Senator Martin Heinrich Remarks On Release Of Report On CIA Detention, Interrogation Program

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, a member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, will deliver the following remarks today on the release of the executive summary and the findings and conclusions of the committee’s five-year review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. Senator Heinrich has been a leading proponent of declassifying the report.

A copy of the report is available, HERE.

Senator Heinrich’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

U.S. SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE’S STUDY OF THE CIA’S DETENTION AND INTERROGATION PROGRAM

Torture is wrong; it is un-American; and it doesn’t work.

Recognizing these important realities, the President signed an Executive Order in January 2009 that limited interrogations by any American personnel to the guidelines in the Army Field Manual, and reinforcing the commitment that prisoners in U.S. custody are entitled to rights under the Geneva Conventions.

This closed the book on the Bush Administration’s interrogation program.

But make no mistake. These weren’t just “enhanced interrogations.” This was torture.

Releasing the Intelligence Committee’s study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program to the American people today will finally provide a thorough accounting of what happened and how it happened. In addition, I hope that this process helps to ensure that it never, ever happens again.

This was a grave chapter in our history. The actions taken under this program cost our nation global credibility and they put the lives of Americans at risk.

Some have suggested that releasing this report could put American lives at risk. Let’s be clear, it has been the use of torture that puts Americans unnecessarily in harm’s way.

There is no question that there will never be a “good time” to release this study. We all know that for months now terrorists in the extremist group ISIS have been kidnapping and barbarically killing innocent Americans because of what we, as a nation, stand for.

The response to their threats and terrorism should not be for us to change our American values. It should be to stand firm in our values and work with our allies to root out extremism and terrorism in all its forms.

The release of this study will finally let us face what was done in the name of the American people, and allow for future generations to use these findings to learn from the mistakes made by the architects of this program.

This is an objective and fact-based study. It is a fair study. And it is the only comprehensive study conducted of this program and the CIA’s treatment of its detainees in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.

Today marks an enormous, if painful step in the right direction.

It is important to know that these torture methods were the brainchild of a few CIA officials and their contractors. When I joined the Intelligence Committee two years ago, I began to read the classified report material and was surprised to learn this. Frankly, it was not consistent with my assumptions. It wasn’t what my prejudices told me to expect. That is why a fact-based accounting is so very important.

Furthermore, it is important to know that at every turn, CIA leadership avoided Congressional oversight, and even worse, misled Congress.

The CIA deliberately kept the vast majority of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees in the dark on the interrogation techniques until the day the president revealed the detention and interrogation program to the world in 2006 – four years after it began.

Even then, misrepresentations to the Committee about the effectiveness of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program continued, in large part because the CIA had never performed any comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the interrogation techniques or the actions of its officers.

Myths of the effectiveness of torture have been repeated; perpetrating the fable that this was a necessary program that saved lives.

The Committee examined the CIA’s claims of plots thwarted and detainees captured as a result of intelligence gained through torture.

In each and every case, the Committee found that the intelligence was already available from other sources or provided by the detainees themselves before they were tortured.

However, we need to stop treating the issue of torture as one worthy of debate over its practical merits. This is about torture being immoral. Being un-American.

Reducing a human being to a state of despair through systematic subjugation, pain, and humiliation is unquestionably immoral.

It should never happen again with the blessing of the American government. As my friend and colleague, Senator Angus King said in an interview this morning, “This is not America. This is not who we are.”

The information in the study released today to the public will finally pull back the curtain on the terrible judgment that went into creating and implementing this interrogation program.

The decision to use these techniques and the defense of the program were the work of a small number of people at the CIA.

This study is in no way a condemnation of the thousands of men and women at this great agency who work tirelessly every day to protect and defend our nation from very real and imminent threats using lawful and effective measures.

In fact, the insistence that so many intelligence successes are the result of “enhanced interrogations” negates and marginalizes the effective work done by hundreds of other CIA officers not involved in these activities.

What this study does is to show that multiple levels of government were misled about the effectiveness of these techniques. If secretive government agencies want to operate in a democracy, there must be trust and transparency with those tasked with oversight.

