Jun 23 2009

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the Iranian situation after President Obama's press conference.


Jun 19 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement after Inez Tenenbaum was confirmed as Chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

“I’m pleased the Senate has acted quickly on the nomination and confirmed her to this important position.  I know Inez and am confident she will hit the ground running.  She will look out for American consumers and provide the agency with the leadership it needs.

“I also want to thank President Obama.  He made an outstanding selection in choosing Inez Tenenbaum for this job.”


Jun 18 2009

WASHINGTON, DC --  Wednesday night, the Senate unanimously approved the Lieberman-Graham Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act, legislation that would prevent the release of photos of detainees in US custody.  The release of the photos would endanger American troops; destabilize Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan; and serve as a terrorist recruiting tool just like the 2004 photos did, according to Generals David Petraeus and Ray Odierno.


Graham and Lieberman noted that General Odierno, in a recent court filing, addressed the increase in violence after the 2004 release of detainee abuse photos.  The general wrote, “The public dissemination of detainee abuse photos in 2004 likely contributed to a spike in violence in Iraq during the third quarter of 2004 as foreign fighters and domestic insurgents were drawn to Iraq to train and fight. Attacks on C[oalition] F[orces] increased from around 700 in March 2004 to 1800 in May (after the photographs were broadcast and published) and 2800 in August 2004. Attacks on C[oalition] F[orces] did not subside to March 2004 levels until June 2008. These increased attacks resulted in the death of Coalition Forces, Iraqi forces, and civilians."


“Passing this bill is essential to protecting our fighting men and women,” said Senators Graham and Lieberman.  “Each one of those photos would be tantamount to a death sentence to those serving our nation in the most dangerous and difficult spots like Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.   The President and overwhelming majorities in the Senate and the House have made it clear that these photos should not be released.  Now it is the House’s turn to take swift action so the President can sign this bill and give our troops and their families the assurance they deserve that these photos will never be released.  We’re hopeful the House will pass the legislation and have it on the President’s desk by July 8, the date of the next court hearing filing.”


The Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act was unanimously approved by the Senate as an amendment to the supplemental appropriations bill, but was removed during the conference committee.  At the time, President Obama wrote a letter to Chairman Inouye and Chairman Obey promising to “continue to take every legal and administrative remedy available to me to ensure the DoD detainee photographs are not released.”  The President added, “Should a legislative solution prove necessary, I am committed to working with the Congress to enact legislation that achieves the objectives we share.”


Graham and Lieberman have also been personally assured that if Congress fails to act on behalf of our troops, the President will take the appropriate Executive action to ensure the photos will never be released.


“The best way to prevent the photos from being released is for the House to pass and the President to sign the Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act,” said Graham and Lieberman.  “Our legislation would bring this matter to a decisive conclusion.  There is no reason to litigate this case further or even to rely on an executive order.  Why would Congress not do something that could so easily help our men and women in uniform who are deployed abroad and fighting on our behalf?  For our troops and for our nation, the sooner the better.”


Jun 17 2009

White House Assures Graham Detainee Photos will not be Released

Senate to Hold Stand-alone Vote on Lieberman-Graham

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today released his hold on the war funding bill and other Senate items after being provided with personal assurance from the Obama White House that photos depicting detainee abuse will not be released.    

Graham also received assurances from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the Senate will hold a stand-alone vote on legislation Graham introduced with Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-Connecticut) preventing the photos from being released. 

Graham made this statement after the agreement was reached and then announced on the Senate floor. 

“I have been given two important commitments for releasing my hold and allowing the Senate to proceed on other issues.   

“First, I have been personally assured by Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff, that if Congress fails to do its part in protecting these photos from being released, President Obama will sign an Executive Order classifying the photos.  He assured me these photos would not see the light of day.    

“Second, we will have a vote on Lieberman-Graham as a free-standing bill before July 8, the date of the next court hearing.  Lieberman-Graham passed the Senate unanimously as an amendment to the war supplemental.  I expect the vote will be similar when we take it up as a free-standing bill.  After it passes the Senate I hope the House will act quickly on it and send it to President Obama’s desk.  There are overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate to pass this legislation into law quickly. 

