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Where do Colorado lawmakers stand on CIA torture? No telling with Gardner

December 10, 2014, 11:44 am

Sorry if you were trying to get on either site (Real Vail or Real Aspen) Tuesday afternoon into this morning. Right after I posted quick stories reporting on Colorado lawmaker reaction to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA torture report, both sites crashed.

Coincidence? Maybe. My sites haven’t crashed for months; then all of a sudden, I post a story on CIA torture and … poof. Offline for 12-plus hours. Then a black helicopter started circling my house and … JK on that last part.

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner

Regardless, it’s a very interesting debate – one that outgoing Democratic Sen. Mark Udall was instrumental in keeping at the forefront of our public consciousness, including taking to the Senate floor to blast the Obama administration on the issue Wednesday. He clearly should have focused more on his track record as a watchdog  over the CIA and NSA instead of zeroing in on his opponent’s abysmal and indefensible record on reproductive rights in last month’s midterm election.

Udall quickly issued a release on the torture report Tuesday. Where does U.S. Rep. and new Senator-elect Cory Gardner stand on the release of the report? Who knows? No statement, nothing on Twitter since Nov. 20, the last press release from his office was Oct. 30, and his last Facebook post was Dec. 5. And none of them mention the CIA.

Gardner, to his credit, does condemn the Sand Creek massacre on his Facebook page, calling it a shameful chapter in U.S. history, but that was 150 years ago. I guess more recent shameful chapters aren’t worthy of comment. The only comment I could find from a Colorado Republican was the one I posted from CD5 U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn.

Democrat Jared Polis, who represents eastern Eagle County (including Vail) quickly released a statement that I included in my post Tuesday, but Republican Scott Tipton, who represents the western half of Eagle County (as well as Aspen and surrounding Pitkin County) didn’t issue a public statement. Instead, a spokesman gave a comment to the Durango Herald. At least it’s something.

One would think the Senator-elect who’s replacing such a champion on these issues would have said something by now, to somebody. But Gardner was still silent as of Wednesday at 11 a.m.

If you voted for Gardner, you can expect that lack of public discourse and transparency for the next six years. Congratulations. Gardner doesn’t even bother to have his people email or call reporters back, especially if they have tough questions.

And if you’re a Democrat who didn’t bother to get out and vote for Udall, you get the government you deserve, and clearly you’re OK with the CIA and the NSA watching your every move, torturing terrorism suspects without filing charges and executing U.S. citizens anywhere they want with illegal drone strikes.

Mark Udall had a problem with all of the above. He will be missed.

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David O. Williams is an award-winning energy, environment, sports and outdoor writer based in the Vail Valley. His work has appeared in publications as diverse as the The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, SKI, SKIING, Powder, People, LA Weekly and the Huffington Post.

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