June 15th, 2009
05:24 PM ET
5 years ago

CIA: Panetta doesn't believe Cheney rooting for terrorist attack

A CIA spokesman said Panetta does not believe Cheney is hoping for a terrorist attack.
A CIA spokesman said Panetta does not believe Cheney is hoping for a terrorist attack.

(CNN) – A CIA spokesman is sharply downplaying Director Leon Panetta 's recent comments that appear to question whether former Vice President Dick Cheney is hoping for another terrorist attack against the United States.

"The Director does not believe the former Vice President wants an attack," CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said in a statement to CNN. "He did not say that. He was simply expressing his profound disagreement with the assertion that President Obama's security policies have made our country less safe. Nor did he question anyone's motives."

The statement comes days after the New Yorker published an interview with Panetta during which he said Cheney's recent criticism 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."

Cheney's office released a terse statement from the vice president Monday responding to the comments, saying "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," Cheney said.

Vice President Joe Biden also appeared to distance himself from Panetta's comments Sunday, telling NBC "I don't question [Cheney's] motive."

– CNN's Pam Benson contributed to this report


Filed under: Dick Cheney • Leon Panetta • Popular Posts
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Who cares how the statement was interpreted. It's true. Cheney is hoping for an attack just so he can say "I told you so." Period!

    June 15, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Expat American

    To accuse Cheney of 'wishing' for another terrorist attack against the United States seemed a little much.

    However, this does not exclude the more fanatical and less educated of the Conservative and Christian Right Fringe who would happily welcome such a tragedy; for the sad fact that their global perspective is rooted in a simpleton high school football game mentality.

    June 15, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Neutralizer

    Mr. Paneta, that's what happen when MAINSTREAM MEDIA covering up for Obama will MISQUOTE you INTENTIONALLY. It's a shame sir, they even try to USE YOU for LYING to the American people.

    I question EVERYTHING US MEDIA reports, for validation I ALWAYS read news from other countries what they say about USA.

    US MEDIA ARE LIARS!!! ESPECIALLY MSNBC, CBS AND CNN!

    June 15, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. lefty loosy

    Bottom line , if we are attacked again , Obama and friends take the
    heat. Lets all be Bipartisan and pray to God it doesn't happen.

    June 15, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. robert

    we all know his an evil person.... i think this guy shuld go to jail for all his crimes.... GOP IS DONE!!!!

    June 15, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  6. Dawn in Pa

    good going Joe, but Panetta can't put the jeannie back into the bottle.

    June 15, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. Pee Wee

    Well, which is it?

    This is ridiculous. Panetta says he thinks Cheney is hoping for another attack, now he retracts that statement. Hopefully those in his charge at the CIA (field personnel) are a little less ambiguous in the conduct of their duties.

    The CIA chief has no business commenting on political stuff any way.

    He should just do his job and leave the grandstanding to Robert Gibbels.

    June 15, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Open Your 3rd Eye

    Can we PLEASE just keep it REAL?

    Yes, that is what Cheney would LOVE to happen just to prove his point.

    That's exactly what MOST Americans got from his recent parade of paranoid insults.

    JUST PROSECUTE THE MAN AND GET IT OVER WITH...PLEASE!

    June 15, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. Tim

    Never mind, Panetta is just blowing in the wind. Obama wants to bury the Chenney story, and what Obama wants, Panetta gives. Change you can believe in.

    It's ironic that they are afraid of Chenney. I wonder what is in the memos Obama refuses to release. I know what is in them, is there anyone else out there with any common sense?

    June 15, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. totally neutral

    Who is going to keep us safe from Dick Cheney?

    June 15, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. grandma

    Leon was right at first Dick realy wants to some thing happen so he and the rest of the poppet can say I said so

    June 15, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Ellen Scott

    Way to go, Mr. Panetta!! He said out loud what many have thought since January – that Cheney, Kimbaugh, etal. would be delighted for a terror attack. It's like that Al Pacino movie – let's manufacture a war. Good for Panetta!

