(2:00 p.m. ET update with Cheney response)
(CNN) - Dick Cheney's recent criticism of the Obama administration's national security policies suggests the former vice president is almost "wishing" the United States gets hit with another terrorist attack, according to CIA Director Leon Panetta.
During an interview in the current issue of the New Yorker, Panetta says Cheney's wide range of recent criticisms of Obama - including the decision to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba - show the ex-vice president "smells some blood in the water on the national security issue."
"It's almost, a little bit, gallows politics," said Panetta. "When you read behind it, it's almost as if he's wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point."
Asked about Panetta's comments during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden said he would refrain from questioning his predecessor's motives.
"I think Dick Cheney's judgment about how to secure America is faulty," Biden said. "I think our judgment is correct. I don't question his motive."
But Panetta, the former White House chief of staff under President Clinton, also said in the New Yorker interview it was "dangerous politics" for Cheney to repeatedly insist President Obama has made the country less safe.
Among Cheney's criticism is Obama's decision to cease the CIA's use of enhance interrogation techniques to extract information from terrorist suspects - a practice the former vice president says yielded information that prevented massive terrorist attacks, though he says security reasons prevent him from revealing specifically to which incidents he is referring.
Panetta said he supports the president's decision and, like Obama, does not think CIA agents who engaged in the techniques under President Bush should be prosecuted.
"I'm going to give people the benefit of the doubt," he said. "If they do the job that they're paid to do, I can't ask for a hell of a lot more."
UPDATE: In a statement provided to CNN, Cheney said, "I hope my old friend Leon was misquoted."
"The important thing is whether or not the Obama Administration will continue the policies that have kept us safe for the last 8 years."