After Senate Democrats released a detailed report Tuesday showing the CIA’s use of torture was ineffective and far more expansive than previously acknowledged, South Carolina’s U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the methods used were counterproductive. But he questioned the timing of the report’s release and said he believed the CIA was trying to prevent another 9/11 attack.
“The techniques in question were motivated by fear of another attack and people at the time though this was the best way to defend the nation. I accept that on their part.” Graham said on the floor of the Senate after the report was read in the chamber.
Graham said he supported the investigation as the problems of CIA interrogation policies were obvious to him. “During the debate about these techniques I was very proud of the fact that every military lawyer came out on the side that the techniques in question were not who we are and what we want to be.” Graham said Tuesday. The senator added he does not condone torture and continues to believe abusive detention and interrogation techniques used were wrong.
He spoke on the Senate floor moments after Sen. John McCain. The Arizona Republican, himself a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, said the report showed torture isn’t necessary and “isn’t even helpful in winning this strange and long war” against terror.
Graham differed from McCain, who said the report needed to be public knowledge. The South Carolina lawmaker said the timing of the release of the report is problematic and that enemies of the U.S. will seize upon its findings. “I wish we waited because the world is in such volatile shape right now,” he said on the Senate floor. “I do fear this report will be used by our enemies, but I guess this is no good time to do things like this.”
Graham later released a statement on the report in which he commented on the current administration’s policies on terror suspects.
“We have now gone from one extreme to the other. We’ve gone from waterboarding to reading Miranda Rights and providing taxpayer funded lawyers to foreign terror suspects within days of capture. In addition, we no longer hold and lawfully interrogate High Value Targets who can provide valuable intelligence to prevent future attacks,” the statement read.
The statement went on to say: “The policies the Obama Administration has employed treats terrorists as common criminals, not enemy combatants. I’m convinced their criminalization of the war is causing our nation to lose valued intelligence which can help protect our nation.”