“The people involved in Abu Ghraib and other detainee abuse allegations have been dealt with.  These photos bring nothing new, but the effect of releasing these photos would be to empower our enemies.  Every photo would become a bullet or IED used by terrorists against our troops. 

“I think we now have a game plan in place that will protect our men and women serving overseas.” 


Jun 16 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on Inez Tenenbaum’s nomination to serve as Chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  Graham introduced Tenenbaum at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing this morning in Washington. 

“American consumers will be in good hands with Inez Tenenbaum at the helm of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  She has a wealth of executive experience and has been intimately involved in consumer advocacy issues as an attorney.

“The Chairman of CPSC holds the public trust and I could not think of a better person to hold this position.  Inez is someone everyone respects, whether you agree with her or not.  She will look out for American consumers and provide the agency with the leadership it needs.

“It is a big honor for South Carolina to have her nominated for this position.  President Obama has made an outstanding selection in nominating Inez Tenenbaum and I look forward to seeing her confirmed by the Senate.”


Jun 09 2009

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vermont) announcement that the hearings for the Supreme Court vacancy will begin on July 13th.  Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“A nomination to the Supreme Court is one of the most important issues to come before the Senate.  I agree with Senator Sessions’ assessment that Chairman Leahy’s unilateral decision to rush these hearings is inappropriate.  Judge Sotomayor has an extremely long record of around 3,600 cases to review.  John Roberts, by comparison, only had 327 cases to review. 

“Additionally, Chairman Leahy’s schedule would provide the Committee with less time to review Judge Sotomayor’s record than it had for the nominations of Justices Roberts, Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer, and Clarence Thomas.  This is a rush schedule and I see no compelling reason for us to rush the process.  The Supreme Court does not meet until the first week of October.”


Jun 09 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made these statements on published reports House Democrats and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are preparing to strip out the Lieberman-Graham amendment from the war supplemental funding bill.  The amendment bolstered the Obama Administration’s legal position to prevent the release of photos of past detainee abuse. 


Graham made these statements at a Capitol Hill press conference with Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-Connecticut).  (A full transcript of the Graham-Lieberman press conference is available on Senator Graham’s blog.  Audio and video should be available later this afternoon.)

The House is ‘Off-Script’ 

"The Senate has jumped on board with President Obama.  The only body that is off-script, in my opinion, is the House.  If they drop this in conference, it will be one of the most outrageous and irresponsible acts in the history of the Congress.  Why do I say that?  Because it would mean that members of Congress will dismiss advice from commanders in the field at a time of war.  And these are not just any commanders.  These commanders have been at war for years.  They know what they're talking about, Generals Petraeus and Odierno.  They told us without any hesitation that if these photos are released our enemies will use it to incite violence against our troops.  If these photos see the light of day, it will be a death sentence to some serving abroad.”

Empowering our Enemies 

“The United States Congress being told by commanders in the field that if you release these photos, you're going to jeopardize the safety of our troops, who are already in harm's way, unnecessarily.  What good is it to pass a supplemental giving our troops new weapons if also in the supplemental you give a weapon to the enemy to use against our own troops?”

The ‘Fringe’ Element Opposes Lieberman-Graham Amendment 

“I cannot believe that we're about to do this, that we're going to dismiss the advice of our commanders who are leading our troops at the time of war to give into a fringe element in American politics.  And make no doubt about it:  This is a fringe element.”  

‘Nothing new’ Added by Releasing Additional Photos: 

“I think the initial approach we took to Abu Ghraib overall has been helpful.  We had to get this out.  We got it out.  People have been court-martialed. People have lost their jobs.  The public had a chance to understand how badly we mismanaged Abu Ghraib, and quite frankly, the war.  But to release additional photographs I think the commander-in-chief is right, it doesn't add anything to the debate.”

‘Life and death’ 

“This is life and death.  And we're not going to let the fringe of American politics get young men and women killed who have done nothing wrong.  They weren't part of these photos.  They weren't part of this abuse.  They're volunteers serving abroad.  They've done nothing wrong, and we're not going to put them in harm's way unnecessarily because of a fringe element in American politics.”


