Jul 10 2008

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement following Senate confirmation of General David Petraeus as Commanding General of U.S. Central Command by a vote of 95-2, and General Raymond Odierno as Commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq by a vote of 96-1.

Graham said:

“I congratulate President Bush for nominating these fine officers for two of the most important jobs in the military.  Generals Petraeus and Odierno are the right people at the right time to lead operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

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Jul 09 2008

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the passage of H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.  The bill amends FISA and allows the United States to continue to monitor overseas phone calls of suspected terrorists while protecting the rights of American citizens.  Senator Graham voted for the bill which passed the Senate 69-28.

“Senator Obama is at it again on FISA.  He’s trying to have it both ways—saying he supports a bipartisan bill while trying to kill it.  Senator Obama voted to strip out the heart and soul of this bipartisan deal, legal immunity for telecommunications companies who cooperated with the federal government to monitor the overseas phone calls of suspected terrorists.  Senator Obama continues to demonstrate that in his world bipartisanship means that the other side gives and he takes.

“If the Dodd amendment to strip legal immunity had passed, an idea supported only by the far left, there would have been no deal.  Without this bipartisan agreement our terrorist surveillance program would cease to be effective, exposing out country to many dangers.

“I am pleased that 66 Senators, both Republicans and Democrats, voted to reject the Dodd amendment that would have unraveled the bipartisan agreement.  I am disappointed, but not surprised, that Senator Obama could not muster the courage to do likewise.

“Despite efforts to kill this agreement, the Senate has risen above political gamesmanship to make our country safer.  This bill will provide American law enforcement and intelligence agencies with the tools they need to monitor terrorist suspects overseas and win the global war on terror.”

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Jul 09 2008

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement.

 

“I have and will continue to support finding a permanent solution to the physician reimbursement formula.  However, I truly believe the bill passed by the Senate today does great harm to Medicare Advantage, a program enjoyed by thousands of South Carolina seniors that allows them more choice in their health care.

 

“I will continue to try to solve this problem in a bipartisan manner that is in the best interests of doctors, seniors, and taxpayers.  I do not believe we should have to choose between helping doctors and destroying competition in Medicare.”

 

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Jun 26 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today applauded the Supreme Court decision protecting the Second Amendment rights of Americans.

 

Graham had signed on to an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in the case of the District of Columbia v. Heller.  The brief was signed by Vice President Dick Cheney, 55 U.S. Senators, and 250 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

Graham said:

 

“The Supreme Court decision reinforced what many of us have always believed – the District of Columbia law went too far in restricting the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.  The case involved nothing more than the right of law abiding persons to keep common handguns and usable firearms for lawful self-defense in the home.

 

“This is a historic ruling and I’m very pleased by the Supreme Court’s decision in support of the Second Amendment rights of all Americans.”

 

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Jun 25 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today responded to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision that declares capital punishment to be unconstitutional for child rapists.

 

“Unfortunately, it appears this session of the Supreme Court has been a winner for child rapists and terrorists,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  “The Court’s statement there is a national consensus against the death penalty for cases that do not result in death is a complete misreading of the American people and their views on child rape.

 

“We live in a world where predators habitually prey on children and engage in vicious, sadistic behavior,” said Graham.  “Some states, like South Carolina , have moved forward to protect children.  I’m very disappointed the Supreme Court decided to strike down the good-faith efforts to protect our nation’s children from child rapists.

 

“Justice Alito made a passionate case against the majority ruling and its ‘sweeping conclusions.’  I completely agree with his assessment.  He wrote the majority’s decision put the death penalty off limits -- 

 

“…..no matter how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime, no matter how much physical or psychological trauma is inflicted and no matter how heinous the perpetrators’ criminal record may be. … The harm that is caused to the victims and to society at large by the worst child rapists is grave.  It is the judgment of the Louisiana lawmakers and those in an increasing number of other states that these harms justify the death penalty.  The court provides no cogent explanation why this legislative judgment should be overridden.”

