From the Houston Chronicle (12.14.2007):
WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans blocked a bill today that would restrict the interrogation methods the CIA can use against terrorism suspects.
The legislation, part of a measure authorizing the government’s intelligence activities for 2008, had been approved a day earlier by the House and sent to the Senate for what was supposed to be final action. The bill would require the CIA to adhere to the Army’s field manual on interrogation, which bans waterboarding, mock executions and other harsh interrogation methods.
Sen. Lindsay (sic) Graham, R-S.C., placed a hold on the intelligence bill, preventing the Senate from voting on it while the challenge goes forward.
“I think quite frankly applying the Army field manual to the CIA would be ill-advised and would destroy a program that I think is lawful and helps the country,” Graham said in an interview.
The field manual amendment was pushed by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and backed by two Senate Republicans, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.
Feinstein defended the provision and said the Senate should debate it. “The Army Field Manual has been an effective guide for the military,” she said. “It was very carefully written and reviewed. It has not come under criticism, unlike the constant criticism in the CIA arena …. It is my belief that America is not well served by torture.”
The White House threatened to veto the bill this week over the interrogation restrictions and a list of other issues. The CIA denies that it tortures detainees.
The Army field manual, adopted in 2006, prohibits forcing detainees to be naked, perform sexual acts, or pose in a sexual manner; placing hoods or sacks over detainees’ heads or duct tape over their eyes; beating, shocking, or burning detainees; threatening them with military dogs; exposing them to extreme heat or cold; conducting mock executions; depriving them of food, water, or medical care; and waterboarding.
From Think Progress:
Graham’s effort to protect Bush’s torture policies directly contradicts his recent anti-torture rhetoric. Just this week, Graham raked Brigadier General Thomas W. Hartmann, the legal adviser at Guantanamo Bay, over the coals for refusing to call waterboarding torture, even if done by Iranian “secret security agents” on an American pilot.
Given his record, the gap between Graham’s rhetoric and his legislative action isn’t altogether surprising.
In October, Graham hinted that he might oppose Michael Mukasey’s nomination unless he said waterboarding was illegal. But after Mukasey continued to refuse to explicitly call waterboarding torture, Graham reneged and helped push Mukasey through the Senate.
So, despite the fact that Graham believes a person doesn’t need “a lot of knowledge about the law” to know that waterboarding “violates” [the] Geneva Convention,” he is now blocking efforts to outlaw the CIA’s use of it.
Lindsey Graham makes my head spin around and makes me puke pea soup.