July 12th, 2009
12:50 PM ET
9 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. Marie

    Hey mccary and dick vader – both of you need to shut up. You and your cronies continue to blame everything on President Obama, but where were you in the last eight years when your party was running the country into the ground?
    mccain was on Meet the Press this morning. He is a liar and needs to come clean about his choice of vp in 2008. He will "not endorse her because she is not running". Really? Maybe it's because her hate and lies cost you the election?
    The people in AZ need to wake up and get rid of him in the next election. This man picked that woman because they are both nuts and full of themselves.

    July 12, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. buckwheat

    If Bush and Cheny were liars does it mean we have truth in the White House now? CZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZARS

    July 12, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  3. annie s

    Enough! It is time for a full investigation into the abuses of the Bush/Cheney administration. Senator McCain is wrong to worry about hurting America' s image by investigating. American's image was destroyed by the actions and arrogance of Bush/Cheney – a serious investigation and the filing of charges if required will help to restore our standing in the rest of the world.

    July 12, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. James, Ho. TX

    Its believed tha Bernie Madoff is in need of a Cell Mate ! Checkers, Anyone?

    July 12, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. Lynne

    It will be very interesting to see who Cheney, Bush and Rove were really eavesdropping on. I can almost guarantee it was people they perceived as political enemies (e.g. the Spitzer affair) rather than actual terrorists. Remember Rove was trying desperately to establish a permanent Republican majority (ala the failed 1000 year Reich by the Nazis) and would do anything to achieve it. Using national security as a "screen" played perfectly into their modus of operation.

    July 12, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. obama can't find chechnya on a map

    meanwhile down to earth Obama is running this country into to ground

    July 12, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. Alex

    Wait a minute John... I thought that our actions have no effect on al Queda recruiting? Which one is it?

    July 12, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. Anthony McMahon

    Buckwheat: Let mne get this straight: the VP withhold information from the people of this country and the Democrats are engaged in a conspiracy to protect Pelosi? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. The VP of the US ddecided within his sole authority to take away yours and my rights as guaranteed under the US Const (which Justice Scalia says is not meant to be a flexiblle document, I may add) and, yet, what Pelosi knew or may have known about waterboarding is realy the big block buster issue. Stop listening to pundits and start thinking on your own. This was a crime. Period. Dick Cheney has done more to embolden terrorists and give them a rallying cause than they temselves could. He's trampled the very legal protections we, as Americans, have fought so hard for and treats them as if they are some optional set of guidelines that one can either choose or not choose to abide by. Wake up, brother.

    July 12, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. lloyd roberts, Jamaica, NY

    To Samuel, you and your repub faithful forget one thing. We were attacked on 9/11 by 19 hijackers, 15 of which came from one country, Saudi Arabia. Not one from Iraq. In 1993 during the first attack on the WTC in NY it was Ramsey Yusef and his merry band of Pakistani terrorists. Again, not one Iraqi. The only terrorist put behind bars for terrorism from a foreing nation was Sheik Abdel Rahman, an Egyptian, again not one Iraqi involved. And guess what Samuel, Bin Laden is a Saudi, not an Iraqi. So why did your lord and saviour George Bush attack Iraq. You think clinton had something to hide. Give me a break. The Bush's and Cheney's have been taking orders from the Saudis their whole careers. They let us down, not Clinton. Stop being a child and taking sides. There's only one side I care about and that is this great country and the repubs are just as responsible as the dems for flushing us down the drain

    July 12, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. Matthew Dougherty

    The American public permitted or looked the other way for eight years. The attitude being, preemptive strikes, torture, and the end justifies the means is our superior right as a nation above all other nations. Being otherwise was considered unpatriotic and subversive. And now we find out they were lying to us? Surprise, they are breaking the constitution to save America; I am reminded of the Steppenwolf song Monster. Do we stay within the checks and balances of the constitution, or do we let the super-patriots rule us as sheep? If the citizenry abdicates its responsibility to control the government, the government without governance will act with reckless disregard.

    July 12, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Shelly

    Moral of the story: Obama is a lame duck, let's see if his administration will bring Bush and Cheney to face justice. The repugnants are traitors of this nation and everyone involved should be brought to justice.

    However, Obama doesn't have the cojones to lift a finger.