 

“One of the major issues facing our nation is the future makeup of the Supreme Court,” concluded Graham.  “Will we continue to allow unelected judges to overrule legislation based on constitutional interpretations that are really nothing more than social engineering?  If we do, we can expect more rulings like today."

 

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Jun 23 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the impending release from prison of Pastor Phillip Miles of Conway, South Carolina .

 

“I’m very pleased for Pastor Miles, his family and friends.  Pastor Miles is a man of great faith and his friends and family have gone through a lot during this ordeal.  I know they look forward to welcoming him home.

 

“Pastor Miles was initially given a disproportionate sentence for his actions.  We worked within the Russian legal system and kept politics at bay.  I think it was a good strategy and today is a good outcome.  I want to extend my deep appreciation for the hard work done by his legal team, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, U.S. State Department, and those who kept Pastor Miles in their thoughts and prayers.

 

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Jun 19 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the transferability provision being included in the Iraq supplemental funding bill.  Transferability was one of the major differences between the Webb GI Bill and the competing proposal offered by Graham along with Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Richard Burr (R-North Carolina).

 

The transferability provision allows service members to transfer their education benefits to their spouse or children.  It will bolster recruitment and retention in addition to encouraging service members to continue their military careers.

 

Graham said:

 

“I am very pleased our transferability provision was included in the Iraq supplemental.  There is no doubt this is a long overdue and much needed change in policy.  While the transferability provision is worthwhile I have real reservations about the process used to pass the GI benefit legislation into law.  The provision did not go through committee markup and we were offered little chance on the Senate floor to make improvements.  Congress shouldn’t be doing the people’s business in this fashion.

 

“One of the major concerns that Senators McCain, Burr and I had with the Webb bill was that it did not include transferability.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Webb bill would have hurt reenlistment by 16 percent.  It never made sense to us that we would penalize service members who decided to make the military their career.

 

“It's in our own national interest to retain the best, brightest, and most experienced in our Armed Forces.  The transferability provision provides greatly improved incentives for service members who wish to stay in the military.

 

“Under transferability, service members can transfer their benefits to their spouse and children.  This option recognizes the sacrifices made by both the military family as well as the service member, and this provision has been well-received by the military community.  A service member who chooses to make the military their career will be able to use this benefit to pay for their children’s college education.

 

“Transferability is sound policy and it makes sense to reward military members and their families who choose to reenlist.  Transferability will dramatically enhance our ability to recruit and retain the all volunteer force necessary to win the War on Terror.

 

“I’m very glad to see that our position won the day and transferability was included in the supplemental.”

 

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Jun 19 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today responded to a comment made by his colleague, Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois), on the recent Supreme Court ruling bestowing habeas rights on terror suspects.

 

Senator Obama incorrectly stated habeas corpus, “is not designed to free prisoners.”  Here is the full statement.

 

“They are not serious about this.  Because if they wanted to have a serious conversation about it then they would know for example that the issue of Habeas Corpus is not designed to free prisoners, what it's designed to do is make sure that prisoners who are being held, have at least one shot to say, ‘I’m being held wrongly.” (ABC News, June 17, 2008)

 

Graham responded:

 

“Contrary to Senator Obama’s statement, the Supreme Court’s bestowal of constitutional habeas rights on terror suspects has given them the green light to sue for their release.  And yes, federal judges are now empowered to release terror suspects from American custody.  Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion makes this fact clear.  Kennedy wrote,

 

“…the habeas court must have the power to order the conditional release of an individual unlawfully detained -- though release need not be the exclusive remedy and is not the appropriate one in every case in which the writ is granted.” (Boumediene v. Bush, page 50)

 

“Senator Obama supports the Supreme Court ruling, but it appears from his comments he does not fully grasp the ruling’s effects.

 

“Senator Obama should acknowledge federal district court judges do have the power to release terror suspects based upon their habeas petitions.  And maybe he will acknowledge that on second thought, the Supreme Court’s granting federal judges this enormous power isn’t such a good idea.

