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. turn Texas blue

    Yes its going to be a long and slow walk to prison.

    July 12, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. barrystash

    I agree with a comment below. You can't tell the Democrats any secrets because they immediately send the information to those who want to destroy our country.

    July 12, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  3. Angie

    While I don't really think McCain is presidential material, I do have great respect for him. In this case, I think he's right. We really don't need to drag this on and on, but we do need some amount truth as to what is going on and what went on.

    But why do people from both sides have to be such jerks about everything? It always ends up with extreme partisan finger-pointing and unabashed vitriol. I think that many politicians from BOTH sides become corrupt once they taste the power, and our pointless bickering is doing absolutely NOTHING to keep them honest! We're never going to get where we want to go unless we can at least respect each other and agree to disagree without hatred dogging our every step.

    July 12, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. Bev

    Democrats have taken politics to a whole new level. Accusing the Bush people of something "bad" ...but they can't explain anything because all the information is classified. What a bunch of CRAP. This is called "Protecting Pelosi's buns 101". And what a huge coincidence it seems to happen EXACTLY when Obama's approval ratings are dropping like a led balloon. How convenient!! It's almost as convenient as say, the banks failing two months before the presidential election!!!

    This is NOT change in Washington. This is the same behavior on steroids. The Democrats have unchecked power and yet their only focus is on destroying Republicans. We are at war. We have troops dieing every day in Afghanistan and Iraq and Nancy Pelosi has only one concern....to trash the old administration. She does not care if the CIA is distracted or brought down in the process. She just wants blood. This is unhealthy and it's nonproductive. It does NO GOOD for any of us. Having this much hate should automatically disqualify anyone from holding a position of power. I do not want the people in Washington who make decisions that affect my life and my country, whether they are Republican, Democrats, Independent, or whatever, I do not want them to be more concerned about their position of power than the well being of this country. It's a revolving door of bad behavior and we should not be buying into any of it. The Democrats pointing fingers at the Republicans is ridiculous.

    The Democrats are trying to pass a Cap and Trade bill that will cripple the economy in this country and take us back to the days of Jimmy Carter all under the smokescreen of this CIA controversy. They are trying to take over the health care industry in this country and they are distracting everyone time and time again. Unemployment is going sky high....interest rates and inflation....taxes....those are the things Nancy Pelosi should focus on. Not blaming the Bush administration. We are SICK of the blame game. This is Obama's economy now. The deficit, the taxes, the unemployment rate, all the policies, the growing government...it's all the responsibility of Democrats now.

    July 12, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. Patti

    Just as I thought. They're not "discussing" the Cheney situation. Probably going to leave it for Monday morning for their "experts" Gretchen, Steve and Brian.

    July 12, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. Malcolm

    And you wonder what else that fat bastard has lied about!

    July 12, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. barrystash

    To Peggy In Texas – Obama's support for anti-Democratic forces in Honduras should scare the bejazoo out of you. We have a Marxist thug as POTUS and people like you seem thrilled. If you ever had to earn a living you wouldn't be cheering for Marxist thugs.

    July 12, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. Buddy Gilmour

    This strikes me as old news. Everyone knows Cheney was all over the CIA, and State too, and played Tenet and Powell like old violins. If I was cynical, I would say this is being dredged up because of the slip in poll numbers for Obama – its time to remind the fickle public about what came before. Really, the best thing for the Dems is to keep Cheney in the news, but this is running out of steam. Now the Cheney PR machine has been uncharacteristically silent and I'm interested to see how Cheney responds. McCain wants him to come out swinging, but I think a better strategy would be to check into a medical facility complaining of chest pains – go for the sympathy angle. Remember, you heard it here first!!!

    July 12, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. dave

    John,
    How would you feel if you won and they judge a program that you clearly said will take time to show fruit? So McCain think before you saying you're starting to sound like your VP choice.

