Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) said Wednesday night that the Obama administration fought the release of a report on the CIA's brutal interrogation tactics for years, even as President Barack Obama himself said the U.S. should not use torture to get information out of terrorist suspects.
Udall played a key role in the Senate Intelligence Committee's effort to release the controversial report, which found the CIA used torture techniques including waterboarding, 'rectal rehydration' and other physical abuse.
Democrats supported the report as something that shows unacceptable interrogation tactics by the CIA, while many Republicans were quick to criticize it as a political document meant to embarrass Republicans that could also lead to harm against Americans overseas. Most of the questionable activities took place under the Bush administration.
Udall also said the work done to release the report started out as a bipartisan effort, but became less and less partisan as it went forward.
But while political theory holds that Democrats were eager to reveal the tactics used during the Bush administration, Udall said Senate staff had to fight the CIA for months and years in order to reveal as much information as possible. He said they fought over 400 parts of the report that the CIA wanted to redact, and said the Obama administration threw up "unwarranted and completely unnecessary obstacles" to its release.
"In light of the president's early executive order disavowing torture, his own recent acknowledgment that 'we tortured some folks,' and Assistant Secretary of State [Tom] Malinowski's statements last month to the UN Committee Against Torture that 'we hope to lead by example' in correcting our mistakes, one would think this administration is leading the efforts to right the wrongs of the past, and ensure the American people learn the truth," Udall said on the Senate floor Wednesday night.
"Not so," he said. "In fact, it's been nearly a six-year struggle, in a democratic administration no less, to get this study out."
"For a while, I worried that this administration would succeed in keeping this study entirely under wraps," he added. "While the study clearly shows that the CIA's detention interrogation program itself was deeply flawed, the deeper, more endemic problem lies in a CIA, assisted by a White House, that continues to try to cover up the truth."