July 12th, 2009
12:50 PM ET
5 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. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Bush and Cheney are liars and war criminals. Every act they took after 9/11 attacks was against the law and against the American people. Even with a GOP Congress, the used the CIA and military for their own agenda and kept it secret from GOP. These are despicable people.

    July 12, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. Texas

    of course this should be investigated and "EVERYONE" involved JAILED, from President Bush on down ! is absurd to pardon anyone !

    July 12, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  3. Dan, TX

    Whatever it is. Previous administration has kept us safe and secure. Today we are not. Thanks to Barack Obama and his administration. Leon Panetta wants to score points here and show as if he is doing a good job. He is a joke.

    July 12, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. Joe Smoe

    I didn't send a duplicate you didn't print the first one
    Selective aren't ya

    July 12, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. Texan

    Anyone who buys Chaney's book is a fool. I hope the publisher loses money.

    July 12, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. AdamW

    He should be hung like Saddam. Didn't we invade Iraq because he has secret prisons and tortured people and was a tyrant? And what does Cheney and his America do? The same exact thing. Cheney is a criminal and should be treated like one.

    July 12, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. Texas

    I agree with Popduds ! let the truth come out and people involved from president Bush on down Jailed !

    July 12, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Robert

    Please keep in mind people that both Democrats and Republican politicans are liars...cheats....and any other word one might choose. For those naive enough to not see that this is Pelosi trying to gloss over that she was briefed about waterboarding and made false allegations against the CIA. She claimed they lied – this story is about withholding information. Far different but for the fact that Pelosi was briefed and she wrongly accused the CIA. Understand, this is all from Pelosi to cover her a$$$!!!!!!!!! Nothing more than that!

    July 12, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. barrystash

    Go down the list of internatinal hot spots and you see that Obama supports the anti-democratic / anti-American groups at each point. From Honduras to Iran to Russia to Iraq to Israel. This is a man that is hell bent on destroying our allies and our country. The Obamots who support him should be hanging their heads in shame.

    July 12, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Alex

    If a person breaks the law, then they should be held accountable. Whether or not that person had good intentions is irrelevant.

    July 12, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. DJ

    Any time Congress is involved, information gets leaked to the press. In the world of counterterrorism, this can lead to fatalities of our own citizens and failed programs. I think if a few people in the White House were aware, that's fine. We are talking about post 9/11 and trying to keep us safe. And guess what, Bush/Cheney did just that and thanks to the CIA we probably prevented other attacks that we never knew about. Even THIS report was leaked to the press so just imagine if it was top secret information!

    July 12, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. Donald Reif, Jr.

    So much for the "maverick" John McCain. He has made an amazing transformation since 2000. Gone from being a principled leader to nothing more than a typical political hack and apologist for the illegal activity of the Bush Administration. It's really quite sad to see what he has become It also explains in many ways why he lost the election last year.

    July 12, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Texas Latina

    Our lately BigMouth Cheney will be back in his old "undisclosed location" after this.

    July 12, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. Patti

    I think I'll turn on FOX News to see how they are covering this story, with their Fair & Balanced motto. Only way they could do it is to not cover it all.

    July 12, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. ib

    Why don't we investigate Obama for having the underage hijackers shot in the ocean. I know that was to protect to captain of the hijacked ship. My point is the Cheney was also doing what he thought necessary to protect the people of this country. If one broke the law so did the other one.

    July 12, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. this bleedin' heart

    Re: Keith in Austin

    It'a amazing to me how the neocons cry "Socialism" at every turn of Obama's administration like it's such a bad thing, yet 8 years of increasing Fascism was fine and dandy as long as it was under Bush and the Republicans. Talk about double standards! I just don't get it.

    July 12, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. barrystash

    Where there is smoke there is fire. Obama's support for anti-American forces around the world tell us that their could be an act of high treason at any time. America, be ready for a constitutional crisis beyond anything we have experienced since the Civil War. Obama is a traitor and a Marxist.

    July 12, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. StephenLoeschner

    John McCain has just as much importants to recall Dick Cheney as Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Harry Reid. I agree that congress can not keep a military secret. This is a witch hunt to keep the eyes off the real problems and not see the spaceships land. Poocky poocky

    July 12, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. John Q. Public

    I find it totally ironic to listen to the pontification of John McCain, who has never, ever in his mediocre political career critically review the issues before jumping on the bandwagon to further his own personal political ambitions. Thank God, he lost the Presidential election last year. Remember he was gung ho about going into Iraq and staying there until we won it for democracy, or obliterating that nation. I'm simply disgusted at his duplicity and hypocrisy.

    July 12, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. AndyB

    John, watch what you say to Dick or you may end up with a face full of buck shot. ha ha ha

    July 12, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. Peggy in Texas

    Once again the right wingers need a serious reality check. NOTHING the Bush administration did PREVENTED the 9/11 attack. It happened on THEIR watch. This insane reasoning that they "kept the country safe" for eight years is typical of their la la land thinking. Not only did they NOT keep us safe, their policies and practices have completely eroded this country's credibility. Enough of their excuses, they should ALL BE IN JAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 12, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. Ma Kettle

    Folks, all of this stuff is a smoke screen to keep you occupied while the current administration gets its screws in place and then orates you right out of your britches. To protect our innocents we had to do what we had to do. They were faced with the problem of protecting us. Not the other way around.

    July 12, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. barrystash

    When Schumer says we should be "patient" it usually means a Democrat has committed a crime.

    July 12, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  24. johnny

    McCain is a loser. I would think if anyone in the GOP would want the corrupt Bush administration brought to justice (and show that the GOP had any sense of accountability) would be the guy who lost the presidential election due the prior eight years of thievery, deceit, betrayal, murder, and lies. Other countries around the world knew how evil the shrub administration had been and let out a collective sigh of relief because hopefully Obama would get those bastards. A republican president would never allow these issues to come to light, obviously. I hope Obama is just playing politics for now. Regardless, it's up to us not to forget, and to bring to justice baby-killers like Cheney, rummy, Condy, Ashcroft, wolfowitz, and the jester himself, the shrub.

    July 12, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  25. Sylvia

    I think Cheney's plan has backfired. When he started asking for declassification of documents that "proved" he had kept this country safe, I said that was a safe demand since he knew it would never happen. He felt free to tell whatever lies he wanted confident that the information would never be made public. Well the wheels have come off of that "strategery." I predict that his heart condition will conveniently flare up in time to necessitate his bowing out of the limelight.

    July 12, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
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