    July 12, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. Bill Durham

    You mean Cheney lied? I don't believe it? I happen to be one of the remaining 20% of Americans left who support Bush and friends and I refuse to believe it!!
    Cheney and Bush were honest fair guys and you'll never change my mind...(sarcasm)

    July 12, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. Kentucky

    John McCain has the guts to demand the truth from Bush/Cheney.
    It is why I supported McCain. He is such a rare Republican it is amazing. We hear utter silence from Mitch McConnell.

    July 12, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. Chris

    So, the story is that a counter-terrorism program was researched and planned off and on without ever being implemented was ordered not to be disclosed by Cheney. If I understand this story correctly, the program that never was has now been disclosed to the Demcratically controlled Congress who have now run to the press to allege a secret undisclosed counter-terrosim program existed. Okay, le me know when you have a story, otherwise, quit try to conitnually libel the prior administration with innuendo and speculation.

    July 12, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  13. Avi Shlomo

    Speak up like what: Tell me lies tell me more little lies
    McCain has sold his sold his soul long ago. it starts like all other " REp Or dem" Cheaters. one who cheated on his wife has learned the arts of lying and as of Cheney, I have no idea that a VP has so much power like ordering agencies to carry out his unlawful activitities. mind you all this is done and continue to be done under pretenses of false patriotism to apease the right wing of the party.

    July 12, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  14. john

    This is the tip of an iceburg that goes back to a much larger untold truth of 911. Let the truth come out but let us not act in judgement, rather let us love them that did these bad things, the truth will stand for itself and love will show how to lead... by example. Maybe then we can get back to helping each other, both locally and around the world with basic food, health, and shelter. Then we can all prosper together according to our efforts and abilities. A little of our war and killing money would instead provide so much needed help. Is it possible we could again focus on the positive rather than fear and revenge? Best wishes to all.

    July 12, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. Lola

    Why should Cheney speak up...he just lies anyway! Always has always will!

    July 12, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. barrystash

    Here is a compromise. For allowing an investigation of Cheney's actions that kept us safe, the opposition should be able to take a drug sniffing dog through the White House, including the private quarters.

    July 12, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. guy

    And still nothing will be done about it, the criminals will still run free

    July 12, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. I laugh at comrade Limbaugh daily

    Keep Gitmo open just for the Bush and Cheney Gang and any Democrat that went along with it,including the people that are still defending them.

    July 12, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. to tcm,southern cousins and phoenix 86and fair is fair

    what do you think of your leader?or you are suddenly unavailable

    July 12, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. John M. - New York, NY

    To barrystash,

    Dick Cheney, is that you?

    July 12, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. Ancient Texan

    The libs are so consumed with HATE that they are willing to disclose any Top Secret Intelligence or Military secret to our enemies just to embarrass or take to a "show trial", anyone in the Bush Administration. Just keep in mind;what goes around , comes around. In the near future, Obama and Holder could be called to account for daily tramping on the Constitution. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd called to account for bring down the economy with their actions with Freddie/Fannie. Careful what you wish for.

    July 12, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. Andy

    Creepy Cheney and the GOP at it again. This time it is not about adultery but over using their power. I knew it that the former VP can never be trusted.

    July 12, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  23. Andrew Fenton

    By not having probes into the Bush Administrations illicit (by the standards of international law) behavior you leave hidden from the American voting public what sows seeds of discontent and US hatred outside the US zone of influence. If we want to world to move towards greater stability that is built upon a respect for persons we profess to hold dear in liberal democracies, and so a stability that does not come through the barrel of a gun, we need full disclosure of illicit behavior by representatives of those very democracies. This allows for a more rational debate about future international policies outside of the relevant zones of influence and a common ground of understanding that can be used to build bridges across current, intractable divides.

    July 12, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. Erndog in Tx

    Maybe next time there is a 9-11 our beloved liberals will 'TURN THE OTHER CHEEK" and move on to bailing out another industry.

    July 12, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  25. barrystash

    The Obamots have the feeling that Mr. Obama is now a lame duck because of the collapse of his presidency. Instead of looking at their mistakes and correcting they have turned up the hate machines and began attacking Palin, Cheney, Bush, Rush, etc. etc. Your attacks only make sense in the context of a failed Obama presidency.

    July 12, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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