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Top Senate Intel Member: The CIA Is Still Lying

During his final speech on the floor, Sen. Mark Udall called for CIA Director John Brennan's resignation over his defense of the agency's torture program. Udall also read conclusions of a still secret review of the program's effects.

Posted on December 10, 2014, at 12:18 p.m. ET

Susan Walsh / Via AP Photo

WASHINGTON — Outgoing Sen. Mark Udall revealed new details from a still classified report on the CIA's interrogation and detention program, using his farewell address on the Senate floor to call for CIA Director John Brennan's resignation.

The Democratic senator from Colorado revealed some of the conclusions of a 2009 review undertaken by then-CIA Director Leon Panetta, known as the Panetta Review, of the millions of documents the Obama administration had promised to pass on to the Senate Intelligence Committee. The existence of that review, which is still classified, was first revealed in December 2013 by Udall himself during an Intelligence Committee hearing.

The Panetta Review, Udall said, "directly refutes information in the Brennan Response, and in the few instances in which the Brennan Response acknowledges imprecision or mischaracterization relative to the detention program, the Panetta Review is refreshingly free of excuses, qualifications, or caveats."

Following the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the use of torture during CIA detention, Brennan defended his agency and pushed back on some of the claims made in the document. "While we made mistakes, the record does not support the Study's inference that the Agency systematically and intentionally misled each of these audiences on the effectiveness of the program," Brennan said in a statement.

"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 continued. "The Brennan Response, in contrast, continues to insist the CIA's interrogations produced unique intelligence to save lives, yet the Panettta Review identifies dozens of documents that include inaccurate information used to justify the use of torture and indicates that the inaccuracies it identifies do not represent an exhaustive list."

Udall also listed other areas in which the Panetta Review agreed with the findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report, including that detainees who proved cooperative were tortured anyway and that the CIA at times proceeded to torture before using other methods.

"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," Udall concluded. "In other words, the CIA is lying. This is not a problem of the past, madam president, but a problem that needs to be dealt with today."

Though he praised the intelligence community overall, Udall called for Brennan's resignation.

"It gives me no pleasure to say this, but as I've said before, for director Brennan, that means resigning," Udall said. "For the next CIA director, that means immediately correcting the false record and instituting the necessary reforms to restore the CIA's reputation for integrity and analytical rigor."

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