May 07 2009

Graham, Lieberman Encourage President Obama to Fight Photographs Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Connecticut) today wrote to President Obama expressing grave concern over the impending release of photographs of detainees captured in the war on terror and held by American military personnel.


The release of photographs is in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.


“We know that many terrorists captured in Iraq have told American interrogators that one of the reasons they decided to join the violent jihadist war against America was what they saw on Al-Qaeda videos of abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib,” wrote Graham and Lieberman.  “Releasing these old photographs of detainee treatment now will provide new fodder to Al-Qaeda’s propaganda and recruitment operations, undercut the progress you have made in our international relations, and endanger America’s military and diplomatic personnel throughout the world.


“The release of these old photographs of past behavior that has now been clearly prohibited can serve no public good, but will empower al-Qaeda propaganda operations, hurt our country’s image, and endanger our men and women in uniform,” wrote Graham and Lieberman. 


Graham and Lieberman noted that the abusive practices at Abu Ghraib began Congressional involvement in detainee policy.  Congress then passed the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commission Act.  That legislation along with a series of executive actions, including some orders the Obama Administration has issued, are all aimed at preventing a repeat of this unacceptable behavior. 


“America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have made great progress in improving detention and interrogation procedures,” said Graham and Lieberman.  “We urge you in the strongest possible terms to fight the release of these old pictures of detainees in the war on terror, including pursuing all legal options to prevent the public disclosure of these pictures.”