Sen. Udall May Have Revealed Sensitive Information in CIA Fight

Image: Sen. Udall May Have Revealed Sensitive Information in CIA Fight

Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 10:39 AM

By Courtney Coren

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Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado may have disclosed internal Senate Intelligence Committee proceedings about an investigation into the CIA, and some Republicans say the incident should be reviewed by the Ethics Committee.

The alleged offense stems from a December confirmation hearing with Caroline Krass, the nominee for general counsel to the CIA. Udall demanded the agency hand over the findings of a secret study on waterboarding and other Bush-era interrogation techniques because its findings seem to conflict with what the CIA reported to the committee.

Krass told committee chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein that she doesn't believe that the CIA is obligated to share such information with the Senate panel.

Politico reported that Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the committee's vice chairman, has recommended that a special investigator be assigned to look into the tensions between the Senate committee and the CIA, although he did not mention Udall's name.

Feinstein is also under fire by Republicans. This week, she accused the CIA of violating the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branch by removing "committee access to CIA documents after providing them to the committee ... without the knowledge or approval of committee members ... in violation of our written agreements."

Democrats are saying that Republicans are going after the Colorado senator for political reasons. Udall faces a tough re-election campaign in November.

Udall's office told NBC News Wednesday that he has put a "hold" on Krass' nomination until the agency provides more information about the CIA's review of interrogation tactics and its detention program. 

"It raises fundamental questions about why a review the CIA conducted internally years ago and never provided to the committee is so different from the CIA's formal written response to the committee's study," Udall said in December during the hearing with Krass.

Feinstein this week said the CIA monitored intelligence committee computers, which was denied by CIA Director John Brennan.

Udall sent a letter to President Barack Obama on March 4 in which he mentioned "unprecedented action taken against the committee in relation to the internal CIA review, and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the committee's oversight responsibilities and for our democracy."

Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, a committee member, said that Udall "did make some public releases that were committee-sensitive information, but that's for the committee internally to handle," which he said is "being reviewed right now."

The Colorado Democrat denies the charges and told Politico that "no way" did he leak any sensitive information.

"The only thing I've done is exercise vigorous oversight over senior intelligence officials who are all too often unwilling to cooperate with Congress," he said.

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