 

“I look forward to his response on this important subject.

 

“I continue to find it mind-boggling that civilian judges -- in some of the most liberal district courts in the country – are now empowered to determine who is a military threat to the United States .  Simply put, federal judges who have virtually no training in military or intelligence matters should not be making these decisions.  We need to blunt their ability to do so.”

 

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Jun 17 2008

Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing

Opening Statement for Detainee & Interrogation Hearing

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you to the witnesses for testifying before us today.

 

Let me begin by saying, I have long made clear I believe the Administration’s lawyers used bizarre legal theories to justify harsh interrogation techniques.

 

I have also been troubled by the fact they implemented these procedures over the strenuous objections of military lawyers and many others with expertise in these issues.

 

The guidance they provided will go down in history as some of the most irresponsible and shortsighted legal analysis ever provided to our nation’s military and intelligence communities.

 

I do not believe the members of the Administration who played a major role in developing interrogation policies were motivated by anything other than a desire to protect our nation.  Their service to our nation in that respect is to be appreciated.

 

However, if the Administration adhered to the letter and spirit of the law, our treaty obligations, and adequately consulted with Congress, we wouldn’t be here today.

 

It is important we all understand and agree that the high ground in the war against Islamic extremism is the moral high ground.  We are not going to conquer our enemy on a battlefield.  There will be no surrender with a white flag.  It is a battle of ideas and values, and the issues we are going to discuss today represent a lost opportunity in this war.

 

I’d like to briefly outline where we were in the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11th and where we are today in terms of the interrogation, detention, and trial of enemy combatants for war crimes.

 

Let’s face the cold, hard facts.  On September 10, 2001, America was unprepared.  We weren’t ready to fight an enemy that claimed no country and wore no uniform.  We weren’t ready to capture, detain, and interrogate terror suspects who represent no nation-state and indiscriminately kill civilians and soldiers alike.

 

After we invaded Iraq , we underestimated the threat of an insurgency and we were slow to adapt to the situation on the ground.  We were ill equipped to manage Abu Ghraib and perplexed by what to do with unlawful combatants in Afghanistan .

 

I don’t offer our lack of preparation for this long war against radical Islamic extremism as an excuse, but rather as the context in which a series of extraordinarily poor decisions were made at the Pentagon, the Department of Justice, and the White House with respect to detainees.

 

To the great regret of many of us, the Administration pursued a “Go it Alone” strategy when it came to the treatment and detention of unlawful enemy combatants.

 

Under the rubric of the Commander in Chief’s inherent authority in a time of war and armed with the Authorization to Use Military Force, which Congress passed in the days after September 11th, the Administration implemented policies that were drafted, implemented, revised, rescinded and reissued in an endless loop.

 

Interrogation techniques which were supposed to be limited to Guantanamo Bay may have migrated to Iraq and Afghanistan .  The chaos was created by Administration lawyers’ decision to ignore the advice of senior military leaders and military lawyers and depart from decades of adherence to the Army Field Manual, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the Geneva Conventions.

 

It is hard to fathom that our nation and the world would have to hear the United States discuss documents like the “torture memo.”  Eventually, the departure from the time honored standards of the Geneva Conventions and their well-known and respected rules of restraint were replaced with a new set of untested procedures which became dangerously and disastrously confused.  Detainee abuse was the unfortunate result.

 

Mr. Haynes, who will come before this committee today, wrote in an official document that waterboarding “may be legally available” to the military, never mind the fact that it is clearly prohibited under the UCMJ.

 

The final report of the working group on interrogation convened by Mr. Haynes reiterated an OLC opinion that “in order to respect the President’s inherent constitutional authority to manage a military campaign…[the prohibition against torture] must be construed as inapplicable to interrogations undertaken pursuant to his Commander-in-Chief authority.”

 

I could go on and on about the legal analysis that any first year law student could poke holes in.

