POLITICS

Lieberman, Graham Seek To Block Torture Photos At All Costs

07/09/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

With the war supplemental under fire from some unlikely allies in the House, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) threatened Monday to use any means necessary to keep torture photos hidden.

Lieberman and Graham said in a forceful joint statement that they would attach their bill, which allows the Secretary of Defense to suppress any detainee interrogation photos for three years at a time, to every measure that comes before the Senate until it becomes law. The two senators did not rule out a filibuster, and they suggested that their move has the backing of the White House.

The full statement appears below:

"We strongly believe that the first responsibilities of government are the nation's security and the protection of those brave Americans who go into harm's way to defend it.

"The President has said that the release of the photos of detainees in US custody would 'put our troops and civilians serving our nation abroad in greater danger.' We agree with the Commander in Chief.

"We will employ all the legislative means available to us including opposing the supplemental war spending bill and attaching this amendment, which was unanimously adopted by the Senate, to every piece of legislation the Senate considers, to be sure the President has the authority he needs not to release these photos and any others that would jeopardize the safety and security of our troops.

"The release of the photos will serve as propaganda and recruiting tool for terrorists who seek to attack American citizens at home and abroad. We should strive to have as open a government as possible, but the behavior depicted in the photos has been prohibited and is being investigated. The photos do not depict anything that is not already known. Transparency, and in this case needless transparency, should not be paid for with the lives of American citizens, let alone the lives of our men and women in uniform fighting on our behalf in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

"Let it clearly be understood that without this legislation the photos in question are likely to be released. Such a release would be tantamount to a death sentence to some who are serving our nation in the most dangerous and difficult spots like Iraq and Afghanistan. It is this certain knowledge of these consequences of having the photos released that will cause us to vote against the supplemental and continue our push to turn our important amendment into law."

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