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.”