Lindsey Graham Predicts Successful Terrorist Attack Followed by Harsh Resolution of Gitmo

Josh Gerstein provides Lindsey Graham a soap box to complain that his efforts to craft a grand compromise with the Administration on Gitmo stalled in May.

“I thought we were close to getting a deal,” Graham told POLITICO last week. “I had some meetings where I walked out of the White House and said, ‘This is great.’ These were better meetings than I ever had with the Bush administration.”

But sometime around May, according to Graham, the line of communication with the White House shut down.

“It went completely dead,” Graham said. “Like it got hit by a Predator drone.”

The article as a whole suggests that Administration was fairly close to a deal, though even that deal was threatened by Graham’s inability to bring a number of Republicans along on the compromise as a whole, rather than a series of solutions. Efforts to craft a deal intensified following the Faisal Shahzad attempted Times Square bombing. Gerstein suggests that Eric Holder’s big appearance on the Sunday shows on May 9–to entertain thoughts of a Miranda compromise–was a sign of how close the Administration and Graham were to a deal.

“We had a great discussion on Miranda warning reform,” Graham recalled about an evening session with Bauer and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “I spent three hours down at the White House — it was probably the best meeting I’ve ever been in — where we game-planned this. … I left the meeting thinking we’re going to get a statute.”

Indeed, on May 9, Attorney General Eric Holder publicly embraced the idea on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Calling Miranda-related legislation a “new priority,” he declared: “This is a proposal that we’re going to be making.”

And then the efforts to craft a compromise died (and, as a result, Miranda remains intact). Gerstein suggests Graham’s flip-flopping on other key legislation made it clear that Graham was not an honest broker.

Graham also may have lost credibility with the administration after he lashed out at the White House in disputes over the health care bill, climate legislation and immigration reform.

The timing certainly makes sense. During the last week of April, Graham threatened to kill the climate change bill he was crafting with the Administration as a way of keeping immigration reform from coming to a vote. By early June, he was promising to vote against any energy or climate bill. So the collapse of the grand “bargain” on Gitmo may have as much to do with Graham’s apparently successful effort to prevent Democrats from focusing on the legislative goals of a key constituency. And that may be why the electoral calendar is cited for killing the compromise as much as anything else: Graham’s yoking of immigration and climate change to Gitmo.

But I also wonder whether the Administration got a sense of just how bad Graham’s “compromise” really was. Negotiations on the grand compromise seem to have been at their height just as DOD was kicking four reporters out of Gitmo for making clear what was already in the public domain: that the interrogator who threatened a child with rape and possibly death in US prisons is the same guy who was convicted in relation to the death of another detainee. Since then (in July), Omar Khadr fired the lawyers who were crafting a plea deal, thus closing off one of the most palatable ways for the Administration to avoid making Khadr the poster child for America’s continued abuse of power at Gitmo.

I also suspect the nomination of Elena Kagan on May 10 may have played a part in the timing, not least because no Republicans would be willing to make a deal against the background of a SCOTUS nomination.

As it is, Graham seems to be using Gerstein’s article to issue two threats: first, that he will push for his own legislation in the next Congress, presumably with the votes of a few teabaggers to help him. And, his implicit threat that there will be another terrorist attack after which any decisions on Gitmo will be far worse than the policies being discussed now.

“There’s going to be an attack. That’s going to be the impetus. That’s going to be what it takes to get Congress and the administration talking; we have to get hit again,” the senator said, suggesting that passing a bill before that happens might be more reasonable than what would come afterward.

“If there is a successful attack, there is going to be a real violent reaction in the Congress, where we will react more emotionally than thoughtfully,” Graham said.

Let it be remembered–for the day when we’ve completely capitulated to those who want to use the threat of terrorism to establish a police state–that Lindsey Graham planned for it to happen.

  1. BoxTurtle says:

    that the interrogator who threatened a child with rape and possibly death in US prisons is the same guy who was convicted in relation to the death of another detainee.

    You forgot to mention that his name is Joshua Claus.

    And I think we’re better off without any Miranda “compromise” that Graham may be involved in, especially if he’s worked it out with ObamaLLP.

    Boxturtle (Whom is less credible, Graham or ObamaLLP? Justify your answer!)

    • DWBartoo says:

      Hmmm, “less credible” …?

      Since both “parties” want the same thing, does it really matter, BoxTurtle?

