Remember that they knew all of the stuff in the torture report for years, and they did and said NOTHING. Feinstein was in the “gang of eight,” as the Chair of the Ranking Member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence since 2009. She’s known all or most of this stuff since then. A couple other notable members of that group are Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.
As for Udall, he has been on the Senate floor today as a couple of earlier posts by John and Anne Laurie pointed out. But he’s been on the SSCI for at least the last two years, and was very involved in the research on the torture report.
It’s good that an executive summary of the report has seen the light of day. It’s important for us to know what’s being done in our names, and I seriously doubt we’d have gotten actual information from the Republicans after they take over late next month. It would be very nice for the Politicians who oversaw torture programs and the lawyers who twisted the law to claim it was legal to be punished, but I’m not holding my breath. The prime difference between Charles Graner and Dick Cheney is rank, after all.
Having said that, why, if this report shocks the consciences of those who’ve read it, are we only seeing the exec summary, and why only now? Udall waits until now when there’s no risk to him doing this. Well, better late than never for your ideals, I suppose, even if it’s to demand a couple of people resign and not, as he said he would, to enter the text of the report into the Record. Feinstein is as safe as a Democratic Senator can get. She could have read the actual contents of the entire report into the Congressional Record at will at any time and nobody could have stopped her and there would’ve been no cost to her at the ballot box in 2018.
Everything I’ve just said above applies to the other Democrats who’ve served on the SSCI in particular and to a lesser extent on the House Committee on Intelligence since 2001. We still don’t have effective oversight of the CIA or the NSA or the rest of the Intelligence community because our representatives in Congress are complicit in keeping these secret. If Congressional oversight is the mechanism by which we exercise control over our government, we are being sadly failed by the people that we’ve sent up there to provide that oversight. And the Republicans are every bit as complicit, but being Republicans, it was absolutely predictable that they’d actively work against the interests of the general public on issues like this, and the few who aren’t are notable for that.
And lastly, look in the mirror. After 9/11, the vast majority of the American public was demanding that the government do whatever had to be done to keep another mass-casualty attack from taking place. A lot of people who otherwise counted themselves as liberals supported the Bush administration in their taking a free hand to do whatever the hell they wanted in those early years. And while Liberals began to peel off of that support within a couple of years, it wasn’t even as Iraq dragged on, and Abu Ghraib first exposed some of the ugliness did the majority of our country begin to express doubts and question what we were doing there. And in fact, it wasn’t until after Hurricane Katrina landed on our own shores and we witnessed the full extent of their incompetence and mendacity where they couldn’t hide it that the majority of the American public finally began to admit that Bush and Cheney and their minions had lied us into an unwinnable war on the other side of the world. And our Congress, including the heroes of many people here, supported them for much of their agenda. The USA PATRIOT Act passed a Democratic-held Senate, and a Democratic-held Senate gave retroactive immunity to the NSA and private corporations that assisted them later on. These were our elected representatives that did these things or allowed them to happen. They are our will made whole, and their acts and things, dark and light, are ours. Before we spend too much time wallowing in the outrage bath, we would do well by our children and our ancestors to remember that.