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. NVa Native

    Bush/Cheney did not keep us safe in 2001.

    The Repugs are weak and cowardly.
    Otherwise why do they fear everything so much?
    They are afraid of gays, lesbians, liberals, people without handguns, President Obama, Mrs. Obama, clean water, clean air, solar power, wind power, educated children, single parent children, poor children, children without health care, children with independent thought, independent thought, free speach, free anything.....

    July 12, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Samuel July 12th, 2009 12:00 pm ET

    How many times was Bin laden offered to Bill "bj" Clinton? I guess we really know who was asleep at the wheel and let 911 happen.
    Same old prejudice by the "R" side – ignore the article, go back and dig up a different hate/fear story about the "other side".

    Won't work.

    INVESTIGATE to get the truth and protect our CONSTITUTION – JUST LIKE IN THE PAST.

    July 12, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. Why is EVERYTHING someone elses business?

    The Republicans have announced today
    they are releasing new websites
    starting on August the 1st, 2009, in order
    to try and connect with the American people:

    Quitter.dum – "Let'em guess what you're doing". (NO TEXTING REQUIRED!)

    MaceBook.dum – When "throwing the book" @em' is no longer harsh enough.

    For infidelitus members who have sexually removed their spouse(s) and replaced them with another.

    Gaggle.dum – Silence techniques to use when confronted with a lie.

    Waterboarding.dum – How to survive a shinking ship without taking others with you.

    iTune.dum – Shutting out background noise in order to hear the voices in ones head.

    See'n'in.dum – FOXNEWS! "No truth, Just lies..." REMEMBER, we're WATCHING you!)

    July 12, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    barrystash July 12th, 2009 11:36 am ET: "I was once a Democrat..."

    Really? Why? Would love to hear the principles of the Democratic Party you agreed with enough to call yourself a Democrat.

    July 12, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. Ted D.

    Well said, Rob G. The propoganda disseminated by the likes of Limbaugh and consumed daily by conservative listeners under the banner of "truth" is appalling. How and why the latter continue to believe Limbaugh rather than to reflect thoughtfully for themselves about the issues is beyond reason. Perhaps it's simply easier to believe falsehoods than it is to do the hard work of becoming informed and of facing the reality that one has been a dupe to self-interested political hacks.

    July 12, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. ace

    It is unfortunate that an investigation regarding who ordered the torture interrogation techniques doesn't have the support it needs, however i do believe we will see an investigation involving the Cheney's ordering the CIA to withhold information from congress.

    July 12, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  7. Greg Scanlon-San Francisco

    8 years of deliberately lying to Congress. And orchestrated by Dick Cheney, Vice President. And who knew if Bush knew about it and just looked the other way?

    Now that's a crime. Contempt of Congress, conspiracy, and God knows what else based on the coverup.

    If Pelosi and crew still thinks Cheney should not be prosecuted, then she should overlook all crimes committed.

    July 12, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. cody

    I hate this notion from McCain and others that we shouldn't investigate what happened because it would make us look bad. No. What makes us look bad is that we are afraid to deal with what we did because it might affect our image.

    In the very short term, exposing these things would harm our standing, yes. But in the long term, if Obama handled the release of the information adeptly, other countries would see it as a sign that we are sincerely trying to put those things behind us.

    July 12, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Libertarian

    So I hear a lot you saying we should not investigate any of the Cheney/Bush crimes? Should we ignore them??? Would we a murder case just because the prime suspect moved to another State? Of course not....if there's a crime it needs to be investigated or there are no reprocussions of any Policitians!

    July 12, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. suzyku

    Isn't it convenient that mcsame knows "little" about what Cheney is being accused of? mcsame knows little about everything and a lot about nothing! It's past time for this old fool to retire IF he can remember which house he lives in!!

    July 12, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. ace

    what is also disturbing to me is, the often utilized justification from the right, that revealing the wrongs that our government and country have committed is the wrong thing to de because it gives our country a bad image. The reality is that if America is to be considered to have any moral standing in the world, it must recognize and take responsibility for the wrongs we do so we can avoid commiting them in the future.

    July 12, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. girlymen love the GOP

    Now you know why the hotshot cowboys never caught bin ladin,they didnt want to,he was their ace in the hole.

    July 12, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. JodyG

    Sounds like the Bush administration took a Nixon play book and used it to run (or ruin) the country. Nice going republicans!

