Mark Udall Wants To Release CIA Internal Review Of Torture Program

from the dropping-the-mic dept

Outgoing Senator Mark Udall has been a key player in trying to hold the intelligence community’s feet to the fire concerning their unconstitutional and illegal activities — and that includes both the NSA and CIA. He was a key player in making sure that the CIA torture report was actually released — and there was pressure on him, if the report wasn’t released, to read it into the record to force it out. Even with the release on Tuesday, some were asking for Udall to at least release an unredacted version or even more sections from the full ~7,000 page report, rather than just the 500 page exec summary. In fact, in Udall’s final floor speech on Wednesday (link to a video that is about 50 minutes), the Senator instead chose to reveal more information related to the so-called “Panetta Review” on the CIA’s torture program.

The Panetta Review is the internal CIA report, analyzing the same information that the Senate Intelligence Committee (SSCI) staff analyzed for the torture report, and came to the same basic conclusions about the CIA’s torture practices, its lying to Congress and other bad activities. But here’s the interesting bit: the CIA never intended anyone to see the Panetta Review. But it came out last year when CIA staffers accidentally handed it over to the Senate staffers as part of the investigation. That resulted in Udall questioning CIA bosses about the report during an open Senate hearing about a year ago — which was followed up by the CIA infamously spying on the Senate staffers’ computers. The CIA defended the spying by claiming that no one in the CIA had officially handed over that document (even though they had…) and thus they assumed that their own computers had a security breach. Or so they claimed.

The CIA has done everything it can to try to bury the Panetta Report. But Udall actually discussed it in depth. A big chunk of his speech is actually discussing some of the details in the Panetta Review, going beyond the CIA torture report. Following his speech, Senator Richard Burr — who is a known buddy of the intelligence community, and soon to take over the Senate Intelligence Committee — ridiculously claimed that Udall disclosed a bunch of “very classified” material. What it actually shows, however is that the CIA’s response to the torture report is simply more lies from the CIA. As Udall noted in his speech, since the Panetta Review was supposed to be internal, it was a lot more open and honest, and it agreed with the Senate staffers. He first points out that the official CIA response to the terror report, from current Director John Brennan, shows the CIA’s “flippant” attitude towards oversight and the fact that it knows the Obama administration will let the CIA get away with anything. However, the Panetta Review shows the true story.

In my view, the Panetta Review is a smoking gun. It raises fundamental questions about why a review of the CIA conducted internally years ago and never provided to the committee is so different from the official Brennan response and so different from the public statements of former CIA officials.

In other words, when discussing things in private, the CIA will readily admit to everything that’s in the torture report. It’s just when they’re talking to the public that they try to spin the story.

The Panetta review is refreshingly free of excuses, qualifications or caveats…. The Panetta review found that the CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Congress, the president and the public on the efficacy of its coercive techniques.

He further notes that where the Brennan response tries to downplay or completely reject the findings of the Senate’s report, the Panetta Review confirms all of them. From that, he notes that Senate staffers became concerned that the CIA was further lying to them, based on the claims of Director John Brennan.

Udall claims that the full Panetta Review should be released as well, since it is the CIA discussing the same issues in their own words, thus proving the claims by former CIA officials and their defenders that the SSCI report is nothing more than a “partisan hack job” are false. Furthermore, it shows that the CIA is lying in its response.

The refusal to provide the full Panetta Review and the refusal to acknowledge facts detailed in both the committee study and the Panetta Review lead to one disturbing finding: Director Brennan and the CIA today are continuing to willfully provide inaccurate information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture. In other words: The CIA is lying.

Of course, with Udall leaving the Senate, the Panetta Review is unlikely to see the light of day. Burr not only said that Udall’s statements revealed classified materials, but also flat out lied, and claimed that “this is a document that was removed from the CIA against the law.” Except that’s not true. The DOJ investigated and didn’t find anything wrong with what the Senate staffers did.

As the Politico article above notes, Jason Leopold has a FOIA lawsuit trying to get access to the Panetta Review, but that seems unlikely to get very far. In the end, it looks like the Panetta Review is likely to be locked up for many, many years, if it’s ever released at all.

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Comments on “Mark Udall Wants To Release CIA Internal Review Of Torture Program”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Yeah, assuming he has access to the review, releasing it would be a very good thing. The unredacted Torture Report would be an added bonus, but if I had to choose, I think I’d take the redacted Torture Report and the Panetta Review, rather than the two versions of the report.

It’s easy to say ‘According to the Panetta Review, the CIA is lying here, here, and here’, but unless people can actually read it, it would be even easier for the CIA to simply say ‘No, it doesn’t, and no we aren’t’, because without access to the review, the only people who would be willing to call the CIA on their lies, the public, can’t say for certain.

ambrellite (profile) says:

Lies that condemn

I’ve yet to see anyone take these lying officials at their word and demand that the Bush administration and CIA officials responsible for *ending* the program be punished for putting America in danger of another 9/11. I’d love to see these guys get whiplash as they’d suddenly have to argue that the existential threat of terrorism ended years ago, or that torture just stopped working, because reasons.

Anonymous Coward says:

Udall didn’t have the balls to release the torture report. So both it and the Panetta report will get buried. It is unlikely you will ever know the reality of what went on. Had the torture report summery been read into the record there would be something to go on. It turns out to have all been a show with no real actions.

Damn shame we can’t absolve the government nor it’s spy agencies without that coming clean but that is the way it is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think Udall and Wyden were concerned that attempting any such action would have resulted in them being immediately forcibly removed and would achieve nothing. I think Wyden specifically stated that when asked recently. It may even resulted in more draconian restrictions on Congress members further restricting their access to information (given the current environment towards ‘leakers’ of all sorts) which would ultimately make future releases of infoirmation even harder.

Padpaw (profile) says:

This “it can’t happen here” attitude is blinding people by making them apathetic to what is happening right before your eyes.

Are people going to talk and discuss their government blatantly showing no respect for the oaths they took. Which in turn shows they care nothing at all for anything save enriching themselves at americans expense.

David says:


Classification has caused far more damage than than could a policy of absolute transparency.

Ah, but it caused the damage to the American people while protecting those government players sabotaging international relations, the Bill of Rights, and their oath.

In other words, classification is working as intended by those using it.

GEMont (profile) says:


To be honest, I am utterly astounded that the Digest contained so much actual information and in fact, that it was released at all.

While it may mean little, I really would love to shake the hands of everyone that had a part in the release of this Digest of the Torture Report, since I am sure the rest of the report will never be exposed to public scrutiny.

While I would love to see the Panetta Review released into the hands of the public as well, I am not holding my breathe in anticipation.

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