    We are doomed with Democrats and Republicans. We need more political parties. Two parties alone does not represent a democratic society.

    July 12, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    Look at it this way.

    If it was Obama/Biden, the investigation would be proceeding full-speed ahead.

    No matter which party affiliation, if our Constitution is NOT upheld, or is Abused, INVESTIGATE instead of leaving it to people's imaginations.

    We need the truth.

    July 12, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. Dixon

    This misleading and lying by Cheney is only the begining of what we will find in the future. I believe Cheney is somehow related to or mentored by Agnew.

    July 12, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Sam

    yes, get Cheney to talk...but out of which side of his mouth?

    Cheney talking will add the last nail to the coffin of the GOP.

    July 12, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Sully

    Wasn't the whole Lewinski thing all about upholding the law and that the President wasn't above the law and committing perjury?

    I am a party Democrat but I was against Clinton during that. I agreed that the President can not be above the law and if he had committed a crime he needed to be punished.

    Same goes with Cheney.

    It's really not that difficult a story to understand.

    If a Democrat like Eliot Spitzer gets caught breaking the law, he should be prosecuted. Same with a Republican.

    And if they don't find Cheney guilty of anything he should be acquitted.

    Nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the law of the land... the laws that so many Republicans wanted to uphold in the 1990s.

    So please let's stop calling this partisan hypocrisy

    July 12, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. Sully

    Dixon, Cheney is a hell of a lot smarter than Agnew was.

    July 12, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. palmer

    The truth is, the USA will regain the respect of the world if we hold those who broke the law accountable for their actions. The world respects justice. Justice it must be.

    July 12, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. PAUL

    Well nothing surprises me.. Cheney is a real scumbag and he deserves to share a cell with Bernie Madoff in that beautiful prison in FlorenceColorado. I am sure they will make a delightful couple.

    July 12, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. Samuel

    To GI Joe- Is that the same Constitution that Obama trampled on when he promised Russia to reduce OUR nuclear arms stockpile w/out it even being ratified by the Senate?

    July 12, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. Nobody Asked Larry But...

    Typical dirty politics – any and all players have dirty hands – Cheney, Bush, Rove, Rumsfeld, McCain, Pelosi and her gang, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, et al. Run for cover clowns. Let the finger pointing begin.

    July 12, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. John

    Why are the Republicans on here so angry?

    I've heard Cheney talk more on camera OUT of office than in the last 8 years in office.

    Don't blame CNN for posting this. What, should we go the FOX route and not mention it at all?

    Cheney did, after all, start this. No one asked him to open his worthless mouth in the first place.

    July 12, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. Helen, NY

    This is a distraction tool from democrats. They are trying to hijack hearings for Judge Sotomayor and also the current economic woes. Democrats have all crooked ways. Now they are asking for investigation on this. Waste of tax-payers money. Even CIA director is involve din this. Losers.

    July 12, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. bd

    Why do you think they call him " DICK?"

    July 12, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    Wilson July 12th, 2009 11:29 am ET: "...theirs is the the generation and the same people that spit on our soldiers after Vietnam."

    Sir, you don't know what you're talking about. I was there. I demonstrated against the Vietnam war in Los Angeles and San Francisco. I was, yes, spit on, screamed at and physically threatened. But neither I nor anyone I knew blamed the soldiers and sailors doing the actual fighting. It was the old men who put them there, and cynically left them there long after they realized that the war was hopeless, that we hated.

    And it's no different today–everyone I know who identifies themselves as Democratic, Liberal or Progressive has nothing but the deepest respect for our fighting men and concern for their welfare.
    Please remember, it was Liberals who raised a stink about the shockingly inadequate body and vehicle armor in Iraq, and the Bush Administrations Secretary of War, one of the despicable old men who put them there, who shrugged "You go to war with the army you have."

    July 12, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    I'm registered Independent now for a reason.

    I'm writing my representatives in DC on a regular basis to let them know my thoughts.

    On this one, I'll say that I believe our Constitution was abused and it should at least be investigated. If no abuse, move on. If abuse, then prosecute (trial). If found guilty in a trial, punishment.

    Maybe everyone should email or write. Does a lot more than these blogs. Our representatives don't read these blogs.

    July 12, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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