As the Committee carries out future oversight, we will benefit from the lessons in this study. And I hope we never let the challenges of our difficult times used as an excuse to frustrate and defer oversight the way it was in the early years covered by this report.

Although President Obama ended the program by signing the Executive Order in 2009, any future president could reverse that order.

It is worth remembering that years before this detention and interrogation program even began, the CIA had sworn off the harsh interrogations of its past; but in the wake of the terrorist attacks against the United States, it repeated those mistakes by once again engaging in brutal interrogations that undermined our nation’s credibility on the issue of human rights, produced information of dubious value, and wasted millions of taxpayer dollars.

The public interest in this issue has centered on the personalities involved, and the political battle waged in the release of this study. But those stories are reductive, and I hope they will soon pass.

Because the story of what happened in the CIA’s detention and interrogation program — and how it happened — is too important, and needs to be fully understood so that future generations will not make the same mistakes our country made out of anger, fear, and expediency.

When America engages in these acts with authorization from the highest levels of government, we invite others to treat our citizens the same way.

This study should serve as a warning to those who would make similar choices in the future.

Let us learn from the mistakes of the past — and let us never, ever repeat these mistakes.

Before I close, I’d like to acknowledge that the Intelligence Committee’s study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program represents many years of hard work by Members and staff who faced incredible obstacles in completing their work.

The fact that this study was finished is a testament to the dedication and focus of Chairmen Rockefeller and Chair Feinstein in deciding that oversight is our job, regardless of how long it takes.

NM Senate Majority Nominates and Elects Leadership

Yesterday, the New Mexico Senate Democratic caucus has nominated and elected Senate Leadership positions. They are pleased to announce they have nominated Senator Mary Kay Papen (D-38-Doña Ana) as Senate Pro Tempore, Lenore Naranjo as Senate Chief Clerk, and David Pacheco as Sergeant at Arms, whose positions will be voted on by the entire Senate on opening day of the legislative session.

They have re-elected current Senate Majority Floor Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D- 29- Valencia, Bernalillo), current Senate Caucus Chair Senator Jacob Candelaria (D-26-Bernalillo), and elected Senator Michael Padilla (D-14-Bernalillo) as Senate Majority Whip.

Sen. Papen has served in the legislature since 2001 and has been Senate Pro Tempore since 2013. Lenore Naranjo has served as the Senate Chief Clerk for seven years and David Pacheco has served as the Sergeant at Arms for eight years. Sen. Sanchez has served the legislature since 1993 and has been Senate Majority Floor Leader for 10 years. Sen. Candelaria has served the legislature since 2012 and was first elected Caucus Chair in 2013. Sen. Padilla has served the legislature since 2012 and this is his first leadership position.

Land Commissioner Recount–MVD Voter Registrations

As we get ready for the recount to begin in our Land Commissioner’s race, we continue to hear about voters that were disenfranchised and denied the right to vote. In particular, we have heard that potentially thousands of people who registered to vote through MVD offices may not have had their registration processed.

Throughout this election cycle we have fought to ensure that every vote is counted. On Election Day, we continued to hear about problems throughout the state that prevented people from exercising their right to vote. Needless to say, this is unacceptable.

Those individuals who registered to vote through MVD is the issue we need to take action on.

If you, or someone you know, registered to vote through MVD and then had to vote provisionally on Election Day, please let us know immediately! You can call us at 505-830-3650 or email us at Recount2014@nmdemocrats.org.

Thank you for all that you do to support DPNM and to help ensure that every vote counts and that every vote matters.

Weekly Address: Ensuring Americans Feel the Gains of a Growing Economy

In this week’s address, the President highlighted the good news in Friday’s jobs report – that American businesses added 314,000 new jobs this past month, making November the tenth month in a row that the private sector has added at least 200,000 new jobs. Even with a full month to go, 2014 has already been the best year of job creation since the 1990s. This number brings total private-sector job creation to 10.9 million over 57 consecutive months – the longest streak on record.

But even with this real, tangible evidence of our progress, there is always more that can be done. Congress needs to pass a budget and keep the government from a Christmas shutdown. We have an opportunity to work together to support the continued growth of higher-paying jobs by investing in infrastructure, reforming the business tax code, expanding markets for America’s goods and services, making common-sense reforms to the immigration system, and increasing the minimum wage.