 

Regarding detention and prosecution of detainees, we follow a similar pattern.  I fought for years with the Administration to ensure the policies implemented for determining who is an enemy combatant and who should be tried for violations of war crimes followed the law of war.  Here again, the Administration tried to play cute with the law on evidence obtained by coercive means, and access to classified evidence just to name two areas.

 

Congress was late in exercising its authority in these matters.  But the key point is that we eventually did.

 

The passage of the McCain Amendment ensured that this nation wouldn’t engage in interrogation techniques that constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

 

The Bush Administration fought Senator McCain on this prohibition, but Congress passed it overwhelmingly.  The McCain Amendment started putting us back on the road to upholding the best traditions of our nation and restoring our standing in the world.

 

In the same bill, the Detainee Treatment Act, the Army Field Manual became the standard for all Department of Defense interrogations.

 

With the passage of the Military Commissions Act we have ensure that all of our interrogators are fully compliant with the Convention Against Torture, and Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

 

The Military Commissions Act put in place procedures that our nation can be proud of when it comes to prosecuting detainees for War Crimes.

 

I deeply regret the recent Supreme Court ruling providing a Constitutional right of habeas corpus to non-citizen terror suspects.  I think the American people are going to be deeply disturbed to learn that the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheik Muhammad, has the same constitutional rights as they do.

 

As Chief Justice Roberts argued in his dissenting opinion:

 

“So who has won? Not the detainees. The Court’s analysis leaves them with only the prospect of further litigation to determine the content of their new habeas right, followed by further litigation to resolve their particular cases, followed by further litigation before the D. C. Circuit—where they could have started had they invoked the DTA procedure. Not Congress, whose attempt to determine—through democratic means—how best” to balance the security of the American people with the detainees’ liberty interests…has been unceremoniously brushed aside. Not the Great Writ, whose majesty is hardly enhanced by its extension to a jurisdictionally quirky outpost, with no tangible benefit to anyone. Not the rule of law, unless by that is meant the rule of lawyers, who will now arguably have a greater role than military and intelligence officials in shaping policy for alien enemy combatants. And certainly not the American people, who today lose a bit more control over the conduct of this Nation’s foreign policy to unelected, politically unaccountable judges.” (p. 27-28)

 

Unfortunately, the Administration didn’t want to give detainees an inch.  Congress eventually gave them a few hundred yards and now the Supreme Court has given them a few miles.

 

As long as these investigations go on, I am confident we will continue to find mistakes and uncover more poor policy decisions.

 

But the overriding question is -- have we learned from our mistakes and are we all moving forward on a solid basis?  The answer is yes.

 

The fact that the legal and policy decisions made from 2002-2005 were based on inadequate legal analysis used to justify harsh treatment of detainees is not news to me.

 

I don’t think it is news to anyone on this Committee or anyone who has followed or reviewed any of the 15 different Department of Defense investigations that have been launched in the last five years or the numerous hearings held in the House and Senate. This Committee alone has had 17 separate briefings and hearings on detainee abuses.

 

Senator Warner is to be commended to making the difficult decision to have this committee fully investigate the Abu Ghraib scandal so that the American people and the world would know that when this country makes mistakes, it doesn’t hide from them or cover them up.

 

So, respectfully, Mr. Chairman, we are not breaking new ground here.  The abuses, the inconsistencies, and the pattern of poor judgment in these matters are well documented.

 

The fact is that we have come a long way in the past five years.  Secretary Rumsfeld is gone.  Wolfowitz, Cambone and Feith are all gone. John Yoo and Jim Haynes are gone.

 

I look forward to hearing from the witnesses today and hope that we continue to try to find a way to protect our nation that recognizes that even though we are at war, we must operate within the bounds of the laws and treaties that make our nation strong.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jun 12 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the Supreme Court ruling granting terror suspects in the War on Terror the right to sue in federal court.

 

He said:

 

“I am deeply disappointed in what I think is a tremendously dangerous and irresponsible ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

"The Court’s decision is bad on many levels and I will continue to review the decision and determine its sweeping effect on our military.  I will also explore the possibility, if necessary, of a constitutional amendment to blunt the effect of this decision when it comes to protecting our men and women in the military and our nation as a whole.

