Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and Representatives Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Heath Shuler (D-NC) today applauded the action of the conferees on the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill to give the Secretary of Defense the ability to protect American troops and civilians by preventing the release of photos of past abuse of detainees in U.S. custody. The Senate unanimously passed this legislation, which was introduced by Senators Lieberman and Graham, as an amendment to the Senate's Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, and Representatives Conaway and Shuler have sponsored similar legislation in the House. The sponsors thanked the conferees for including this vital measure in the conference report:
"I'm pleased Congress has finally acted to prevent the further release of photos showing detainee abuse," said Graham. "I hope the courts will give deference to the Executive and Legislative branches who now speak with one voice prohibiting the photos release. From the beginning I have said these photos do not add anything new. The release of these photos would be used by our enemies to incite violence against our soldiers and civilians serving abroad. I appreciate the President's decision to oppose the photos release and thank the White House for working with us to pass this important provision."
"I thank the House and Senate conferees for taking this step that is necessary to protect the men and women of our military who go into in harm's way to defend our security and liberty," said Lieberman. "The President has expressed his strong support for this legislation, and with its inclusion in the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, I am looking forward to its swift passage by the House and Senate and signature by the President."
"I am pleased that Congress has taken the measure to prevent the detainee photos from being released to protect our troops and increase the safety of American citizens. The very fact that we could put Americans all over the world, especially our men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, in dangerous scenarios is reason enough to make sure this bill becomes law. This bill is imperative to the safety of our troops and our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I applaud Senators Graham and Lieberman for their leadership and urge quick passage in the House and Senate and a swift signature by the President."
"President Obama opposes the release of these photos because it would endanger our troops, and I stand fully behind him," said Shuler. "Generals and military experts warn that the release of these photos would fan the hatred of extremist groups at a time when tensions already run high in the Middle East. We don't want to provide recruitment tools to al-Qaeda."