Mensaje De La Casa Blanca

En su mensaje semanal, el Secretario de Trabajo Thomas Pérez destacó la buena noticia en el informe de empleo de este viernes – las empresas de los Estados Unidos han agregado 314,000 empleos nuevos el mes pasado, haciendo noviembre el décimo mes consecutivo en que el sector privado ha agregado por lo menos 200 mil nuevos empleos. Aunque nos queda todavía un mes completo por terminar, el 2014 ya ha sido el mejor año de la creación de empleos desde la década de 1990. La creación total de empleo en el sector privado se suma a 10.9 millones por más de 57 meses consecutivos – el período más largo de la historia. Pero incluso con esta verdadera evidencia tangible de nuestro progreso, siempre hay algo más que se puede hacer. El Congreso necesita aprobar un presupuesto y mantener el cierre del gobierno en Navidad. Tenemos la oportunidad de trabajar juntos para apoyar el continuo crecimiento de los empleos con salarios más altos para invertir en la infraestructura, reformar el código fiscal de empresas, ampliar los mercados para los bienes y servicios de los Estados Unidos, haciendo reformas de sentido común para el sistema de inmigración, y el aumento del salario mínimo.

English/Inglís: Watch and share President Obama’s weekly address.

En Español: Mensaje de la Casa Blanca.

Wind Energy Could Slow Global Warming, but Tax Credits Needed, Senator Udall and Advocates Say

Expanding wind power across the country could cut as much global warming pollution as 254 coal plants produce in a year, according to a new report, but congressional action is needed to make that expansion a reality, U.S. Senator Tom Udall and other clean energy advocates said today.

“Speeding the development of pollution-free wind energy will slow global warming,” said Anna Aurilio, global warming solutions program director for Environment America. “But Congress needs to invest now in clean air and a healthy planet.”

The Environment America Research & Policy Center analysis, More Wind, Less Warming, comes as Congress debates renewing tax incentives that have spurred the nation’s growth in wind power, which in 2013 supplied enough energy to power more than 15 million homes.

Clean energy champions Udall and Ed Markey (D-MA), and the American Wind Energy Association joined Environment America in the Capitol Visitors Center to release the report and call for action.

“New Mexico is at the eye of the storm when it comes to the impacts of climate change. But while global warming is a threat we must fight, it’s also a tremendous opportunity to invest in clean energy jobs of the future, ” said U.S. Sen. Udall of New Mexico. “Wind has huge potential — not only is it carbon free, it’s abundant in New Mexico, and it uses almost no water. Now is the time for Congress to make a commitment to fight climate change and help create jobs of the future by extending the wind production tax credit – not just for one year but long enough for this important industry to meet its full potential.”

If wind power kept its recent pace of development, it could supply 30 percent of the nation’s electricity needs by 2030, providing more than enough carbon reductions to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, and a third of the reductions the U.S. committed to achieving in its agreement with China.

“When we support clean energy development, we’re promoting job creation that will help all of creation. That’s because good clean energy policy is good climate policy, and helps us be the leader in developing the technologies that power our economy and protect our environment,” said U.S. Sen. Markey of Massachusetts. “America’s wind energy industry is the future of our economy, and we need to invest in the fuels of the future, not the industries of the past.”

America has the potential to power itself 10 times over with wind that blows both over land and off the coast. Offshore wind development, which is in its nascent stages in the U.S., is critical to fulfilling the nation’s full promise of wind energy, the report said.

Yesterday the U.S. House overwhelmingly adopted a plan to renew vital wind energy tax credits retroactively through the end of 2014, which advocates said was virtually meaningless. To ramp up wind power development and avoid massive job loss, the incentives for wind power projects should be renewed at least through 2015, they said.

“Congress needs to provide stability so that American workers can make more of our own energy here at home, and reduce carbon pollution as rapidly and cheaply as possible,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “We need to get out of short-term thinking, including three-week extensions of the policy that is critical to building more wind energy, the Production Tax Credit. That’s why we are urging the Senate today to stand up for renewable energy, vote for the EXPIRE Act, and extend the PTC at least through 2015, before considering a phase-out that would provide a glide path for the industry to keep scaling up.”