    July 12, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. larry

    I believe john doesn't know much about it
    but I do believe Cheney is about to get his hands slaped
    and if the truth does come out .maybe we won't have to listen to Cheney's lies any more . and we can move on in a productive way
    and bring back honesty to our government .
    thank you too the president and everyone that is helping to bring our economy and lives back to better place
    My guess is that Chaney is in it up to the tip of his (brown) nose. Hanging that worthless sob would be a waste of good hemp...but let's do it anyway. Ridding the world of one more slime bucket would-be dictator is reason enough. Hope I'm there to here his neck snap...couldn't happen too a more deserving chump.

    July 12, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. kman821

    DICK is a liar, a criminal and an all-around self-centered evil man. And Liz, she's merely the spawn of the demon seed!

    July 12, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    Hmmmmm – was all this brought up now to deflect from Ensign investigation?

    Just asking .............................................

    July 12, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. buckwheat

    He should keep the pressure on till Pelosi comes clean. This is a smoke screen created by the Democrats to get he heat off her and her accusations.The fact remains she was briefed on the waterboarding and she denied it. Lets clear all of it up at one time.

    July 12, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. william gair

    Transparency! I'm sick of this! Prosecute! We will look much better in the eyes of the world and feel better/proud of ourselves if we take responsibility for our mistakes. Grow up America!

    July 12, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. kensington

    It's hilarious to see all these idiot neo-cons/republicans out here justifying torture programs and warrant-less wiretap programs because "it kept us safe." The job of the President and the Executive Branch is not to keep Americans safe. It's to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.

    Everyday we make decisions that allow Americans to die. For instance, lower the speed limit to 1 mph, and traffic fatalities will shoot down to to ~ 0%. But instead, we allow the speed limit to be set at 65 mph and 70 mph.

    These programs may have saved lives in some abstract concept, but that isn't the point. By using the guise of "national security" the Bush and Cheney administration has pretty much evaded judicial standards of review and turned the Constitution into a long forgot about document.

    July 12, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. buckwheat

    Do you ever notice that a Liberal comment is never waiting on "moderation'?

    July 12, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. Aaron in Seattle

    Everybody has known for the past 8 years that Cheney's going to wind up in jail for war crimes, along with Rumsfeld. It's only a matter of time. Let's get it on and get it done with before Cheney dies of a heart attack.

    July 12, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. justin greewood

    I'm always surprised how quickly the right will rush to the defense of a man having obviously committed such reprehensible acts. Think of your country, stop rooting for your team. McCain states that the images from abu are the greatest recruiting tool imaginable for AQ, what he and most on the right seem to be ignore is that the problem isn't the photos, it's the actual policies and actions. Those are the real recruiting tools. And by defending these actions and the people responsible for them, they are in effect proving AQ to be right when they accuse the u.s. of violent intervention and disregard for anyone but them. The axis of evil is closer than you think.

    July 12, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |

    I wonder just how much damage Dickie Cheney and Company has to have done before BARACK H. OBAMA (the COMMANDER N CHIEF) will get the guts to file some kind of war crimes charges against them!!! I, who voted for Barack Obama, am totally disgusted with the way he has (has not) delt with this bunch of thugs that stole the White House from the people and tried their very best to totally ruin OUR COUNTRY. I almost wonder if Obama and his tiny close knit group, are part of an ongoing attempt by a larger, unnamed power team, to strangle the life out of the American people. What must we do to convince Obama and company that we the people mean business when we ask his team to bring Cheney and his group of thugs to justice ?????

    July 12, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. Francis Bunting

    I don't believe Cheney withheld the sureveillnce program from everyone in Congress. I'm sure the intelligence committe was aware of it. I do believe he did not want everyone in Congress to know about nor do I think they had a legislative right to know. The Congress leaks an awful lot to the media under anonymous sources. I wish more time was spent investiagting and prosecuting those in the Congress who violate their security clearances by leaking information to the press. Sececy is a must with these fools. They seem to do their best to sabotage this country. That applies to both parties.

    July 12, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. Chris in SC (not to be confused in liberal Chris)

    What is the name of the program?

    What did the program entail?

    Did the program rise to the level of Congressional oversight?

    Was the program utilized in anyway, ever?

    Why is Panetta disclosing now?

    Why is a top secret program being leaked to the press?

    Just some questions from those of use who want more then speculation and conspiracy theories.

    if you don't know the answers, then you don't have sufficient knowledge or credibility to comment.

    July 12, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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