Bob Graham, the Democratic former Florida senator, has said he has no memory of being told in a briefing about waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques, as a recently released CIA document indicates.
Graham told Greg Sargent this afternoon: “I do not have any recollection of being briefed on waterboarding or other forms of extraordinary interrogation techniques, or Abu Zubaydah being subjected to them.”
Graham denied being told about EITs, and argued that the presence of two staff members at the meeting (as indicated in the records) would have made it “highly unusual” for the briefers to divulge such sensitive info. “I don’t recall having had one of those kinds of briefings with staff present,” he said. “That would defeat the purpose of keeping a tight hold” on the info.
Graham’s claim would appear to cast further doubt on the accuracy of a CIA document released last week. The document indicates that Graham, at the time the chair of the Senate intelligence committee, attended a CIA briefing in September 2002, at which the use of harsh interrogation techniques on Zubaydah was discussed.
The document also indicates that a briefing a few weeks earlier for Nancy Pelosi, who was then the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, covered the same subjects. And that a top Pelosi aide was told in 2003 that torture had been used.
Republican have used the documents to attack Pelosi, who has said that she wasn’t briefed on the fact that the techniques had already been used.
CIA director Leon Panetta noted in a letter accompanying the document that it may not be entirely accurate.
We have our own call in to Graham and will let you know what we hear from him.