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. cowboy

    Open 9-11 hearings and make Cheney & Bush Testify under oath, not like the last time!!

    July 12, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. Shane

    Bush, Cheney and their Big Oil employers have done much more than just keep information from congress. They need to be investigated, prosecuted and put in prison where they belong. If investigators look hard enough, I'm sure that what they find will make Maddoff look like a saint.

    July 12, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. Sheri Lausmann

    The rest of the world already knows that the Bush administration was
    corrupt. That is no excuse for covering up what was done. Until
    it is uncovered, and dealt with, it will be more likely to happen again.

    July 12, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. Progress vs. Stagnation

    The reputation of the US (Canadians, Central, and South Americans do get offended when we consider ourselves to be the only Americans around) has already been harmed by decades of botched foreing policy.

    If Clinton can be impeached for the things claimed against him, then for goodness sakes, the former Bush W. administration can be investigated - especially Cheney, who can't seem to contain himself these days.

    It's TIME the TRUTH came out!

    July 12, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. Ms Bee

    Dickie boy – you can run but you can't hide now...................can hardly wait to see if you finally have to answer some real questions! Enjoy your retirement!

    July 12, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Cathy inAZ

    To Keithinaustin: He needs to be held acountable – he lied to Congress and my guess this is just the tip of the iceberg! This is another reason the rest of the world distrusts Americans – because they associate us all with the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. Thsi can not be buried as some would suggest. Perhaps Cheney can share the cell with Scooter Libbey!
    We have a long way to go to undo the damage done by the previous administration both domestically and internationaly. The sooner we can address this issue and hold those accountable for the damage done the quicker we can move on!

    July 12, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. db

    I bet now he wished he should have shut his mouth and gone into retirement!!

    July 12, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. Tomas E

    Let's waterboard him and get the truth out since waterboard is just a fact finding device.

    July 12, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. michael jordan

    This is one of the most disturbing pieces of information we have learned. Intentional deceit by one branch of the government with another branch amounts to treason and should be investigated and prosecuted. Our founding fathers would expect nothing less.

    July 12, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. K

    I don't think this will take us anywhere. Even given the fact that Cheney did considerable damage to my country, i don't want to dig grave. We just need to know the history and ensure that we don;t elect someone of the type of Cheney and Bush to run our country in future and expose our brave soldiers to danger by sending them to war without appropriate preparation, plan and equipments. While our generation can be merciful to these old fools (Cheney, Rumsfeld etc), we also want to see that these fools do shut up and don't state that they have done great things for the next generation because that is absolutely outrageous.

    July 12, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Jane

    Maybe now some of the Obama haters will appreciate him for trying to bring our country back in the line of civilizatoin with other countries. Tihs is sad for the US because the Republicans are nothing but liars and bed warmers. People the Republicans needs to stop and think hiow they have ruin this country and step up to help Obama fight the worst of the worst and put our country back on track. If the Republicans can't see what they have done now to the people then they are no less than Chenny and Bush.

    July 12, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  12. GI Joe

    FYI – Just checked (out of curiosity) – FOX is having a talkathon about skin cancer and then coffee.

    Guess their great leader is off limits until they get their talking points on this one from Lushbaugh or Shooter.

    July 12, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  13. Afghan Vet

    Keep up the good work Mr. Vice President. Some people do understand that difficult decisions require more background information than what the U.S. population needs to know about. As a current deployed member of the military I'm glad that someone has the courage to do what's necessary to get us information to keep America safe.

    July 12, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  14. NVa Native

    The fact is that Bush/Cheney/Repubs DID NOT keep us safe in 2001.

    Then they went on to terroize the Ameican people and deny us many of our civil liberties for eight long years. They are criminals who deserve jail at the very least. Only the cowards of the radical far right have "faith" in them.

    Cheney is the most notable coward of them all – eight draft dodging deferments during the Vietnam "war of his generation". His own words – he "had more important things to do". What a punk.

    July 12, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. Major Major

    I think the former VEEP is a CREEP, but there are some things that the CIA does which shouldn't be shared with our blabbermouth congressmen (and women). Not because they are illegal, like the torture, but because the CIA does spy stuff that should be secret. We, the American public, elect people that we trust know the difference. Sometimes we get it wrong. Then we vote em out. McCain says we should avoid investigations that make us look bad–for Pete's sake, what happened to his self professed "accountability of government"? Shine the light of day on misconduct. But lets not assume that any secrets are there just to obscure misconduct...

    July 12, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. max

    even the repugs can agree that cheney and his evil band of cowards belong in jail ...

    July 12, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. kw1919

    Mr. Cheney – How are u going to SPIN this one. U are running out of moral justifications. Unless ur GOD almighty ?? If that the case I take back everything bad I said about you.

    July 12, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. Is this it?

    So....anyone else think that we can't sustain this ever increasing level of bickering and misdirection? Go ahead, prosecute him. Retaliation from republicans has never really been as effective as it has from democrats, see comments, but they'll have to learn and they'll be just as effective shortly. Meanwhile the rest of us who don't chose sides will drfit back, until you both go too far. Then...you're done.

    July 12, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. Jack Lowe

    "Dick." Something in a name! Maybe he should be shown what 20/week waterboarding is really like.

    Send them all to the dungeon.

    July 12, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. Larry

    Where is Dick Cheney's big mouth now ...

    He had no problem being on talk shows when he wanted to spew his TREASONOUS vebiage against Obama and our country...

    A COWARD and liar to the core ...

    DICK CHENEY AND GEORGE BUSH SHOULD BE HUNG for their crimes against humanity ...

    That's one show I would fight to get a ticket to ...

    July 12, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. Art

    Mr. Cheney thinks he is above the law, he is not.

    July 12, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. GI Joe

    Investigate – it will either clear Bush/Cheney, or indict Bush/Cheney.

    Why the fear of truth?

    July 12, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. Realistic Democrat

    Some things need to be kept secret. And Congress COULD NOT keep a secret for 10 minutes. For some reason, everyone wants to know everything. Well if we know it, then so do our enemies. All this free information, following troops around and interviewing generals for (or leaking) battle plans has to stop. I place some of the responsibility for our troops deaths in the hands of Congress and the news agencies. Not to mention Hollywood who basically give instructional "how-to" videos on shooting down helicopters (Blackhawk Down), etc... Shame on all of you!!!

    July 12, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. Bob

    I think there should be investigations as well. However, I would ask those posting here that seem to have nothing to offer but hatred one question....What will be your feelings if he and others are found innocent by a Democratically controlled congress?

    July 12, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. Jhak Schiddt

    The dems have stepped in the trap, and John McCain was the bait.
    Dick Cheney will speak up, and the demorats are going to run for cover.

    July 12, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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