Graham Backs Off Threat to Hold Up Senate Over Photos
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has lifted his threat to hold up all Senate business after he received assurances from both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that both the Senate and the executive branch would act to prohibit the release of detainee abuse photos.Graham said Wednesday that Reid promised him in a conversation Tuesday evening that he would bring up a bill, sponsored by Graham and Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), to bar the Pentagon from making public photos of detainee abuse at the hands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.“I’ve been assured by the Majority Leader that we would be able to have an up-or-down vote on the Lieberman-Graham amendment by July 8,— Graham said. He added, “I’m going to release all my holds.—In a conversation Wednesday morning, Graham said, Emanuel assured him the White House would issue an executive order to keep the photos secret if necessary.Graham said Emanuel made clear that “the president’s committed to make sure these photos never see the light of day. They would prefer the legislation, but if necessary they will do whatever is required. I’m going to take them at their word.—Still, Graham said he wanted more information from the administration about why it seems to be waiting for the courts to resolve the matter. He said he is concerned that President Barack Obama might wait until after the Supreme Court has ruled or refused to hear the case, which Graham believes could put any executive order on shaky legal ground.Though several photos of detainee abuse were released during the 2004 scandal over prisoner treatment at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, the American Civil Liberties Union has sued to have more photos released. A federal court ruled the pictures should be made public, but the court issued a stay of that decision until the Obama administration has an opportunity to appeal it to the Supreme Court.