Jun 08 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today issued the following statement on the Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations bill:

“We strongly believe that the first responsibilities of government are the nation's security and the protection of those brave Americans who go into harm's way to defend it.

“The President has said that the release of the photos of detainees in US custody would 'put our troops and civilians serving our nation abroad in greater danger.'  We agree with the Commander in Chief.

“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.”


Jun 04 2009

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today placed this statement in the Congressional Record on the 20th Anniversary of the brutal crackdown in Tiananmen Square.

"Mr. President, today marks a somber anniversary. Twenty years ago today, months of peaceful protests throughout China culminated with the violent deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Chinese citizens advocating for democratic reforms. It is with sadness that we mark this occasion, but it is also an opportunity to renew our call for political reform in the People's Republic of China.

"One of the first things you see when you walk into my office is a large poster depicting the iconic image of a lone man staring down a line of Chinese tanks. This image has come to symbolize the worldwide struggle for democracy, the rule of law, and the promotion of basic human rights.

"Unfortunately, a generation of students in China can't identify the image or tell you about the events leading up to June 3rd and 4th, 1989. This is because China has failed to acknowledge or account for the actions that led up to this event.

"While the intervening years since the tragedy have seen China grow into a rapidly developing country, economically intertwined with the rest of the world, China's failure to deal with the Tiananmen events prevents the nation from making the political reforms necessary to truly become a respected member of the international community.

"In the years following Tiananmen, leaders of the Communist Party of China including Jiang Zemin, declared, "If we had not taken absolute measures at the time, we would not have the stability we enjoy today. A bad thing has turned out to be good."

"General Chi Haotian, the General in charge of the People's Liberation Army's response to the protest later stated that, "I can tell you in a responsible and serious manner that at that time not a single person lost his life in Tiananmen Square."

"Leaders of the military crackdown such as Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng, have never been held accountable for the actions of the People's Liberation Army and there has never been an official acknowledgement of the number of protesters killed or put in prison. Some accounts have claimed that more than 20,000 people were arbitrarily arrested and held without trial. A number of these people remain in prison today.

"Today would have been a landmark occasion for the Chinese government to announce that they were starting an independent and open investigation relating to the events of June 4, 1989. However, other than checkpoints set up in Tiananmen Square and efforts by the Chinese government to prevent international media outlets from filming in the square, there are no signs that today is anything other than an ordinary day in China.

"While the events of twenty years ago by the Chinese government launched a coordinated effort to prevent further unrest, it also helped crystallize a movement that continues today.

"Democracy advocates in China have built upon the legacy of Tiananmen and have led various efforts to force accountability and political reforms. All who watch China applaud the tireless work of Ding Zilin, the leader of Tiananmen Mothers, Liu Xiaobo and the rest of Charter 08, as well as countless others such as Jiang Qisheng who continue to face intimidation and imprisonment, yet persist with their cause.

"They can rest assured that ultimately their efforts will be successful. Today's world is increasingly interconnected. Communication and travel have gotten easier, and with the development of the internet, despite censorship efforts, information is becoming more readily available to the Chinese people.

"Every day it becomes more difficult for the Chinese government to keep its people in the dark. They will find out about Tiananmen, they will find out about how the outside world operates, they will demand changes at home."


Jun 04 2009

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the South Carolina Supreme Court decision forcing the Governor to apply for the stimulus funding.

"While I have great respect for the Court, I am very concerned this decision has caused great damage to separation of powers within our state government. Separation of powers is a concept that has served our state and nation well.

"While I disagreed with the Governor's decision to not apply for the stimulus funds, I believe it was his decision to make under the federal statute.

"With today's ruling it appears our courts have substituted the General Assembly's discretion for that of the Governor. One could easily see it, in a legal sense, as an assault on the highest office in our state. This decision will erode the power of the governor to make discretionary decisions conferred upon him by the federal government.

"If the governor is unable to perform the task set forward in the federal law, I fear that the governorship has, in many ways, been reduced to a ministerial job.

"The office of the Governor is the highest elected position in the state and one in which every eligible voter has the opportunity to have a say on. Long after the $700 million in stimulus funds is exhausted the impact of this ruling will continue to be felt. I fear today's decision will haunt our state for decades to come."