Udall: Senate Confirmation of CIA Nominee Brennan the Start, Not End, of Strong Oversight of CIA

Statement

By:  Mark Udall
Date: March 7, 2013
Location: Unknown

Mark Udall, who serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, welcomed the U.S. Senate's bipartisan vote today to confirm John Brennan as the next director of the CIA, but pledged to continue to exercise strong oversight over the agency. Udall, a longtime champion of government transparency and Coloradans' constitutional liberties, vowed to hold Brennan to his promises during the confirmation process, including Brennan's pledge to set the record straight on the CIA's detention and interrogation program, and to be "an advocate" for ensuring the committee has what it needs to perform its oversight functions.

"I supported Mr. Brennan's nomination today because he is qualified to lead the CIA and because he has pledged to work with Congress to make our nation a safer, more secure place. But I want to be clear that this is the beginning -- not the end -- of the discussion on national security and transparency, constitutional freedoms and congressional oversight," Udall said. "Mr. Brennan pledged to me in no uncertain terms during his confirmation hearing before the Intelligence Committee that he is committed to correcting inaccurate information in the public record about the effectiveness of the CIA's detention and interrogation program. I plan to hold him to that promise and to do everything in my power to ensure that the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on this flawed program is declassified and made public.

"And while I am appreciative that the administration is allowing members of the Intelligence Committee access to legal opinions on targeting American citizens, I see this as only the beginning of our efforts to understand the limits of executive-branch powers in this new age of warfare."

Udall led the push during Brennan's confirmation hearing in pressing the nominee to commit to declassifying the committee's report and correcting inaccurate information in the public record on the effectiveness of the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques and detention measures. Udall also was part of the bipartisan group of senators who successfully pushed the White House to provide access to the Department of Justice opinions outlining the legal basis for the targeted killing of U.S. citizens using drones.