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Tipsheet

'If They Could Kill Us All, They Would': Lindsey Graham Torches Dems Trying to End Drone Program

AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool

In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday morning, Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) brought witnesses to argue for restrictions on the United States military's drone program — but Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) didn't let the biased witnesses go untested on their points, nor did he let Durbin off easy for choosing to convene a hearing titled "'Targeted Killing' and the Rule of Law: The Legal and Human Costs of 20 Years of U.S. Drone Strikes" while other Biden crises rage unchecked.

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"I can't believe we're talking about this," Graham declared. "You've got a witness that can't answer the question: 'Would Al Qaeda and ISIS strike the American people if they could?' Of course they would. Afghanistan is a breeding ground for another attack on our country. The border is broken. As much as I respect the Chairman, I can't believe we're focusing on closing Gitmo at a time when international terrorism is getting stronger," Graham said criticizing Durbin and Democrats' priorities."We're now talking about neutering the drone program at a time we need it the most."

"Secretary Mayorkas gave himself an 'A' for effort when it comes to securing the border — I'll give him an 'F' for results. It's just a matter of time until some terrorist group — probably from Afghanistan, maybe from Syria, maybe from Africa, maybe from Somalia — works its way through our southern border to kill a bunch of us," Graham added of just one aspect of the threat to America posed by Biden's open-border policies.

"This committee seems not to get where we're at Mr. Chairman. America's threat from radical Islam has gone up, not down. Our policies at containing the threat are not working. Afghanistan is a breeding ground for terrorism as I speak. Everybody that we work with is being slaughtered, and we want to talk about limiting, closing Gitmo and restricting the drone program? You're living in a world that doesn't exist," said Graham slamming Democrats' attitude toward the military's drone program. 

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"I think the Biden administration is sitting on its ass while the border is completely broken. People are flowing through by the hundreds of thousands and Afghanistan is hell on earth, and they're not doing a damn thing about it. So I wish we could have a hearing about the threat America faces from a broken border and our debacle in Afghanistan and what that means for our future security. It's just not if we're going to be attacked, it's when, and how much damage will be done," Graham warned.

"Is America at war?" Graham asked witness John Jumper, a retired general and former Air Force chief of staff.

"To the American servicemen, sir, we've been at war for a long time," Jumper replied.

"Who are we at war with?" Graham probed. 

"We're fighting an enemy out there who's determined to kill us," Jumper said vaguely.

"Who are they?" Graham replied pushing for specifics. "Al Qaeda? Is that an enemy of the American people?" he asked. 

"ISIS and Al Qaeda, continue to be..." Jumper responded before Graham moved on to another witness, ACLU National Security Project Director Hina Shamsi. "Do you agree, or do you believe, that if Al Qaeda and ISIS could attack the American homeland they would?" Graham asked. 

"I think what's important is..." Shamsi began before Graham interjected.

"No, what's important is you answer the question first then give an explanation," Graham said. "It's a simple question. Do you believe if Al Qaeda and ISIS had the ability — they have the desire I think — if they had the ability they would strike America today or tomorrow if they could?"

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"The reason that I'm having a hard time answering that with a yes or no answer is because..." Shamsi said attempting to squirm out of providing an answer.

"That's all I need to know because nobody in the world should have a hard time answering that yes-or-no," Graham said. "If you can't answer that yes-or-no, you have no idea what you're talking about. You're living in a dream world because I can tell you right now ma'am, if they could kill us all they would. The only reason 3,000 Americans died on 9/11 is they couldn't find a way to kill 3 million of us," Graham said of the terrorist attack of two decades ago. "If they could find a way to kill 3 million of us, they would do it," he added.

Turning to the next witness, Graham asked former State Department Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinaator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales whether Al Qaeda and ISIS still want to attack Americans.

"The intention to strike the homeland, to strike us around the world, is still very present," Sales said.

"Would you say their ability to plan an attack in Afghanistan against the American people has gone up since our withdrawal?" Graham asked of Biden's disastrous withdrawal from the country.

"Senator, I'm sorry to agree with you that it has gone up, Sales admitted. "We don't have the intelligence collection capabilities to know what our enemies are doing in Afghanistan, nor do we have strike assets that can take action when necessary."

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"Has the drone program prevented pilots from being put at risk?" Graham asked turning back to Jumper. 

"It's not the main point sir, but the answer is yes," Jumper answered. 

"The drone program, has it been an effective tool in terms of killing terrorists?" Graham probed. 

"Very effective sir," Jumper replied. 

"Has it killed civilians?" Graham asked.

"It has sir," Jumper replied. 

"Name any weapon system that hasn't killed civilians, name any war that civilians haven't been killed in operations," Graham asked rhetorically to highlight the fact that civilian casualties are not unique to America's drone program. 

Watch Graham's full line of questioning below:


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