Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lieb, Graham threaten scorched earth on pics


The Senate and House may be on a major collision course over the possible release of those photographs of detainee interrogations.

In an incendiary joint statement, Sens. Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham are threatening to use any means possible — including a filibuster — to block the House from overturning their amendment blocking the release of detainee interrogation photos.

Some House Dems were incensed when the pair — with the backing of the White House — inserted a three-year ban on Freedom of Information Act releases of the pictures without notifying them.

After initially saying she'd back the ban, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is apparently wavering under pressure from the left wing of her party.

Word that Pelosi was on the fence prompted Graham and Lieberman to blast away, according to a snior Senate Democratic aide.

Calling the release of the so-called torture pics tantamount to a "death sentence" for some U.S. operatives working in hostile countries, Lieberman and Graham took the unusual step of vowing to attach their ban to every piece of legislation passed in the upper chamber if their amendment is removed from the war supplamental.

Their statement:

"We will employ all the legislative means available to us including opposing the supplemental war spending bill and attaching this amendment, which was unanimously adopted by the Senate, to every piece of legislation the Senate considers, to be sure the President has the authority he needs not to release these photos and any others that would jeopardize the safety and security of our troops.

"The release of the photos will serve as propaganda and recruiting tool for terrorists who seek to attack American citizens at home and abroad. We should strive to have as open a government as possible, but the behavior depicted in the photos has been prohibited and is being investigated. The photos do not depict anything that is not already known. Transparency, and in this case needless transparency, should not be paid for with the lives of American citizens, let alone the lives of our men and women in uniform fighting on our behalf in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

"Let it clearly be understood that without this legislation the photos in question are likely to be released. Such a release would be tantamount to a death sentence to some who are serving our nation in the most dangerous and difficult spots like Iraq and Afghanistan. It is this certain knowledge of these consequences of having the photos released that will cause us to vote against the supplemental and continue our push to turn our important amendment into law."

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