July 12th, 2009
12:50 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain: CIA secrecy story just beginning

Sen. McCain said Sunday that he expects more details to come out about reports of instructions from former Vice President Cheney to the CIA.
Sen. McCain said Sunday that he expects more details to come out about reports of instructions from former Vice President Cheney to the CIA.

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain thinks we haven't heard the last about allegations that former Vice President Dick Cheney ordered secrecy for a CIA surveillance operation after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"If I know Washington, this is the beginning of a pretty involved and detailed story," McCain said Sunday on the NBC program "Meet the Press."

According to a New York Times report, Cheney ordered the CIA to withhold information about the unspecified program from Congress.

CIA Director Leon Panetta told the House Intelligence Committee last month about the program, which he said had been shut down.

McCain said he knew little about the program and offered no details. He said he expected Cheney, who has yet to comment on the story, to speak up.

"The vice president should be heard from" about the accusations leveled against him, McCain said.

Related: Cheney and alleged secret CIA program 'a problem,' Senator says

However, McCain opposes a possible federal investigation into the Bush administration's authorization of harsh interrogation techniques including waterboarding. Weekend news reports said Attorney General Eric Holder is considering such a probe, which some Democrats favor even though President Barack Obama has withheld support.

McCain said a special investigation would only publicize "bad things" that harm America's image in the world.

"We all know that the operatives who did it, most likely, were under orders to do it," McCain said.

"Do we want America's image harmed by dragging this out further and further?" he continued, calling photos of prisoner abuse in Iraq the "greatest recruiting tool" for al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Related: Holder considers prosecutor to probe interrogations, source says

Filed under: CIA • Dick Cheney • John McCain • Popular Posts
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. palmpear

    Chris in SC, you idiot. Ever hear of the Mark Klein redact? Or how about operation Able Danger? Or maybe Echelon? We see you still have your head up your dark dank tube. How does it smell up there you jerk. Try using an internet search engine, if you are bright enough, nah your not.

    July 12, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. republicans hate america

    there is no difference between terrorist and the Rush Limbaugh Party

    July 12, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. John Murphy

    This has the look and feel of Tricky Dick and the conspiracy to hide Watergate and the Dirty Tricks Squad. They do what they want regardless of the cost. 4324 American dead in a war begun under false pretenses. There were no WMD's and no connection between Saddam and Al Quaeda, and this was the rationale for the war.

    July 12, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. TM

    To GI Joe

    Are you forgetting that Bush voided the ABM treaty without approval or authority from the Senate? Or is it OK for a president to do that if he's a Republican?

    July 12, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. John Murphy

    This has the look and feel of Tricky Dick and the conspiracy to hise Watergate and the Dirty Tricks Squad. Iraq was a war begun under false pretenses, no WMD and no link between Saddam and Al Quaeda. The blood of 4324 American dead is on the hands of GWB amd Cheney.

    July 12, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. David

    Re: "We all know that the operatives who did it, most likely, were under orders to do it".

    Surely John knows this is the exact argument from the Nazi side during the Nuremberg Trials, 1845 – 1946.

    The bottom line is that if we permit torture, then we become the enemy and are no more worth saving then anyone.

    July 12, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. Enough Already

    Once a registered and devout republican, it is the insidious schoolyard antics of the party and the blatant irresponsibility of the party, Mr. McCain, that has torn it all apart. Keep complaining and pointing fingers...but, curiously, tell us all how one can turn around the disaster created by the wonder boys over the prior eight years in seven months...

    Stay negative, screw the people, save your own...terrific leadership position.

    July 12, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Dee Texas

    The Bush Administration was covert after 9/11, and what concerns me is the lack of concern shown by most Republicans today. It seems like they follow blindly by not questioning any of the actions of the Bush years. What about Halliburton and all those no bid contracts and no accountability for the shoddy work perfromed, and the ousting of one of our CIA operatives? It is our duty to demand accountability of our leaders regardless of party. There is too much at stake in our world today to sit idle on the side lines of politics.

    July 12, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. billp

    It's truly terrifying for me to think how close we came to losing our way of life under the Cheney Administration. I feel it very likely if another major terrorist attack had occurred on his watch, he would have suspended the Constitution, turned this country into a dictatorship, and launched a war against the entire Muslim world.

    July 12, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. JohnNYC

    Here we go again, time to wag the dog, our economy is in the toilet and once again our politicians are using slight of hand to keep the public's focus off their failures. Happened with Bush/Cheney, now its the democrats turn.

