In the midst of a spirited defense of the Bush administration's intentions in developing interrogation techniques, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamCongress should pass the RAC Act to protect Dreamers Juan Williams: Trump morphs into Nixon This week: Congress awaits Comey testimony MORE (R-S.C.) dropped a phrase that liberals may seize upon.

The Bush administration did not commit any crimes, Graham said, but "they saw the law as a nicety we could not afford." That's a view that squares pretty well with liberals' view that the Bush administration circumvented the law to reach conclusions it desired.

Graham, who said he disagreed with the Bush administration's legal rationale for waterboarding, nevertheless accused Democrats of politicizing the interrogation debate and attempting to criminalize their policy differences with Bush officials.

"The difference between the nobility of the law and a political stunt may be soon evident one way or another," Graham said. "And I don't know if this [hearing] is actually pursuing the nobility of the law."

Here's a video of Graham's opening statement. The remarks in question occur at about 12:00.