    June 15, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. Independent_me

    I agree with Panetta – and so do most other people I know, both Republicans and Democrats. Panetta should not back-pedal on this one. The Democrats usually allow the Republicans bully them into back-tracking on the truth when they tell it. Cheney absolutely wants the US to be attacked. He wants Obama to fail, and he cannot wait for both to happen!

    June 15, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. LIP

    So, if we are to believe this then we must believe that the CNN reporter got the original story wrong and got everyone all unnecessarily heated up over nothing.
    Nice going CNN...can we expect to see any retractions by the far left liberal "hate Repub" bloggers? Not likely.

    June 15, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. Jefe

    I wouldn't think Cheney would be "rooting" for a terrorist attack either. I would guess he is helping to plan and fund a terrorist attack, to benefit his interests, at the expense of the American People. This is a "man" with no loyalty whatsoever to the United States of America. In fact, I would venture to say he is one of the most dangerous enemies our nation, and our Constitution, have ever faced. Dick Cheney should be designated an enemy combatant.

    June 15, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. Esco

    Fortunately, we the public understand your comment...its just the media thats scews it...unfortunately. Cheney needs to back off for a LONG while and find something he can use to help the people...

    June 15, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. Randy

    Dick Cheney is a Terrorist and a Supporter of Osama Bin Laden. Dick Cheney probably has a hand in 9/11 attack. Cheney should be Arrested.

    June 15, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. Gary

    This makes more sense. The CIA is correct, no body wants another attack on the US, especially not Cheney and definitely not President Obama. DIck Cheney is saying some controversial things and even though I do not always agree with him, I do think we need to have a discussion about how safe we are and how the policies of the Obama administration affect our safety. I would rather debate the issues (memos, photos, gitmo) rather than have us attack each other. Bringing these discussion up to the public is the right thing to do and we should be happy Cheney is doing it. Why isn't anyone else talking about this?

    June 15, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Panetta what gives..?

    Is he or isn't he Cheney rooting for an attack ? This comment from the Head of the CIA is so childish and unbecoming from a man in the
    position of trust....If this is what the Obama government is all about than the country is in deep problem...in all facets....Yes...

    June 15, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. phoenix86

    Panetta says he didn't say what he said. I don't know why liberals find this harder to believe than Obama's claim that you didn't see what you saw when he bowed to the Saudi king.

    June 15, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. chelle

    Oh for heaven's sake Americans will swallow so much baloney.

    1. Bush and Cheney didn't 'keep you safe" . September 11 was nine months into their term and they ignored warnings. Whether the planning happened during Clinton's term or not, the event happened well into the Bush Term.

    2. You weren't safe before 9/11 and you aren't safe now. Safety is relative – you are still more likely to die on the commute home and you get in your car everyday. The UK has been attacked, Spain has been attacked and as much as you may think Bush/Cheney stopped everything, I think you can safely assume if the terrorists want to they will hit the US. All you can hope is that the attacks will remain relatively small.

    June 15, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. Bill

    Arrest Dick Cheney.

    And Thereafter, There will be no Terrorist Attacks on us.

    This is for Sure. Anybody Wanna Bet !!

    June 15, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. Whip

    Wow your all trying to distance yourself form anyone saying this about Cheney?

    Your a bunch of whimps.
    Cheyney definately is hoping for a terrorist attack. That's all he can think about.
    Have you all not figured out that this guy is the devil

    June 15, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. Ruley Dudenheimer

    I think it's good that Cheney's opinion be made known. In fact hopefully W. also makes a comment that he's praying for terrorists to attack our country.

    The terrorists hate Bush and Cheney so much that they'd probably cancel any plans right now just to defy those two morons, hence making the world a safer place. Keep spouting your jealous rants Bush and Cheney, for once the terrorists winning will be a good thing!

    June 15, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. Stacey

    As ludicrous as the statement sounds, I can believe it. Everybody please remember that this is the traitorous jerk that wants Obama to fail.

    June 15, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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