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. james gary

    Darth Cheney should be sent to prison for this and all of the other evil things he has done!! I hope GWB is right behind him, too!!

    July 12, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. mark

    I love how the Con supporters are calling it 'the blame game' (Bev).
    You don't want to believe your neo-con party was a bunch of fascists. Always in the name of safety. You're too blind to see and too shallow to question. They're not being blamed, they've been unveiled!

    You Cons aren't about America, you're about your beloved crooked party. Oh...you're not crooks!

    July 12, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  3. Mental midgit from phoenix

    I love Bush andCheney.We dont need no stinkin Constitution.

    July 12, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. Cheney has always been a traitor to US

    All I want to hear about Cheney is when he is going to put in jail for the rest of his life for all the treasonous crimes he committed against America and our Constitution.

    Lying to Congress is a Federal offense. Lying to the United Nations and breaking International Law on torture is an international war crime.

    Lying about Iraq, murdering our soldiers for nothing, illegally wiretapping private citizens, torture, outting a CIA agent which could have led to her death, firing US Federal prosecutors who would not falsely accuse people Cheney did not like and intentionally lying to Congress over and over for 8 years – ALL DIRECT ORDERS FROM CHENEY

    I ask again – when is this corrupt, treasonous, war criminal going to jail?????

    McCain should shut up or actually, for once, show some integrity and call for Cheney to be held accountable.

    It is beyond me how a single American can trust one thing the Republican Party says or does. They destroyed this nation and want to blame it on everyone else. They DO NOTHING while our nation has been in crisis – except call for us to fail. They make up lies about President Obama every day. They obstruct our economic recovery. They are trying hard to keep us from having healthcare reform.

    Tell me again why anyone supports or trusts these characterless hypocrites???



    July 12, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. Edmontonian

    In most Western countries, if some of the things that happened in the Bush administration had occured, the people responsible (i.e. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz,) would be investigated.

    Why not in the United States? Are your presidents and vice-presidents considered above the law?

    July 12, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. K

    it is long past time that the Bush administration be held accountable for their lies, deceit and misdeeds. A war was started with lies and now thousands have paid the price and still counting. Our civil liberties diminished. Big brother was watching and the extent of this is still not known. If a cirtizen breaks the law he/she pays the consquences. Is it a double standard of justice that only selective laws are enforced when it is a government official???? since this is the way it seems.

    July 12, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. barrystash

    Fatima – there are a lot of "duplicates" that CNN allows to post. You just don't to read what I have to say because it conflicts with what you have been told. Reach out into the world and learn the facts.

    July 12, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. Peter, San Francisco

    Cheney withholding information. Well, that doesn't surprise me one bit. Kudos to McCain for speaking out on this – there's one Republican with a moral compass.

    July 12, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |

    You are a pathetic small minded person. The terrorist hit us on 9-11 not Bush not Cheney. I am sorry you get to stay in this great country. Your hatred for Bush is sickening. Yes the man did protect you for 7 1/2 yrs even if you didnt deserve that protection. You are sorry small person that I really feel sorry for.

    July 12, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. justsane

    watching john mccain has become increasingly painful. what happened to the man of unquestioned principle and integrity? he actually looked david gregory in the eye and said that sarah palin didn't quit...~sigh~

    that aside, he is correct; cheney needs to be heard from, but not through the news media. former president cheney needs to address these charges under oath. i don't necessarily think that a public hearing is required (though it may be), but certainly he has things to answer for to officials in government.

    July 12, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. LiLa

    For insight into how VP Cheney operated in the White House, read "Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency" by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Barton Gellman. It's time that Mr. Cheney learned that the ends do not justify the means.

    July 12, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Sylvia

    I agree with Ed Wise who commented previously. I would so love to have the entire Bush administration exposed for the arrogant criminals they were/are. Anyone who thinks that our constitutional rights were not eroded by them is really asleep. Most people I know were aware of what was being done to the American people in the name of "security", but we had a dictator and his team in charge, and they ran roughshod over every law and constitutional right on the books. I fear, like Ed, that they will not be fully exposed and if so, they will receive a slap on the wrist ,whereas if it was one of us, we'd land in jail so fast our head would spin. I am dismayed that Obama does not appear to want to pursue an investigation aggressively. What about the transparancy he promised us? It seems to be eroding. So it's left to us common folks to keep nudging our representatives in the right direction – to keep on squacking and demanding the light be shown on the criminal mind set in Washington. It's time for the good guys to win one for the team.

    July 12, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Chris

    Wilson July 12th, 2009 11:29 am ET

    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.

