Cheney is Right to Call for Release of CIA Reports on Effectiveness of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, Says Former Democratic Senate Intelligence Chairman
His comments were made at the Heritage Foundation where he appeared on a panel with former GOP Senator Jim Talent (R-Mo.), discussing the findings of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, on which Graham and Talent served.
Earlier this year, Cheney asked the National Archives to release to CIA reports that document the effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation techniques that the CIA used on some terrorist detainees. Graham said he agrees with Cheney that those documents should be made public.
CNSNews.com asked Senator Graham the following: “Senator Graham, after 9/11 you warned the country that another terrorist attack was ‘probable,’ partially because there were at the time as many as 100 Al Qaeda sleepers in the United States. Why do you think President Bush was able to succeed in stopping attacks? Was it the warrant-less wire-tapping program, or another area of his national security policy?”
Graham said: “Well, I think it’s going to take a look at the passage of history to try and look back and see what were the factors that contributed to that. As I said, we’ve been running a 10-second, 100-yard dash. We’ve done a lot of things in the United States for which I think the Bush administration can openly take credit. I think many of those are being continued by the Obama administration.
“I think we didn’t have the reality that the main thing Al Qaeda wants to do is to kill Americans. And we’ve provided them with a shooting gallery in Iraq to carry out their mission. And so, we were filling their desires in a more vulnerable location than launching another major attack against the United States.
“I personally agree with one thing that Vice President Cheney has said, that some of these reports, which might give us a better idea as to whether these various strategies that were used were efficacious, should be made available to the public so they can be part of the overall consideration of what were the factors that have avoided a follow-up terrorist attack after 9/11.”
When asked if he thinks the changes that President Obama has made to President Bush’s national security policy have made America less safe or more safe, Graham said Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world has helped make America safer.
“I think the decision to put more emphasis on Pakistan, particularly the non-military aspects of Pakistan, is very important,” said Graham. “That is the country which is the epicenter of all things that could lead to terrorists gaining access to a weapon of mass destruction.”
“I think also that President Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world – his speech in Turkey and more recently in Egypt – have been very well received and have been creating an environment in which we will have more ability to positively influence those societies,” said Graham. “So, I am encouraged with the first six months of the Obama administration in terms of its outreach to the world and our security as a result of that.”
Graham also offered advice to President Obama on national security policy.
“Well, don’t allow the fact that we haven’t been attacked to become a sedative that we’re invulnerable,” said Graham. “That’s not the case. In fact, our commission found that we are more vulnerable to an attack today than we were prior to 9/11.”
“I would say to the president, ‘Put somebody of importance in charge of this program, give them some marching orders -- particularly to take the steps that we need to do to give greater security to the threat of biological attacks -- and to continue to build our positive relations with the other countries which have, in the past, been the principle source of radical terrorism,’” said Graham.
(CNSNews.com Correspondent Bridget Miller contributed to this report.)