      Especially as it “all” will “be remembered”, not as EW suggests it should, but rather, most glowingly, in the “Official Sunstein History of America”, under the chapter heading, “America; Empire at It’s Best, The Bipartisan Age”.


  2. RevBev says:

    Announcing a successful attack may be tantamount to shouting fire in crowded theatre…wreckless to be sure since it is mere hyperbole. Shameful.

    • PJEvans says:

      He might be helping to plan it.
      No, I wouldn’t put it past them; they’re the ones that started a war based on lies.

    • onitgoes says:

      ROTFLOL!!! High five: hilarious. No s**t! I would just add: is it women who lack the depth perception?? Or perhaps it is the opposite gender?

  3. trademarkdave says:

    You can bet President Graham was wanking away with all his might when he talked about the coming “attack”…

  4. nomolos says:

    Let it be remembered–for the day when we’ve completely capitulated to those who want to use the threat of terrorism to establish a police state–that Lindsey Graham planned for it to happen.

    It has been successful up till now so why not continue? And for those who still believe that the previous administration had nothing to do with 9/11 think again.

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    It was more of a thought exercise.

    You’re correct, both parties want to eliminate miranda as far as admissable evidence is concerned. And as far as providing a lawyer is concerned.

    You have the right to remain silent, but if you do we’ll dump you into a black hole and use more enhanced questioning techniques.

    You have the right to speak with an attorney, as long as we select the lawyer and everything you say to him is admissable.

    You have the right to have the attorney present during questioning, except when enhanced techniques are used or you’re in a classified black hole.

    If you cannot afford one, an attorney will be appointed for you unless you’re on the terrorist hot list which means it’s illegal for anyone to help you in any way.

    Boxturtle (And the above right do not apply to Moslems, Mexicans or any other Scary Brown People)

    • DWBartoo says:

      Both parties want “secret” laws and the power to kill any one, anytime, and anywhere – as The Great American Decider One determines, completely without all of those legal niceties you’ve enumerated as being on their “want” (and going to have … already do have, considering the current condition of the rule of law and the willingness of the judicial “branch” to “go along” …) list.

      Those “rights” you catalog, so ably and well, BoxTurtle, are simply dangled before our patriotic eyes to make us aware and feel “good”, because truly “good” (properly complected, “properly” believing) little American patriots will never, ever, need to fear … that THEY will face such “justice” as the despicable “parentheticals” you’ve thoughtfully (and correctly)enclosed.

      Un-imaginable as it is, one cannot help but wonder what nature “justice” might be wrapped with when, someday, impossible as it is to consider, SOMEONE or SOMEBODY else metes out ITS dictates and judgments.

      That will, of course, be long after the “parties” playing with “justice” today, have gone to their just rewards, after long, lucrative, and luxurious lives …

      BTW, the “long arm of the law” and the “unseen hand” have joined forces, together, had their way with lady justice, given the rest of us the finger, and determined that “they’ can do whatever they want to, and, until someone or something “bigger” comes along, “they” are gonna be “making” history (and “reality”) as well as determining just what, precisely, “history” and “justice” will be. How much “thought” will be exercised in such “determinations”, remains to be seen …

      Are we having fun yet?

      Somebody must be …


      • bobschacht says:

        Are we having fun yet?

        Actually, the dreary cynicism of the Wheel House lately has been getting me down, except for EW’s hopeful piece on the Warren appointment.

        Just a warning from one who’s been there: Cynicism will not make you happy.

        Bob in AZ

  6. Mary says:

    Pretty damn rich. There was an attack and Congress, as Graham now backhandedly admits, reacted more emotionally than thoughtfully.

    Now he wants to take that overwrought, overemotional, poorly thought through but loudly praised by Congresscritters in the press for a decade now,responseand make it MORE overdone so that “when” the next attack hits, there won’t be any further for an overwrought, overemotional Congress to go.

    IOW, what he’s done is make a strong argument for things to be pushed back into the rule of law territory as far as possible now, bc if/when the next attack comes, Congress will be seeking to act aggressively against the Constitution. NO matter what you’ve given up by then, they’ll want to take more.

    Basically, he’s saying that we are one attack away from our Congress becoming a Confederate Congress, revoking the States compact and de facto seceeding from Constitional government.

    I’m guessing the upcoming elections will see both Dems and Republicans nipping into Cornerstone speech territory, ready to share their “great truth” about Muslims.

    • brendanx says:

      Thanks for the little history lesson with that great link.

