Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Mark Udall, who serves on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, marked the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture today by urging the president and CIA to correct the record about the agency's flawed detention and interrogation program.
"Just a few months ago, we marked the 25th anniversary of President Reagan's signing of the international Convention Against Torture. And today, we mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, which commemorates the date when the Convention Against Torture entered into force in 1987," Udall said. "Today is a day to remember these victims as well as those who have supported their rehabilitation and those who have worked to ensure the Convention is effectively implemented.
"Today is also a day to remind the Obama administration about the importance of learning from our mistakes. One of the key mistakes made following the terrible events of 9/11 was the initiation of the Central Intelligence Agency's flawed detention and interrogation program. The details of how this program came to be and how it was conducted are outlined in the Senate Intelligence Committee's 6,000-page report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program -- based on a documentary review of over six million pages of CIA and other records. In December, I voted with a majority of my colleagues on the committee to report out the Study, and to send it to the CIA, the White House, and other agencies for their review and comments."
Udall has repeatedly called upon the Obama Administration to be upfront with the American people about the program's ineffectiveness and brutal nature.
"It is my understanding that the CIA, White House, and other agencies will soon complete their review of the committee's report. And at some point after that, the committee will vote to request declassification of the report," Udall added. "This will be an important vote. In my view, the committee has an obligation to help correct the false public record about the CIA's program. CIA Director John Brennan has the same obligation. I firmly believe that the CIA cannot be its best until its leadership faces the serious and grievous mistakes of this program.
"On this commemoration of the day the Convention Against Torture came into force, it is especially important to remind our leaders about the need to face mistakes transparently and correct them. I look forward to reviewing the administration's response to the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program, and to working with the administration to declassify it."
A strong advocate for Americans' constitutional liberties and government transparency, Udall led the effort during CIA Director John Brennan's confirmation hearing to press the then-nominee to commit to declassifying the committee's report and correcting the public record on the effectiveness of the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques and detention measures. He called Brennan's Senate confirmation in March "only the beginning" of this effort.
Udall also has criticized statements made by former Bush administration officials on the effectiveness of the detention and interrogation program. Udall has also decried a video presentation to be shown at the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum that leaves the false impression that the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques resulted in intelligence that prevented terrorist attacks in the United States.