U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-Colorado), one of the few congressional dissenters against U.S. government agencies’ secrecy and spying, was voted out of office last week. Now, transparency advocates are urging Udall to exit with a flourish, by using his congressional access and immunity—while he still has them—to expose to the public the Senate’s still-classified report on CIA torture.
Udall sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee behind the report—which the Obama White House is refusing to fully release despite its completion over a year and a half ago and widespread calls for its complete declassification.
“I strongly believe there should be a public and unequivocal commitment from the White House to the fullest and most expedited possible declassification of the Committee’s Study,” Udall declared in March. “Such a commitment is especially vital in light of the fact that the significant amounts of information on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program that has been declassified and released to the American public is misleading and inaccurate.”
As Heather Digby Parton argues in Salon, “The Republicans on the committee have already voted against release of the report and there’s little reason to believe they will change their minds once the majority changes hands in January. Indeed, under the new likely Chairmanship of far right Senator Richard Burr, the whole 6,000 page report is likely to go the way of the Pike Report and will be sealed entirely.”
Transparency advocates say Udall has nothing to lose by taking declassification of the report into his own hands.
“Although the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause renders members of Congress immune from executive-branch penalties, the Senate itself has rules that make disclosing classified information punishable by ‘censure, removal from committee membership, or expulsion from the Senate,'” Dan Froomkin reports for the Intercept.
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