Sen. Bob Graham: The CIA Lied To Me, Too


Sen. Bob Graham today told The Huffington Post that the CIA incorrectly told him that he had been briefed on dates when there were no briefings and that he was not told about the use of waterboarding, as the CIA claims he was:

In testimony that could bolster Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that the CIA misled her during briefings on detainee interrogations, former Senator Bob Graham insisted on Thursday that he too was kept in the dark about the use of waterboarding, and called the agency’s records on these briefings “suspect.”

In an interview with the Huffington Post, the former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman said that approximately a month ago, the CIA provided him with false information about how many times and when he was briefed on enhanced interrogations.

“When this issue started to resurface I called the appropriate people in the agency and said I would like to know the dates from your records that briefings were held,” Graham recalled. “And they contacted me and gave me four dates — two in April ’02 and two in September ’02. Now, one of the things I do, and for which I have taken some flack, is keep a spiral notebook of what I do throughout the day. And so I went through my records and through a combination of my daily schedule, which I keep, and my notebooks, I confirmed and the CIA agreed that my notes were accurate; that three of those four dates there had been no briefing. There was only one day that I had been briefed, which was September the 27th of 2002.”

As for the one briefing he did attend, the Florida Democrat said that he had “no recollection that issues such as waterboarding were discussed.” He was not, per the sensitive nature of the matters discussed, allowed to take notes at the time. But he did highlight what he considered to be pretty strong proof that the controversial technique was not discussed.

And if that’s true, then the CIA broke the law:

Democrats on the House intelligence committee said Thursday that CIA officers broke the law in 2002 if they told Nancy Pelosi then that they had not yet engaged in waterboarding.

“If they make a false report, absolutely it’s illegal,” said Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “If they fail to make a report when they’re obligated to that is also illegal — a violation of the National Security Act.”

Said CIA Spokesman George Little: “It is not the policy of the CIA to mislead the United States Congress.”

Schiff said that the “question of recourse [against the CIA] has come up actually a number of times — not just in this context.” But he said it’s “very difficult because for one thing you can’t publicly disclose the information and to actually bring perjury charges or bring an action under the National Security Act without making it public is probably not possible.”

The act provides little in the way of recourse, but the committee is seriously looking at revising the law so that there are ramifications for failing to brief Congress on critical intelligence matters, aides said.

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