In a press release about yesterday’s Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s post-9/11 interrogation practices, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham spilled more ink criticizing the committee for releasing the report than criticizing the CIA for torturing people.
“The timing of the release is problematic given the growing threats we face,” Graham said. “Terrorism is on the rise, and our enemies will seize upon this report at a critical time. Simply put, this is not the time to release the report.” He added:
“I believe its release at this time is politically motivated. I have no doubts that it will create problems for our country and the men and women serving our nation around the globe.”
Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, occupies the hawkish wing of the Republican Party and has recently been calling for greater intervention in Syria. He recently began publicly flirting with the idea of running for president, telling the City Paper in October, “if you’re looking for somebody who can carry the banner for a national security platform, then a lot of people see me as a person being able to do it.”
Graham’s statement Tuesday came after the Senate report revealed that detainees had been subjected to rectal feedings, sleep deprivation for up to a week at a time, and waterboarding techniques that one agent described as “a series of near drownings.” The report also found that the CIA misled the White House, Congress, and the press about the amount of “actionable intelligence” being gathered from the interrogation techniques. It showed that when some CIA agents questioned the usefulness and legality of the techniques being used, CIA Counterterrorism Center head Jose A. Rodriguez Jr. wrote back, “Such language is not helpful.”
In response to the investigation itself, Graham said:
“As a military lawyer for more than 30 years, I believe we can and must fight this war within our values. I supported the investigation of the CIA as the problems of interrogation policies were obvious to me. I do not condone torture and continue to believe abusive detention and interrogation techniques used in the past were counterproductive. I’m very happy the techniques in question are no longer utilized.”