    July 12, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Tatianna

    Intell officials said the program never became operational and did not involve CIA interrogation programs or domestic activities. If this is illegal and dems want to hold Bush and Cheney, then they should also hold each and every CIA official responsible. The only people who benefit from this action are our foreign enemies like AQ and dem party. If Team Obama agrees to any form of show trial, he and and his own party will live to regret it. 9/11 was the last attack on our soil. Bush either did something wrong or he did something right.

    July 12, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. gl, Pittsburgh

    The longer President Obama and his Administration ignore Cheney and Bush Administration crimicail activitis the longer we have to hear a but it. It is time look into this matter now.

    July 12, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. ted

    That's it – keep talking about what Bush did. Keep on talking while this economy is falling and will keep on falling. 9.5% unemployment – no – let's talk about the Bush administration. This Stim. package isn't working and Obama PROMISED to hold unemployment under 8.5%.

    Sure guys – let's keep on talking about Bush & Cheney. Screw the economy.

    July 12, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Susan (Michigan)

    memo to John McCain: Bush already tarnished America's image badly. The truth must be told, painful as it will be to hear. These people must be held accountable, or our Constitution is really as worthless as they tried to make it by their Executive Power abuses. And John, you were in the Senate the whole time. What did you know and when?

    July 12, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. another george

    When you don't want to listen to him, you can't shut him up. When you need to hear an explanation, you can't find him. He's probably out hunting with his friends.

    July 12, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. Susan (Michigan)

    Matthew Dougherty July 12th, 2009 12:34 pm ET

    The American public permitted or looked the other way for eight years."

    I disagree...Olbermann was reporting nightly on the sins of the Bush administration. MANY of us were writing to our legislators and newspapers about torture, wire taps and worse, and abuses of power. We were ignored because Pelosi knows too much and was afraid for her job. Now is the time to get it all out there.

    July 12, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. Cali J

    Unemployment over 9% (Michigan may hit 20%)
    Foreclosures at all time high.
    Food banks and State Aide fading fast.
    The worst is yet to come according to Obama. Years, not months.
    Millions of babies aborted yearly. Iran and NK threatening to use Nukes.
    Afghanistan just begining to escalate. 4 more soldiers died today. Eight Brits in the last 24 hours.
    Small and Private business and large Corporations leaving the country and it's jobs behind for friendlier places to do business.
    Spending by our Government never been higher or more wasteful.
    And you lefties are more bent on trying to get Cheney for doing something he thought would protect your sorry and worthless asses.
    What planet did Liberals come from?

    July 12, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. Audrey Fryer

    I notice a lot of comments referring to Palin as Dick Cheney's confidante. Please bear in mind that Dick Cheney was also the mastermind and confidante of G.W. Bush – he wants ignorant and clueless people in power so he (Cheney) and his cohorts can tell these people what they are going to do. Cheney and his ilk have been working behind the scenes for over 30 years in the Government, plotting and plotting until they got the right "President" in power. You can rest be assured that he and his minions are still plotting. They are the ones manipulating the media to destroy Mr. Obama and they are manipulating the Sarah Palin story – agenda my friends, agenda.

    July 12, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Pepper from CA

    This is sad that McCain would say: "a special investigation would only publicize "bad things" that harm America's image in the world." Yes is would show that the word the bad things America has done but in doing that we show we hold accountable those that do those things. Therefore you show the world we know we are not above the law and bring to trial those who do such things. Even if it may be the Vice President of the United States. No one is about the law... no one!

    July 12, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. B.H.

    I think Mr. McCain knows a good deal more than he is letting on.

    July 12, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. micala

    Bush was just as much at fault as cheney if not more so... Bush never should have had a second term... I believe america chose the lesser evil, than an unfamilliar one. in our eyes it is easier to deal with one we already know, than to chose another we dont know... Everything that man did after 9-11 is up for speculation they should both have to answer for what was hidden from us and lyed to the world and their own country.

    July 12, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. B.H.

    To G.I Joe: So we continue to do and act the same way that we have in the past and allow weapon races forever until what?
    Oblivion !


    July 12, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. chuck in tampa bay

    GI JOE,I agree with some and disagree with most BUT
    you say over and over to get off the blog and write your elected officials
    for that sir my hat is off to you.
    I also demand an investigation,i don't care if there are areas of discussion that have to go behind closed doors as long as we get an investigation.I still hear about Pelosi lying about our CIA even though that's been disproved,I am not a pelosi fan but why would an entire network continue with this lie?

    July 12, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Hawk, Texas

    Arent they supposed to hang traitors? that would mean all of bush's cabinet. and their lawyers. plus the republicans in office.

    July 12, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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