“Wind power can replace the dirty energy sources of the past and the pollution that comes with them,” Aurilio with Environment America concluded. “But Congress needs to act now to ensure a clean energy future.”

Aubrey Dunn and the Republican Party of New Mexico Still Trying to Disenfranchise Voters

Dunn and the RPNM resort to ​lie​s and ​ fear in order to try to influence the outcome of the Land Commissioner’s Race

In a message to supporters can only be considered as comical, candidate for State Land Commissioner, Aubrey Dunn, attempted to scare his supporters into giving him money by making outrageous and racist claims. The two most egregious claims were:

1. Ray Powell and the Democratic Party have “40 attorneys” working on the recount effort.

This is a patent lie without any basis in fact ​ and especially funny considering it has become clear that the Dunn Campaign is not only working with the Republican Party of New Mexico, but also the Secretary of State ​ an d Governor’s​ office as well. Their combined efforts are sure to keep many attorneys (including some paid with taxpayer dollars) very busy throughout this process.

2. Insinuating that the reason why the vote deficit has narrowed between Powell and Dunn is because of “illegal immigrants.”

Not only is this not possible, it is absolutely playing on the fears of others. The fact is that there were a high number of provisional ballots this election because there were widespread issues with voting machines throughout the state especially in areas where there were efforts to disenfranchise voters. In fact, as the Chief Executive in charge of voter registration, Secretary of State Dianna Duran should be well aware of these issues and could have taken action before the election to address these issues so that we would not have had so many provisional ballots.

The following is a statement from ​DPNM ​ Executive Director Jon Lipshutz ​regarding​ Aubrey Dunn’s message:

“I am not only angry that Mr. Dunn would make such claims about Commissioner Powell, I am not surprised either. This is yet another example of the Republican Party and their surrogates doing everything they can to continue to disenfranchise the voters of New Mexico. The RPNM, along with Aubrey Dunn and Secretary of State Diana Duran will do everything they can to ensure that the election goes their way ​ and that voters are kept in the dark about the accuracy of the vote tabulators ​,​ ​ even if it means violating state law and creating their own rules to influence the outcome. Commissioner Powell has never done anything except fight for the people and the lands of our state. Our efforts during this recount process are simply to ensure that every vote is counted and that the law is followed. We stand proudly with Commissioner Powell in this fight ​.​ “

Currently, the recount process has been put on hold pending action taken by the New Mexico Supreme Court. The Powell campaign, with full support of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, is challenging the Canvassing Board’s rules for the recount which clearly run contrary to state statute ​ and the Secretary’s own regulations.​ The ​process​ put forth by the Canvassing Board w​as​ created by Secretary of State Diana Duran and signed off on by Governor Susana Martinez. The ​Acting ​Chief Justice of the Supreme Court refused to sign the order

Senator Heinrich Secures Key Provisions In Defense Authorization Act To Strengthen N.M. Military Bases, National Security

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) successfully included several key provisions in the fiscal year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to strengthen national security and New Mexico’s military bases, and boost the economy. The NDAA sets the Department of Defense (DOD) spending levels and policies for the upcoming fiscal year.

“New Mexico’s military bases are home to thousands of men and women who dedicate their lives to the safety and security of our great nation,” said Sen. Heinrich. “This bill supports their work by strengthening the partnership between the film industry and New Mexico’s military ranges, maintaining the formerly endangered ORS mission at Kirtland Air Force Base, and funding military construction projects that serve our servicemen and women while putting our building trades sector to work. New Mexico is at the forefront of protecting our nation and spurring innovation, and these investments will ensure that tradition continues.”

Heinrich fought to include the following provisions in the FY15 NDAA:

Military Equitable Reimbursement Act (S. 1669): Senator Heinrich introduced a bill with Senator Vitter (R-La.) that would allow the DOD to retain payments for costs incurred during support of non-governmental film productions. Currently, DOD units can accept reimbursement for expenses associated with the use of military assets for production. However, due to ambiguity in existing law, there is uncertainty about whether DOD components, including installations like White Sands Missile Range, are eligible to keep these payments. As a result of Senator Heinrich’s legislation, military installations will be able to retain payment.

