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. James

    Cheney has an inflated ego and would rather see more Americans killed just so he could say "I told you so". He doesn't even care if it is domestic Terro , that's why he is out there doing his best to stir up the radicals.

    The Man needs to be in Prison for war crimes "PERIOD".

    June 15, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. La Chatte

    Why is Panetta back-pedalling? Dicko wants to be right (far right!) no matter what the consequences. The miserable old fart would no doubt rather have another attack than admit just how badly his ilk were trounced in the election or that he and the W administrattion screwed up so badly.

    So shut up, Darth, and crawl back under your rock!

    June 15, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. never mind

    ......Mmmm.....and every body looks the other way regarding the White Elephant in the room.....WHY did WTC 7 came down in 7 seconds without significant fire? Sooner or later there is goign to be a lawsuit expossing the real string pullers! .. and i know CNN won't publish this...

    June 15, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. jimji

    Listen, Bush was president and responsible when 9/11 happened. 9/11 happened on Bush and Cheney's watch. They are the ones that let us down. They are the ones that failed to protect us. Why would anyone take advise from Cheney on terrorism when he let the worst terrorist attack in history happen under his watch.

    June 15, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. Mercker

    I believe if you're and open minded logical thinker, then you can see that there will always be another attack. I'm more concerned about domestic American terrorist then other countries. There seems to be a lot of division and anger in this country. But either way it's going to happen, and Cheney is simply gearing up for his big comeback. Lets hope Cheney expires of old age before that attack happens. I don't think I could stomach his smug face gloating over an attack. An attack that will happen regardless of how many of our right are take away from the people for the illusion of safety...

    June 15, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. fed up

    Dicki Cheney is a traitor to America just like his parties leaders and spokesmen Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingridge. They all hope America fails to make their shameful past look better.

    June 15, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. JayG

    I think everybody who says that the Bush administration is wishing another attack is absolutley missing the point. If we were attacked again, then they would have been right! Why would you fault them for being right?? When they obviously weren't just saying things for the heck of it. If we were attacked again, why blame Cheney for wanting it to happen for "I told you so" purposes rather than blaming Obama for letting it happen???? Some people have their priorities mixed up, allowing another attack to happen is far worse then saying I told you so.

    June 15, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Andy in Texas

    I question Dick Cheney's motives all the time. He'd rather let American burn that face the fact that he's just so wrong.

    June 15, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. Jorge Rodriguez

    I believe that former VP Chaney is inviting our enemies to attack us by saying we are vulnerable to attack; he's deliberately putting a tempting idea into their minds so they will make an effort in attacking the US again. When you say we are vulnerable, you're saying to our enemies, our guard is down. The president should order the former VP to stop such comments or else!

    June 15, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. RH

    It's simply a question of whether you believe Cheney is more concerned with vindication of his viewpoint than ordinary Americans' safety. I know what I believe.

    June 15, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. Sandy Underpants

    Cheney really hasn't made any comments or suggestions, this year, that would actually help protect this nation. All he said was Obama is making this country more vulnerable to a terrorist attack and cited the release of the CIA memos that were ordered by a court to be released after the government lost a lawsuit. And Cheney defended the use of torture.

    If these are ideas or beliefs that you value then you really ought to move to the Middle East. Anywhere over there really, because those governments don't follow court orders, and believe in torture, actually now that I think about it, that's EXACTLY like the government Cheney represents. Enjoy.

    June 15, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. robert99

    We have been under terrorist attack since January of 2009.

    June 15, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Jack, Chicago

    CNN's continued placement of a headline suggested former Vice President Dick Cheney is "rooting" for another terrorist attack is reprehensible (we're looking at 24 hours now CNN.com editors). The CNN news outlet (if we can even still call it that) can be counted on to have one piece of anti-conservative commentary or Ticker "news" prominently displayed daily along with a puff piece about Obama or his family daily. Rarely can any investigative news reporting (Twitter wars with the host of Punk'd) or truly thought provoking commentary be found here (Cafferty anyone?). Unfortunately, both Fox News and MSNBC are equally reprehensible... No wonder people are getting their news from the blogs these days.

    June 15, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. Peggy - TX

    We do not know what former VP Cheney is thinking, but we do know he is a psychopath. We know he likely was involved in criminal activities and that there is an investigation going on that he would like to block as much a possible. We know that at this same relative point in time when he and Bush first took office that the 9/11 attacks did not yet occur, and that the Bush administration was asleep at the helm when it did occur. . Cheney is just simply an evil man and he has played the GOP like the fools they are.

