Bob Graham appeared this morning on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show. In addition to repeating earlier reports that he was never briefed on waterboarding, Graham revealed that the first time he asked the CIA when he was briefed on torture, it claimed it had briefed him on two dates when no briefing took place.
I didn’t get Graham’s exact quotes (and the quotes below are rough approximations), but when asked to respond to Philip Zelikow’s assertion that members of Congress from both parties had been briefed on this program, Graham said that when he asked the CIA when he had been briefed on the program, the CIA gave him the dates of four briefings, two in April 2002 and two in September 2002, when they claimed they had briefed him about the program. But after Graham consulted his own records, he pointed out that on two of those dates, he had not attended any briefing. After Graham pointed this out to the CIA, they conceded their own dates were incorrect.
Graham then went on to repeat his claim that he had no recollection of being told about waterboarding Zubaydah or anything else about extreme interrogation.
In addition to repeating his earlier assertion that he would have remembered something that dramatic, Graham contextualized the briefing the CIA gave him–which occurred right in the middle of Graham’s complaints about the inaccuracy of the Iraq NIE (the briefing on September 27, 2002 would have shown up just a few days after the British released a White Paper on September 24, 2002 that publicized for the first time the yellocake claim).
Occurred in September 2002, right in the middle of the NIE on Iraq where I was at open war with the Administration where I was at war with the Administration on the inaccuracies of that NIE.
As Graham went on to point out, given the way the CIA was lying heavily to make the case for war against Iraq at the time, there’s no reason they should be trusted to tell the truth about the briefings they gave.
I’m a little surprised that Phil [Zelikow] would accept at face value on this subject when at the very same time they were telling us there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Finally, Graham suggested that by briefing just two intell leaders at a time, it prevented those attending the briefings from comparing notes about what was heard; Graham has never even compared notes with Pelosi about what she got briefed three weeks earlier than Graham in September 2002.
I was never in a briefing with House members. According to the CIA report, I was only at the September 27 meeting with one other senator, and surprisingly with two staff members, which would have been unusual.
The really damning thing, though, is the first point: CIA claimed Graham had been briefed on two days when no briefing occurred, which is not dissimilar from their claims that Jello Jay was briefed on February 4, 2003 when he didn’t attend the briefing in question.
The CIA is just making shit up about these briefings, even to the point of claiming there were briefings when none occurred. Can we set aside, now, the notion that the CIA’s own version of what it told Congress when has any credibility in the least?