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. t-joint

    To Army Veteran:

    A quick and gracious thank-you for your service to our country, but your facts need to be corrected. It was NOT the Dems giving away troop secrets, but FOX news' own Geraldo Rivera that was kicked out of Iraq for giving away troop movement during the early stages of the war. Also, Republican Pat McHenry of North Carolina apparently gave away info after posting a video of his visit to Iraq. This is not to mention all the Republicans in congress who voted AGAINST upgrading equipment and personal safety for our troop in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sorry, my friend, but if the troops have an enemy in the government it is surely not the democrats.

    As for Cheney "keeping us safe after 9/11"...if he and Condy had actually LISTENED to Richard Clark's reports regarding Al Qaeda to begin with, 9/11 doesn't happen in the first place.

    July 12, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. BJs65

    Gee McCain, ya think?

    July 12, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. the southern progressive

    as each passing day, the politics of past and present are pulling me towards isolationism... i am beginning to no longer care about the world outside our country.. it is time to build our great wall and say screw you to the outside world.. if we seal our borders then we will no longer need waterboarding or secret cia programs...just saying

    July 12, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. John M. - New York, NY

    Funny how everyone on here who wanted to burn Pelosi at the stake for saying the CIA withheld information is now defending the CIa for withholding information.

    Good thing America has denied you a voice this past election. You had an 8 year window, and YOUBLEW IT!

    BTW, for everyone here blaming Obama already after only six months, you also have to blame Bush for 9/11 since he was in office for NINE months.

    Oh wait, I forgot the Republican mantra: It's never our fault.

    July 12, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  5. Erndog in Tx

    Maybe next time there is another 9-11, our beloved liberals will 'TURN THE OTHER CHEEK' and continue bailing out another industry. Right on 'O B'

    July 12, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. Ryan Indy

    Hey morons that is the point of a SECRET PROGRAM, if you tell the democrats they will be telling all of our enemies as they will do anything to help their cause even if that hurts America and helps our enemies. I have no problem with these programs if they were helping to protect us. Democrats are you so dumb to think Cheney wanted to just spy on you????? Or he just wanted to beat up a couple of terrorist......???? He was trying to use any means possible to protect americans.......I really hope the democrats go after him and Holder starts hearings on the past administration......It will only BLOW up right in their face....Democrats bring it on.....

    July 12, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  7. Ed Wise

    This should come as no surprise. Bush, Cheney, Rove, Gonzalaz are as dirty as there has ever been in Washington. Its only a matter of time before all their dirt surfaces. The question is, Do they get a pass or do they get criminally charged for their misdeeds and misleading this country. My guess is they will skate with a slap on the hand. Washington is about protecting their own. God forbid you should prosecute one as you may be the next up for prosecution.

    July 12, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. andyg

    The liberal whackos out in mighty force here. Hatred.....spiteful.....unAmerican. While the messiah is taking this country into a defenseless rat hole....all you can do is bash Bush and Cheney. Not an original thought in the bunch......in fact not a thought in the bunch. Collect your government checks....and the rest of the hard working Americans (like me) will carry the water for you.

    July 12, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. Bryan

    Most people are too ignorant to know when their freedoms are being taken away...especially when they are intangible ones like freedom of speech. Now, make it a tangible one they can touch...like their handguns...then they start squawking.

    The Bush & Cheney gang took away far more of our intangible freedoms than any democrat has attempted with the freedom to bear arms.

    For those of you that still don't comprehend, take anything that came (or to come) out of Bush / Cheney's mouths about freedoms, substitute whatever the "freedom" word being discussed with the word "handgun". Only then would it probably piss you off.

    July 12, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. facts only please

    Again, Cheney will claim that the Bush administration did what it had to do to prevent any more attacks on the U.S. after 9/11. But, the worst attack on U.S. soil in modern times occurred during the Bush administration, despite the availability of U.S. Intelligence that might have prevented it, and certainly should have alerted them that something was up, and NOT in Iraq. The Bush administration, much as it likes to take credit otherwise, didn't prevent further attacks. Terrorists can strike any time they want, and it's not the fault of either political party, or to the credit of either party that they have not chosen to attack again...so far. Many years passed between the first and second World Trade Center bombings.