      Though it has nothing to do with the civil liberties this thread is concerned with I found this part of the speech more relevant and disturbing than the sideshow of Muslim-baiting:

      The longest portion of the speech outlined how this constitution eliminated the tariff and prohibited the central government from spending on internal improvements. The reasoning was on a States Rights argument with the Georgia Railroad as a first example:

      …What justice was there in taking this money, which our people paid into the common treasury on the importation of our iron, and applying it to the improvement of rivers and harbors elsewhere? … If Charleston harbor needs improvement, let the commerce of Charleston bear the burden. If the mouth of the Savannah river has to be cleared out, let the sea-going navigation which is benefited by it, bear the burden.

      Stephens believed that the new country would have a clear delineation between federal and state responsibilities, and took the position similar to that of South Carolina during the nullification crisis that the federal government should not pay for internal improvements.

  7. Mary says:

    Related – great piece by Erica Payne at Huffpo, via Spencer here.

    So since you can’t destroy the land that is America; in order to destroy us, you must kill the idea that is America – the principles that brought us together in the first place and that bind us now, even when we fall short of realizing them. Our worst enemies don’t want our body. They want our soul.

    Really good piece – read the whole thing.

    • klynn says:

      Thank you for the link.

      Our worst enemies don’t want our body. They want our soul.

      My father said this after 9-11. He made the added point that 9-11 was about stealing democracy through fear and then destroying personal freedoms through the appearance of carrying out justice.

  8. fatster says:

    Lindsey is quite p.o.’d. The WH asked him to the dance, he relied upon his best Southern congeniality skills–and then nobody danced with him. Threatening another attack definitely compensates for that snub.

  9. willaimbennet says:

    I think Lindsay Grahamhan might have been confused from the jump on the WH Miranda meetings. Rahm and Eric prolly thought he was just milking the terror tit and that the rollback would include only “terror events,” and “enemy belligerents,” but then Linsey was all “No, no we gotta dump it entirely. murderers are walking free on liberal technicalities.”
    then they shake hands and graham the cracker leaves. then eric goes to rahm- “jesus, this guy’s got a bigger dirty harry hard on than justice roberts!”
    what is shoplifting after all, if not a form of terrorism where Target is the high-value target.

  10. parsnip says:

    In reply to Mary @13:

    Basically, he’s saying that we are one attack away from our Congress becoming a Confederate Congress, revoking the States compact and de facto seceeding from Constitional government.

    I wonder about the possibility that COG may explain a lot of what doesn’t make sense about our government’s behavior, and this is especially salient in the response to the oil spew in the Gulf of Mexico. The fracking surveillance (referring to those who dissent as ‘jihadists’ in official government reports) makes this plain, as well.

    I find Graham’s remarks telegraphing an end to the charade that has concealed the probable fact that COG has been in force, and selectively enforced, since 9/11, and that when the GOP is once again in the majority and in the WH, the pretense of still governing under a (shredded) Constitution will be shed, and the gloves of aggressive, rapacious corporate rule will come off.

  11. tjbs says:

    “It went completely dead,” Graham said. “Like it got hit by a Predator drone.

    I hate vile, disgusting, hateful war mongers like this POS, graham.

    Predator drones are something to make light of you inhumane piece of shit. Not fucking funny, while we wipe out families at weddings killing more innocents than SUSPECTS with our drones carrying out targeted assassinations. Not laughing at your sick demented humor.

  12. JohnLopresti says:

    Senator LGraham has endured other setbacks from his politically immersed agenda; for example, a 2005 adjudication, which perhaps a due dilligence survey beforehand might have found to present a conflict, and kept him prudently out of the fray; case opinion casting sen LGraham out of the proceeding (31pp).

    There are two commentaries on sen LGraham*s efforts to over-stultify habeas: recently an essay from habeas expert prof Vladeck, which provides evaluation of sen LGraham*s S.3707. ProfVladeck affords an interesting link to a 1973 case opinion by Scotus* justice Brennan in re Hensley v Municipal Court there, wherein Brennan describes the spectrum of utility habeas provides. Vladeck contrasts Brennan*s generous interpretation of US habeas with LGraham*s efforts to gum the habeas works. The other item which I discovered in the archive was an ancient (2005) review of sen LGraham*s teleologies in the development of the text of DTA, from prof MCDorf.

  13. onitgoes says:

    I saw Bill Maher being interviewed last night by Larry King, which for once was worth watching. Broadly paraphrased, Maher made an excellent point. Maher said words to the effect: in the past, we had 2 super powers with nuclear weapons poised to explode them, possibly ending life as we know it. That threat has mostly been overcome and is gone.

