KUSA—Colorado voters decided not to give Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado) six more years in office, but the lame-duck senator saw one of his goals accomplished before turning in his keys.
"A candid, brutal, and coherent account of the CIA's torture program," said Udall of the so-called "torture report" he and fellow Democrats on the senate intelligence committee published Tuesday.
Years of wrangling preceded the report's public release and Udall had hinted at his ability to enter it into public record. Members of congress enjoy immunity from revealing classified information if they do so in the course of official business.
"Congressional oversight is important to all of government's activities, but it's especially important to those parts of government that operate in secret," Udall said on the senate floor.
The report concludes that the CIA used harsher methods than it had ever disclosed to interrogate detainees in secret overseas facilities during the response to the 9-11 terror attacks.
It also concludes that the methods did not produce useful intelligence.
The CIA has many defenders who vehemently deny that assertion and accuse the report of containing factual errors.
By and large, Republicans criticized the report, which was published without the committee's GOP members.
"This is a poor excuse for the type of oversight that the congress should be conducting," said Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-Georgia,) who sits on the intelligence committee. "The agency did what the president directed them to do, under color of law and based upon opinions issued and updated by the department of justice."
The Democrats' report asserts that many of the methods used by CIA agents went beyond what government lawyers approved.
Chambliss also recalled the sense of urgency in the wake of 9-11, with the federal government scrambling to prevent whatever might come next.
While GOP members criticized the report for not pursuing this angle head-on, the feeling does come through in several of the items cited in its 500 pages.
Agents who determined that detainees were in fact cooperating resumed waterboarding sessions on those people when urged by headquarters as to the high value of information believed to be gained from those individuals.
Not every GOP member of the Senate was critical.
"I believe the American people have a right, indeed, responsibility, to know what was done in their name," said Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona.) "How these practices did or did not serve our interests, and how they comported with our most important values."
Udall promised he'd have more to say about the behavior of the CIA, but seemed more intent on defending the idea of releasing the report at all, with a focus on demonstrating that the US can publicly acknowledge its actions and commit it won't repeat them.
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