    This kind of argument will make your party lose in the future. Please stop labeling people who don't agree with you as "crazy liberals". Your black-and-white world view is what's dividing this country. I know some liberals, and none of them spit on soldiers from Viet Nam, and none of them are interested in protecting road-side bombers. You're so far off the mark it's sad. Can we get back to civil discourse, at some point? Yelling does not equal debate, and this country was founded on disagreement, discourse, and compromise. Until you righties realize this and change your arguments, you will continue to lose.

    July 12, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. Nevada Voter

    To Chris (who laughably thinks others are so ignorant):

    How foolish and naive are you that you believe they put "tools on the shelf" that they wouldn't use?
    By calling it an "on again, off again" program that was "never fully utilized" does not mean the tactics were not employed.
    It means they never implemented the tactics as fully-incorporated techniques during standard interrogations.
    Having it as a "tool on the shelf" allowed them to take it down and use it as they saw fit.

    If you believe they never did, you are the one drinking Kool-Aid, my friend.

    July 12, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. GI Joe

    barrystash July 12th, 2009 11:36 am ET

    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.
    I was once a Republican, but when I saw hate and fear being spread to the point of people wanting and yelling "KILL HIM", I could no longer go along with the republican mantra of control by fear and hate.

    July 12, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. daryld

    how can anyone on these blogs argue that any party should be allowed to break our own laws in secret, because if they said anything the other party wouldn't keep their secret. Go to school and get some education. You need to go to congress, because like Bush himself kept saying over and over again.... "we our a country of laws" and he wanted other countries that he was invading to have systems of laws.

    Yet, he and Dick didn't actually believe it. They kept secrets because they were breaking the law. In addition, how much information does it actually give out to say that we have a secret surveillance system. These are going to be naturally paranoid people anyway since they live in repressive areas of the country and the majority of the world operates this way.

    July 12, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. the southern progressive

    to afghan vet and army vet...

    attitudes like yours, despite your courageous service to our country, seems to me like the beginning of a military take-over of the government.. you know the kind that we tell the rest of the world, and thank god even some of our men in uniform, think is a bad thing..

    i for one,will be one american civilian standing up to a military coup.. as will millions of others.

    July 12, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. Joseph

    Yes, why not? Let the liberals do whatever they want. Let's also begin to investigate Obama Administration's potential criminal activities for the last 6 months. Obama has wasted almost 2 trillions of taxpayers' money without CREATING a single job! No end is near. This amount of debt created by Obama already overpassed all America's accumulated debts for more than 200 years from all past administrations since George Washington's administration! Obama's reckless socialist acts will bankrupt America's economic and children' future, weaken American national security, and undermine American values and ways of life for generations to come.

    July 12, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. barrystash

    Chris – look down through all of these posts. Obamots like you have called Cheney a "bastard", have called for killing Cheney by "execution", jailing of Republicans. So don't talk about lack of facts from people who you fear because they are saying something you can't refute.

    July 12, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. Celine

    America has become self destructive and all in the name of Party politics.
    Your country is at war and this is not the time to expose such serious matters to gain political points and feed fodder to the pundits and media to have talking points.
    Get the facts , build a case and then follow the rule of law.

    In the war against terrorism , your enemy is not wearing a uniform , no , they use children , women and suicide bombers to deliver deadly weapons.
    For me 9/11 was one of the most horrific attacks I have ever seen and I will never forget it.
    How Bush was elected , not once but twice , is beyond me but he did keep your country safe for 8 years.
    I doubt it that your current government would have been as successfull.

    July 12, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. the southern progressive

    to those who think the former administration kept us safe.. please open your eyes.. we are now more hated by our earthly brothers and sisters because of their lies, deceit and greed. you are all fooling yourself.. now i am not saying that the current administration is any better , but your ignorance of the last is just fueling the hate of our enemies.

    uncover your eyes, ears and mind....your ignorance is getting old.

    July 12, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. E.C.Coleman

    Oh, REALLY?

    Why didn't YOU and the Rest of the GOP speak up in Defense of President Bush?

    You and the rest did absolutely nothing.

    Further, how do you, mr. mccain, know that any of this C.I.A. business is TRUE?

    This is another crude and stupid move by the Liberals who are upset because Sotomayor is not the right person for the Supreme Court.
    The libs are mean and hateful and will do anything to create another scandal.

    July 12, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. chris3dog

    A month ago we couldn't get Cheney to shut up. Do we really want to get the "LIE MACHINE" started again?

    July 12, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. Randy, San Francisco

    Shouldn't Cheney's attorney advise him to invoke his 5th amendment rights against self incrimination by remaining silent?

    July 12, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  25. Samuel

    The Congress and Senate are ignorant to ECON 101 let alone military strategy! Why should they investigate anything other than try to play politics with any investigation. This does the country no good and would further drive a wedge between liberals and conservatives to the point of REVOLUTION.

    July 12, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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