Operationally Responsive Space (ORS): Authorizes $20 million to continue the ORS program at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. Since elected to Congress, Senator Heinrich has worked to keep the ORS office at Kirtland Air Force Base and continue small satellite research and development by rejecting multiple proposed terminations. He’s been an effective advocate for maintaining funding and supporting additional missions for ORS. In 2014, the Air Force selected a payload for the ORS-5 satellite, Space Situational Awareness, and funding is included in the NDAA to continue that program in FY15. Senator Heinrich has also sent a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James requesting funds in FY16.

Air Force T-1A Aircraft Modernization/Replacement: Senator Heinrich worked with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to support language in the NDAA requiring a report on the options to modernize or replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of 178 T-1A Jayhawks. Pilot training is critical for maintaining the most advanced and capable Air Force in the world, and Very Lightweight Jets have the potential to provide a state-of-the-art training platform while saving significant taxpayer dollars-all while creating good-paying manufacturing jobs in New Mexico. Senator Heinrich also sent a letter to Air Force this year in support of Very Lightweight Jets

Senator Tom Udall Recruiting Spring Interns for New Mexico Offices

Positions available in Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Las Cruces, Portales and Santa Fe offices

U.S. Senator Tom Udall invites New Mexico college students interested in gaining legislative or press relations experience to apply for spring semester internships in his Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Las Cruces, Portales and Santa Fe offices.

For more information and to apply for an internship, please visit http://www.tomudall.senate.gov/internships. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but students are encouraged to submit their applications early.

“Congressional internships provide a unique and engaging opportunity for students to develop their perspective on the federal government and policy,” Udall said. “Interns play a vital role in the daily operations of my offices, and I invite college students interested in gaining insight into the inner-workings of Congress or pursuing a career in public service to apply.”

Students of all majors are welcome to apply and internships in any of Udall’s offices may count toward college credit. Students should check with their respective college or university for requirements.

Senator Heinrich Calls For Full Funding Of PILT, SRS For Critical Local Government Services

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich joined a bipartisan coalition urging Senate leaders to fully fund the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program and Secure Rural Schools (SRS) in any end-of-year legislation.

“Moving forward, we hope that we can work together to seek a long-term solution to provide a consistent and stable source of funding for the nation’s counties containing federal lands,” the lawmakers wrote to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “As we approach the end of the 113th Congress, however, we urge you to consider the economic hardship and uncertainty that these counties will face if the PILT program is not given consistent funding.”

PILT provides federal payments to local governments to help offset losses in property taxes because of nontaxable federal land within their boundaries, and these resources are critical to rural counties across the country, which use the funding to provide services, such as police, fire protection, and emergency response. The SRS program, which benefits rural counties near national forests, supports public schools, public roads, forest health projects, and other county projects. Along with PILT, rural counties rely heavily on SRS to help provide essential services to residents.

Funding for both PILT and SRS has expired, and unless the programs are renewed, counties across the country will see major budget cuts. Annually, PILT and SRS combined provide more than $700 million to rural counties across the country.

The full text of the letter is available HERE:

Senators Udall, Heinrich Urge Funding Solution For Land And Water Conservation Fund

U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich this week joined 39 other U.S. senators in calling on Senate leadership to work with them to find a permanent funding solution for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund guarantees a prosperous and vital future for the next generation while preserving our uniquely American way of life across this nation,” the senators wrote in the letter. “Accordingly, we urge you to enact a permanent and comprehensive solution for this vital program before the 113th Congress adjourns.”

The LWCF has helped create and protect urban parks and open spaces that enhance recreation and outdoor opportunities in urban and rural communities alike. The LWCF is funded almost entirely by oil and gas leasing along the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Congress authorized the fund at $900 million through the end of the fiscal year, on Sept. 30, 2015.

Congress established the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 1964 to help state and local governments conserve open spaces for the benefit of all Americans. For Fiscal Year 2014, $507,107 has been allocated to support projects in New Mexico. Since its inception, more than $4 billion has been made available for state and local governments to fund over 40,000 projects across the nation. A recen

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