 

“The Court has conferred upon civilian judges the right to make military decisions.  These judges have virtually no training in military matters yet civilian judges, in some of the most liberal district courts in the country, will have an opportunity to determine who is a threat to the United States .

 

“Furthermore, the habeas trials will put great burdens on our military forces.  Enemy combatants potentially may be able to sue American troops for money damages and federal judges will now be in charge of the day-to-day military prisons and the interrogation of prisoners.  This will empower activist lawyers and interest groups to intervene in basic military matters for the first time in history.

 

“The Court ruling establishes a dangerous precedent for our country by conferring upon non-citizen enemy combatants the same rights as American citizens in a criminal proceeding.  They ignore the fact these combatants are warriors, not common criminals.  It is why I continue to believe the legal rights of enemy combatants should be governed by the law of war, not domestic criminal law.

 

“The Court’s ruling makes clear the legal rights given to Al Qaeda members today should exceed those provided to the Nazis during World War II.  Our nation is at war.  It’s truly unfortunate the Supreme Court did not recognize and appreciate that fact.

 

“I agree with Chief Justice John Roberts who noted the legal procedures available to detainees today are unprecedented and more than sufficient.  I only wish one more member of the Court would have listened to his wise counsel.  Instead, they took what I consider to be completely dangerous and irresponsible actions during a time of war.

 

“I agree with Senator John McCain and others that the country would be better off with the closure of Guantanamo Bay in an appropriate fashion that protects our national security interests. However, that is not the issue presented to us by the Court.  At the end of the day, the military is best equipped to determine who presents a military threat to the United States , not civilian judges.”

 

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Examples of Habeas Petitions Filed on Behalf of Detainees

 

Due to yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, here are some of the habeas petitions that may be allowed to proceed in federal court.

 

  • "Al Odah -- Motion for Dictionary Internet Security Forms" -- Kuwaiti detainees seek court orders that they be provided dictionaries in contravention of Guantanamo Bay's (GTMO) force protection policy and that their counsel be given high-speed internet access at their lodging on the base and be allowed to use classified Department of Defense telecommunications facilities, all on the theory that otherwise their "right to counsel" is unduly burdened
  • "Paracha -- Motion for Preliminary Injunction re Conditions" -- Motion by high level al Qaeda detainee complaining about base security procedures, speed of mail delivery, and medical treatment; seeking an order that he be transferred to the "least onerous conditions" at GTMO and asking the court to order that GTMO allow him to keep any books and reading materials sent to him and to "report to the Court" on "his opportunities for exercise, communication, recreation, worship, etc.
  • "Motion for Preliminary Injunction re Medical Records" -- Motion by detainee accusing military's health professionals of "gross and intentional medical malpractice" in alleged violation of the 4th, 5th, 8th, and 14th Amendments, 42 USC 1981, and unspecified international agreements.
  • "Abdah -- Emergency Motion re DVDs" -- "emergency" motion seeking court order requiring GTMO to set aside its normal security policies and show detainees DVDs that are purported to be family videos.
  • "Alladeen -- Motion for Temporary Restraining Order re Transfer" -- Egyptian detainee who Combatant Status Review Tribunal adjudicated as no longer an enemy combatant, and who was therefore due to be released by the United States, files motion to block his repatriation to Egypt.
  • "Petitioners' Supplemental Opposition" -- Filing by detainee requesting that, as a condition of a stay of litigation pending related appeals, the Court involve itself in his medical situation and set the stage for them to second-guess the provision of medical care and other conditions of confinement
  • "Al Odah Supplement to Preliminary Injunction Motion" -- Motion by Kuwaiti detainees unsatisfied with the Koran they are provided as standard issue by GTMO, seeking court order that they be allowed to keep various other supplementary religious materials, such as a "tafsir" or 4-volume Koran with commentary, in their cells.