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Lindsey Graham: They Mighta Sorta Broke the Law But It’s OK

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) doesn’t really like this hearing. He says he doesn’t “question the chairman’s motivation,” which is an elegant locution, and proceeds to assert what Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) calls “facts not in the record” — that torture worked, basically. Graham fears the criminalization of a policy debate if there are prosecutions of the Bush administration.

Then it gets a little more difficult to understand. Graham says he “takes a back seat to no one” in his love of the law, and adds that the Bush administration’s Office of Legal Counsel issued guidance about U.S. anti-torture statutes “in a way I wouldn’t have looked at them” and that he “disagree[s]” with. Waterboarding, for instance, is illegal, and he tells any member of the armed services “you will be prosecuted” for doing so. But it’s … OK for the CIA because “the Geneva Conventions did not apply in the war on terror.” That, however, was a unilateral declaration by the … Office of Legal Counsel.

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