline Krass to the job of General Counsel of the CIA. He raises serious concerns about the CIA's activities, and claims that the information presented to the American public about the CIA's torture methods is far from accurate.
[T]he significant amount of information on the CIA's detention and interrogation program that has been declassified and released to the American public is misleading and inaccurate.
[M]uch of what has been declassified and released about the operation, management, and effectiveness of the CIA's Detention Interrogation Program is simply wrong.
But one of the most disturbing — and cryptic — accusations Udall levels against the president comes toward the end of the letter. "As you are aware, the CIA has recently taken unprecedented action against the Committee in relation to the internal CIA review, and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the Committee's oversight responsibilities and for our democracy," Udall writes.
Udall is referring to recent accusations that the CIA monitored the computers of several Senate aides who were preparing the torture report. After members of Congress lodged complaints, the CIA Inspector General's office demanded this week that the Justice Department launch an investigation into the allegations.
Naturally, officials are staying tight-lipped about the investigation. However, the "actions" to which Udall refers is believed to be the computer-spying that allegedly took place after CIA officials suspected members of the Senate committee had gained unauthorized access to agency documents.
This occurred last year, after CIA director John Brennan offered a rebuttal to the 6,000-plus page report, challenging several of the facts listed and denying the report's conclusion that the torture methods used didn't yield any helpful outcomes. Six months later, in Dec. 2012, Udall countered Brennan's claims, saying he'd come across an internal CIA report which "corroborates some of the important findings of the Committee Study," according to Udell's letter, and "contradicts the CIA's official June 27, 2013, response."
Udall's statement was a red flag for the CIA, suggesting that there had, in fact, been unauthorized access of their database.
The Senate's report took around four years to compile, and allegedly cost around $40 million to put together. Part of that cost was incurred because the CIA insisted that classified cables could only be reviewed on computers at a secure facility in Northern Virginia. It was these computers that the CIA allegedly monitored.