    As terrible as 9/11 was, it’s *nothing* in comparison to nuclear annhilation. KSM basically put together 9/11, and he’s in Gitmo (for better or worse). Al Qaeda is a small, dispersed group.

    We *need to learn to live credibly* with the threat of terrorism, which will always be with us, as they do in other nations.

    Corrupt individuals, like Graham, make money off of the MIC and push junk like this to enrich themselves at the expense of what the USA once stood for but does no longer.

  14. powwow says:

    Let it be remembered–for the day when we’ve completely capitulated to those who want to use the threat of terrorism to establish a police state–that Lindsey Graham planned for it to happen.

    Very well said, emptywheel.

    There is zero excuse for an uncontrolled “emotional” reaction by Graham, or by any other legislator, as an official response to any future terrorist attacks in this nation, if they can foresee that eventuality today, and thus can mentally and organizationally prepare to prevent any such ill-considered overreaction. Just as there is zero justification for pretending that such an unrealized future response should prompt an ill-considered legislative overreaction today, in the absence of any genuine need or Constitutional flaw that belated enforcement of existing law wouldn’t cure.

    It is, to say the least, as Mary indicates @ 13, the height of irresponsibility (not to mention a form of blackmail, as Graham is using the potential future failure of our obscenely-overfunded defense infrastructure) to plan or promise to throw reason and Constitutional government overboard at the slightest future opportunity. If terrorist attacks panic Lindsey Graham and other incumbents in Congress, and they know it now, they owe it to the American people to exit public office ASAP, and let those who can remain calm in a crisis take their places.

    The reach of the megaphones that the powerful and corporate-underwritten (think tankers, national media) or corporate-retained (federal legislators) have available to shout down the truth, and to mislead and distract the masses in this nation, is overwhelming and insidious – and yet still those enemies of democratic self-government can’t do more [this link is related to the battle portrayed in Mary’s excerpt @ 15, with David Frakt confronting two of the worst of those whom Erica Payne references] than to sway the self-serving establishment types to their cause.

    I notice that C-SPAN too is using its powerful share of that corporate-funded megaphone to solicitously cover Lindsey Graham’s latest utterances – promoting their taping and broadcast today of a Graham rally at the corporate-funded American Enterprise Institute. That appearance is part of the American Idea Destroyer Group’s promotional tour in support of its latest group-effort pending bill:

    As I explain in more detail below the fold, in addition to my original observations from last week, the detention authority provided by the Graham bill would dramatically expand existing U.S. law in two other respects: allowing for the stateside [extrajudicial] detention of U.S. citizens, and focusing on “material support” as a basis for [such] detention.


    Although the Graham bill borrows the critical detention authority language (new 28 U.S.C. § 2256(a)(6)) almost verbatim from the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (see 10 U.S.C. § 948a(7)), there is one vital difference: Whereas the MCA authorizes military commissions only for “alien unprivileged enemy belligerents,” the Graham bill authorizes detention of “unprivileged enemy belligerents,” regardless of their citizenship. Thus, the Graham bill would almost certainly apply to U.S. citizens, and it would also likely satisfy the Non-Detention Act, 18 U.S.C. § 4001(a), which provides that “[n]o citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress.” Moreover, because the bill incorporates no limits on where detention can occur, it would also likely authorize the detention of U.S. citizens who satisfy the substantive detention criteria even if they are initially arrested within the United States.


    As a result, today it is unclear—at best—whether the AUMF would allow the United States to detain without charges a U.S. citizen captured within the territorial United States. The Graham bill–to the extent that it constitutionally could–would change that.


    There’s certainly a lot of disagreement over just how far IHL [the law of war] goes in defining belligerency, especially in a non-international armed conflict, but the provision of “material support,” without more, goes well past any recognized precedent, decoupling detention authority from any meaningful requirement of active participation in hostilities. In this sense, then, the Graham bill would provide detention authority that fundamentally transcends not just the limits of international humanitarian law [the law of war], but its analytical underpinnings.

    – Posted by Steve Vladeck on September 19, 2010 at 11:10 AM

  15. whattheincorporated says:

    Ohhh no did poor lindsey’s feelings get hurt?

    We were soooo close to a compromise…where we had to gut miranda to keep gitmo intact just in a different base. We lost soooooo much progress by killing these ridiculous negotiations that would probably end in Gitmo staying in the same place but giving miranda up anyway.