Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the decision by the Obama Administration to not prosecute CIA officers who were authorized to use harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects.
Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee.
“I support the Administration’s decision to look ahead, not back. President Obama’s decision to not seek retroactive prosecution of these agents, who were following approved procedures and guidelines, is in the best interests of our nation.
“During the time periods in question, the Geneva Convention did not apply to terrorist detainees and the war crimes statute was so ill-designed that it could not be used for prosecution. Over the objections of the Bush administration, Congress began to address the gaps in our interrogation laws through the passage of the McCain Amendment in 2005 which prohibited cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. The Military Commission Act in 2006 further clarified our war crimes laws. We now have in place a very robust war crimes statute that provides adequate notice to all federal agencies as to what constitutes lawful interrogation.
“Water boarding is clearly a violation of current law and in my opinion, constitutes torture. However, during the time periods in question there was no such clear guidance and the agents were following orders and procedures approved by the appropriate authorities. As such, these agents should not face prosecution.
“To apply current laws retroactively, or to hold CIA agents accountable for following orders from the appropriate authorities, would be unfair and serve no higher purpose.
“Let it be clear that as our nation goes forward, we have new rules and policies in place. They clearly prohibit water boarding and other techniques that constitute a violation of Common Article III of the Geneva Convention which now applies as well as a newly passed war crimes statute. These changes in the law are necessary to restore our standing as a nation and to give clear and concise guidance to those who are tasked with fighting this war.”#####