    June 15, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. Diane Panama City Fl

    I truly believe the Neocon God, five-dererment Dickie, does absolutely want another attack on the US so he, and the rest of the Limbaughists, can say I told you so. These people do NOT care about the United States unless they are in charge. That's why they lie, smear and gin-up their moron-base to slander and insult the President and the "others" who don't buy their neoconning crap. If you want to know how the Limbaughists and the Christian Jihadists view the United States, just take a look at Iran and its most recent election, then compare it to how they stole the 2000 election and began dismantling our individual rights using 9-11 as their justification.

    June 15, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. JayG

    NEVERMIND: June 15th, 2009 4:56 pm ET

    ……Mmmm…..and every body looks the other way regarding the White Elephant in the room…..WHY did WTC 7 came down in 7 seconds without significant fire? Sooner or later there is goign to be a lawsuit expossing the real string pullers! .. and i know CNN won't publish this…

    You are an idiot if you believe stupid conspiracy B.S. Its funny that you would belive garbage like that but I'm sure you wouldnt have anything to say about ACORN.

    June 15, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. Think

    Republican Presidents Ronald Regan and George H.W. Bush and CIA supplied weapons to Taliban and other Muslim separatists to Disintegrate USSR in the 1980s and 1990s. These weapons were used in Bloodshed of thousands in Kazakhstan Tajikistan Uzbekistan Azerbaijan. So now Russia is supplying weapons to Al Quida to Attack US……………….
    Who is a bigger threat? Russia or these Small Countries?
    Dick Cheney is a Jerk. He cannot even hunt a Quail and needs more target practice and he is a horrible hunter. It is most unfortunate for our Country that we had a Idiot V.P. Dick Cheney and a Low I.Q. President George W. Bush.

    June 15, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. Jeffery

    "....show the ex-vice president "smells some blood in the water on the national security issue.""

    This is what war-monger's do. They like to ring the bell and cry the sky is falling. They like to keep people in fear so that their war machine dollars keep flowing in for their billion dollar buddies while lining their own bank accounts.

    June 15, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. ksmiller

    jimji – do you have any idea how much planning went on to make the tragedies of 9/11 happen – all of the planning and in-and-out of the country took place well before Bush and Cheney were in office. The reason why this planning was so easily done and we did not know about it is because we were too soft and wanted to do everything politically correct – our defenses were down big time during Clinton's administration. Well, guess what? We are back to being too soft and politically correct and that planning is all going to start up again and no one is going to notice – because that wouldn't be playing nice on the playground now, would it? Why do we want the planning to start up again – can you tell me that?

    June 15, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. Bubba

    Lee, the Bush administration ALSO protected us from polar bears, ferret flu, TWO alien invasions, a war with Canada, a mad scientist with a death ray, and an ice age. Of course none of these things happened, that's my point. Just like Clinton defeated the mole men from beneath the ground, just like GHW Bush kept us out of war with Elbonia, and just like Reagan barely managed to keep us out of El Salvador, every president keeps us safe from imaginary enemies. Look out, Lee, they're under your bed right now!
    Bill, I'll try your plan.

    June 15, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  21. Andy

    Of courser he does NOT.....he knows we have two donkeys running the nation. Iran and North Korea have already proved more than that group of mules can handle. The Lemmings will follow these jack-mules over the cliff.....Yeehaww....

    June 15, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. Glennis

    I do have some respect for Panetta and I'm disappointed with that statement. To give him the benefit of the doubt, I don't think he believes that; I think it was an offhand comment. Anyone who really believes that Cheney wants another attack just to prove a point has a serious problem with separating the hatred they're nurturing from reality and needs to seek help.

    June 15, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. Nick

    Of course Cheney and the neo-cons are hoping for an attack. It's the ONLY thing that may make people think fondly of the Bush Administration. Also, it is the ONLY thing that could save the sinking Republican Party. So, yes, all these "real Americans": Cheney, Limbaugh, Hannity, etc. are wishing for another terrorist attack. Period.

    June 15, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. opeluboy

    Of course he is. He's a war criminal.

    June 15, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. Joe the Troll

    If we were attacked today, Cheney would be the first on the air at Fox saying "I told you so."

    June 15, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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