Published June 18, 2009
The Senate on Wednesday night quietly passed a ban on the release of any photos that allegedly depict detainee abuse.
The measure, which was stripped at the last minute from the war supplemental spending bill in the face of anti-war Democratic opposition in the House, was approved as a stand-alone bill by voice vote.
Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., co-sponsors of the bill, had threatened to filibuster the war spending bill if they did not ultimately get a vote on their photo measure. With the supplemental heading back to the Senate after the House narrowly approved it Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., relented to Graham and Lieberman.
Graham, in a phone conversation with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, said it was clear that President Obama preferred to have congressional action stop the release of the photos -- as opposed to signing an executive order classifying the photos, a move that would surely inflame the left considering his campaign promises for more "sunlight" in Washington. Obama has publicly opposed the release of the photos.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently stayed its own ruling that the photos be released to the American Civil Liberties Union, which had filed a Freedom of Information Act request. The stay is pending a Supreme Court decision to hear the case.
Graham, a military lawyer, has said he does not think the government can win its case, absent congressional or executive action.
The Senate bill now heads to the House, where it once again faces the likelihood of Democratic opposition.