Friday, March 14, 2014

Heinrich Interview

This transcript of Senator Martin Heinrich on the Diane Rehm show on NPR is worth reading.  It points out he is not afraid to take on the CIA.

SEN. MARTIN HEINRICH

10:08:12
Thank you so much for having me and thank you for covering this issue.

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10:08:17
And as a member of the Intelligence Committee, what did you think about those remarkable statements that Sen. Feinstein made on the senate floor Tuesday? Do you agree with what she was saying?

HEINRICH

10:08:30
Well, I think it was really important for her to do what she did and sort of set the factual record straight so we could have a conversation about some of the constitutional principles involved here, particularly the separation of powers and I very appreciate at the beginning of this show, you reminded listeners that this goes back to not just the recent revelations and the back and forth between the committee and that CIA, but this is really about this detention and interrogation report.

HEINRICH

10:09:07
It has been incredibly difficult to get that report out. It's been slow-walked for years. And I think that is going to be a very important piece of our history and we're going to make sure that that comes out as quickly as possible. And finally, I'd just say, you know, that the Senate Intelligence Committee's job is to oversee the CIA, not the other way around.

HEINRICH

10:09:33
And, you know, the things that Sen. Feinstein outlined in her statement, which I believe to be factual, have caused some of us, myself included, to really lose confidence in Director Brennan.

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10:09:49
Now, you voted to confirm John Brennan in 2013. Do you regret that vote now?

HEINRICH

10:09:56
I think it was a mistake.

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10:09:58
Do you think other...

HEINRICH

10:10:00
And I don't take that statement lightly.

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10:10:03
Do you think other senators who voted for his confirmation would agree with you, that it was a mistake to confirm him for that post?

HEINRICH

10:10:09
I don't want to speak for my colleagues, but I think there is real concern over a relationship that Director Brennan stated he understood that there was a great deal of mending that needed to be done to make that relationship work to the best of both the CIA and the Intelligence Committee. And unfortunately, the chasm has done nothing but widen under his leadership.

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10:10:39
Now, we heard President Obama yesterday back up John Brennan basically in brief comments that he made about this controversy. Does he bear some of the responsibility as well?

HEINRICH

10:10:49
Well, I think the executive is always responsible for their cabinet secretaries and their appointees, but I think, you know, the relationship that I've had with this administration has been incredibly positive with a few very specific exceptions. And the relationship with Director Brennan is the most obvious and difficult exception.

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10:11:14
Now, why do you think the CIA's making such an effort to prevent the contents of this document that's in question, the so-called Panetta review document, from being revealed?

HEINRICH

10:11:26
Well, I think it's really important that we put a very dark period in our history behind us. And unfortunately, this report will probably open up some old wounds and certainly looks very closely at the agency's role in all of that. But I think it's going to be critical for us to be able to learn from our past mistakes and to be able to put some of those things behind us.

HEINRICH

10:11:58
You know, I'm one that believes that some of these methods equate to torture and we need to understand where they effective, were they not effective. There's been a lot of misinformation in my view out there on some of those issues and this report will help put this, hopefully, put this era in our history behind us.

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10:12:21
Is the Senate Intelligence Committee determined to release this report publically, including references to the Panetta report?

HEINRICH

10:12:32
I can't say what's in or out of the report. I am absolutely committed to seeing this report declassified and shared with the public so that the public can make their own determinations based on the facts. And I think that you saw from Senator -- Chairman Feinstein's statement on the floor that she is also very committed to that.

HEINRICH

10:12:58
That makes me optimistic that it will happen. Certainly, the current back and forth has, once again, slowed that process down. But I think I don't see any putting the genie back in the bottle on this one. I certainly hope not.

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10:13:13
And Senator, just one last question. The CIA says it didn't do anything wrong. It's asked the Justice Department to investigate your committee. We hear Sen. Feinstein says she thought that was an effort at intimidation. Is that how you view it?

HEINRICH

10:13:27
I think it's, once again, sort of an effort to muddy the waters here. There's certainly no moral equivalency between, you know, potentially breaking a rule or an agreement and on the other side violations of executive orders, statute and ignoring the Constitution. I think what's most important, once again, and I'm comfortable with a very thorough review of all the facts, I think that's critical if we're going to get to the bottom of this.

HEINRICH

10:13:59
But once again, I think we need to return to fact that at the end of the day, we're going to fight to make sure that this report comes out because that's what all of this relates back to.

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10:14:08
Senator, thanks so much for joining us on "The Diane Rehm Show."

HEINRICH

10:14:12
Thank you for having me.

2 comments:

Vicki said...

Good stuff. Proud of our Senator. Too much of Washington politics seem to mirror "House of Cards" ethics and power struggles. Nice to see a fighter for the Constitution and the people's rights. Hope good comes from this.

Bubba Muntzer said...

Heinrich's statement in the interview that voting for John Brennan was "a mistake" is remarkable.

I wonder if it's partly a reaction to Brennan's arrogant defense of the CIA immediately after Diane Feinstein's speech on the floor of the senate?

In any case it's an indication that Martin is taking the gloves off, as you say.

Obama's nomination of Brennan as CIA director was one of the classic stupid decisions Obama has made, and Brennan's senate confirmation was likewise a mistake. It was well known that Brennan was one of the primary Bush Administration movers of the US torture regime, and that torture regime, as Martin says in the interview, is what the current crises is all about.

Bush era CIA torture is the subject of an intelligence committee report the CIA insists remain classified. Brennan doesn't want that report released, and Obama is backing him, and so far they are winning, which is why Feinstein and Heinrich have come out swinging.

I've been critical of Martin Heinrich, and all New Mexico's so-called Democrats, for standing mute while working people are getting the shaft and for even voting for things no Democrat should ever vote for.

However, in light of Martin's recent courageous words and deeds I will grant that it's possible he can eventually be as courageous in taking on the moneyed interests that run this country. Not everybody can overnight become a Ted Kennedy and make blistering and impassioned speeches condemning the excesses of Capitalism, but perhaps Martin Heinrich is beginning to find his feet. I hope so and encourage others to help steer him in the right direction.