    July 12, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  11. babs in cali

    the posters in here complaining about the Dems need to get a grip. McCain is not a Dem. This isn't a way for the white house to change the subject. This is a member of the GOP saying that Dick is a liar. You can't really blam EVERYTHING on Obama. Dick's the evil liar here. I figure it's just the bitterness and the poor broken hearts that have the GOP members crying about the white house. Trust me, before this is over you'll have plenty to cry about in your own party.

    July 12, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  12. Operation Crush Rush

    Thanks John.Lets not forget to Rush Limbaugh,he can broadcast his program from prison too,for defending those who commit Treason.

    July 12, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  13. Cindy Barsher

    BULLETIN!! For any Democrats wanting to win in the next election: Ask your opponent what they think of Dick Cheney and his actions. Its a foolproof strategy!

    July 12, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. Fatima

    To barrystash – People like you should scare the bejazoo out of me. I don't know how CNN allows duplicates from you.

    July 12, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. Wilson

    More crazy liberals thowing dirt on Cheney about a program that never even got off the ground. Be serious theirs is the the generation and the same people that spit on our soldiers after Vietnam. They are too wrapped up the in protecting road side bombers and chasing personal politcial vendettas to protect our country. At least Cheney is a Patriot.

    July 12, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. Valerie, Raleigh

    As a lifetime Republican turned Independent after 8 years of Bush/Cheney and the Far-right neocons, I am absolutely disgusted with what has been found our about the behavior of the Bush administration. Did they ever tell the truth? Did they ever do something just because it was the right thing to do for the country? They have acted shamefully, brought great hurt to the country and ruined our reputation around the world as good and decent people. Every one of them should be put under oath in a court of law. Is it any wonder that the once-proud Republican party is looked at as total losers.

    July 12, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. GI Joe

    Stop the hate blogging – it's a sign of ignorance.

    Investigate whether or not the CONSTITUTION was upheld.


    July 12, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  18. DOC

    Mr. McCain,

    Why do you feel its important not to investigate the issue of torture in this country when you yourself were a victim of such harsh and cruel treatment yourself?

    Is there any real way, sir, that we can honestly walk away from this horrible human rights atrocity without shining a light on the truth?

    July 12, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. Chris

    Dear Ignorant Masses:

    Please read more then just the headline, read the actual article.

    "The program was on-again, off-again and was never fully operational, but was rather, a tool put on the shelf that could have been used, the source said." Ffrom CNN.com, one link over.

    This is a NON-STORY!

    Literate News Reader Tired of the Hate and Libel

    July 12, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  20. Woody Hamilton

    He(Cheney) had a job to do and he did it...he kept us safe. Hopefully we can say the same about the current administration.

    Let's not tell the enemy everything that we are doing.....

    Short memories, remember how "united" our "worried"polititicians looked in the several days that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001

    July 12, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  21. barrystash

    John in NY – are you a Jihadist ?

    July 12, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  22. Ida Camps

    I agree with McCain. Justice Departmen must investigate Cheney for war crimes and he must talk under oath.

    July 12, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  23. Jack in Florida

    McCain is absolutely right! Bush and Cheney's administration was the most evil administration in our history and the future will prove that to be true. They both need to be arrested and sent to the Hague as war criminals with crimes against humanity!!!

    July 12, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. Chris

    barrystash July 12th, 2009 11:21 am ET

    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.
    Erndog in Tx July 12th, 2009 11:23 am ET

    Maybe next time there is another 9-11, our beloved liberals will 'TURN THE OTHER CHEEK' and continue bailing out another industry. Right on 'O B'
    Ancient Texan July 12th, 2009 11:18 am ET

    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.

    The arguments of the right wing...no facts, only anger. No solutions, only insults and sour grapes. Come on guys, a two party system is necessary in our country. But when the second party can't hold a civil conversation, nevermind providing any sound arguments to support their cause, they won't be viable for long. Admit you were wrong, and move on. Barack Obama was chosen over John McCain. Get over it. Please come back to reality. We need a serious conservative voice in this country, and I'm afraid the Republican party is talking itself right out of relevance.

    July 12, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. barrystash

    I was once a Democrat. But when I saw my party doing everything it could to destroy our economy and national security I left the party. To me Obamism represents hate, lies, and treating the middle class like slaves. As Lincoln said, slave holders "wring their bread out of the sweat" of the enslaved. The Democrat party and Obama is doing that to the middle class in the country.

    July 12, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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