August 31st, 2009
11:34 AM ET
5 years ago

Cheney wrong on interrogation inquiry facts, Obama official says

Cheney had his facts wrong on interrogation inquiry facts.
Cheney had his facts wrong on interrogation inquiry facts.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Vice President Dick Cheney had his facts wrong when he blasted Attorney General Eric Holder last week for launching an investigation into past CIA interrogation techniques, an administration official asserted Monday.

Holder's decision to review waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques was politically motivated, Cheney claimed in remarks broadcast on FOX News Sunday. Cheney made clear in the interview, conducted last Friday, that he believes President Barack Obama directed Holder to launch the review in response to pressure from left-wing Democrats.

But the administration official, who asked not to be identified, said, "The attorney general made a determination independently, based on the facts and the law."

The official also objected to Cheney's statement that "the president is the chief law enforcement officer in the land."


"That's not true," the official replied. "It's the attorney general."

During his FOX interview, Cheney repeated his past defense of the effectiveness of what are called enhanced interrogation techniques, or EITs, such as waterboarding.

The techniques "were absolutely essential in saving American lives and preventing attacks on the UnitesdStates," Cheney said. "I think they were directly responsible for the fact that for eight years we had no further direct attacks on the United States."

In response, the official noted that a recently released 2004 report from the CIA's inspector general concluded that "the effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation techniques are hard to measure."

The official highlighted a page from the report stating, among other things, that "measuring the effectiveness of EITs, however, is a ... subjective process and not without some concern."

The official also noted a separate conclusion in the report that "the effectiveness of particular interrogation techniques in eliciting information that might not otherwise have been obtained cannot be so easily measured."

The official also took issue with Cheney's assertion that a new interagency group tasked with overseeing terrorist interrogators will spend the bulk of its time deciding "who gets to ask what question and who's going to mirandize the witness."

"Mirandizing" refers to the process of informing an individual of his or her rights under the U.S. Supreme Court's 1966 Miranda ruling.

The primary goal of the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG, will be intelligence collection, not law enforcement, the official said.

The group will be based out of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which, according to the official, currently mirandizes less than 1 percent of detainees.

"That will be the same practice" with the new group, the official asserted.


Filed under: CIA • Dick Cheney • Eric Holder
soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. Southern Gentleman

    Cheney never served in the military, has always been a desk jockey and his supporters are all tax dodging hippies who never served in the military and are being paid to blog.

    August 31, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. lucky b

    Cheney is wrong again....He has been wrong on every issue he ever delt with...The man is a certifiable idiot..He needs to just go away and keep his mouth shut...The world will do fine with out his advice or his daughters..

    August 31, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. Randolph Carter

    Dick believes that an attorney general should be seen but not heard. Too bad the current AG is doing his job and not being a puppet, Dick. Have a nice day!

    August 31, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Ryan, Omaha

    They are both right. Holder and Obama are about as far to the left as possible. Big Government, Big Brother, Big Spending.

    August 31, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. JS007

    This is so ridiculous. If anything is political about this it is the fact that Cheney is not in jail yet. Obama is trying NOT to prosecute the big fish in this. Of couse, my hope is that since all the roads lead to Cheney and Rummy, eventually they will be put on trial too. I'm tired of the little guys going to jail (as was the case with Abu Ghraib) and the guys who orchestrated the crimes walk away free.

    August 31, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. Polar Bears Against Palin

    Dick Cheny is one of many Republicans that should be in prison. Especially, the ones from the Bush Administration. Dick Cheney is a sack of pus.

    August 31, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Cheney is a liar and his lies are catching up with him. No one is above the law and that goes for former VP's as well.

    August 31, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. B Lewis in Austin

    I believe that all the chatter we have been getting from former VP Cheney in the last 6 months is that of a scared man. He knows that he will be found complicit in a myriad of unlawful and unconstitutional dealings if there are any investigations. He is defending himself in advance and trying to defuse any delving into his activities. His voice is too loud to be that of an innocent person. Perhaps we will see how far he went over to the "dark side"?

    August 31, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. katiec

    Breaking the law, treaties is being a criminal. Criminals should be tried and prosecuted.
    Cheney thought he was above the law and untouchable. He does not and will not accept responsibility for his wrong doings.
    I do hope the investigation reaches up to him.

    August 31, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. David In West Virginia

    It was interesting to hear Cheney speak of a 2004 Justice Department investigation into interrogation techniques and the administration being exonerated. How convenient can he get, anyway? A Justice Department that was wholly politically slanted with cronies at the helm clearing the Bush Administration of wrongdoing. The fact is if an independent investigation is done of the CIA is performed, Cheney Gonzoles, and many top level Defense Department Personnel would be found guilty of unlawful policies and acts that appear to only punish those who carry out Bush and Cheney misdeeds.

    August 31, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. Socialist

    Well it is pretty simple: If America does not prosecute the guilty no matter how high up in government they are, the result would be that other states friendly or non- friendly have all right to submit U.S. soldiers and plain Americans to the same tortures America does to others.

    So to you the choice which one you want? You can't have both.

    Basic logic
    Don't hold the world to your rules if you can't follow them yourself.

    August 31, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. Lisa P

    Ha! Like Cheney would let a little thing like truth get in his way! :-D

    August 31, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Billy J Texas

    If Clinton had told his AG to shut down the call for a special prosecutor into whitewater then Starr never would have poked his slimy head in the trash to come up with 'lewinsky' trap.

    Just remember. It's the Democrats who try to stay honest. They don't tell their AG what to do, because they want the AG to feel like they ARE standard bearer for law and order, not just carrying water for a crook at the top. Good for Obama! BOOO on Holder. We don't need to wash our laundry in public over this, as much as I would love to see Cheney and the rest of the chickenhawks hung for being the traitors they are.

    August 31, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. Vic

    I wonder if Cheney would allow himself to be interviewed by somebody that does NOT work for faux news.

    Would he actually be saying the same ignorant garbage he spews everytime he speaks up once somebody actually asks him real questions?

    This draft dodger should go suck a lemon.

    August 31, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. Joe, Georgia

    I am really puzzled that no one has asked Dick Cheney a very key question. What did the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton do that kept our Country safe from terrorist attacks that the administration of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney failed to do? It has been reported that the Bush/Cheney team ignored intelligence data warning of attacks on the Homeland prior to 9/11. It has also been reported that the administration ignored many of the tactical plans put in place under the Clinton Administration to track and potentially attack the planners of terrorist actions in camps of Afganistan.

    August 31, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. RAG

    Cheney would be pathetic if his purpose was not so evil. He wants us to accept his crimes as "necessary". He wants us to accept that the end justifies the means. He wants us to abandon our nation of laws for a nation of expediency.

    This would be bad enough, but his "means" acheived no "ends". Only the dehumanization fo his victims and, by proxy, the dehumanization of our nation.

    Cheney and his gang, Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfewicz, Rice, and the countless aparati that were just following orders" should be tried, convicted, stripped of their citizenship and deported.

    Where to? Who cares? By their actions they have proven that they are
    not Americans (nor is anyone that would give their selfserving whining any credence.

    August 31, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. The Rev. Graham P. Matthews

    No wonder he has his facts wrong, the guy flunked out of Yale.

    August 31, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. LN

    Sunshine is the best disinfectant. CIA were given orders to break the law by someone, hmmmm.. might it be the one scrambling to save his own behind? He's very comfortable having others to what he himself wouldn't : 5 deferrments, torture... I For once, will the people who gave the orders be held responsible?

    August 31, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. ED

    How about you focus on REAL issues, Holder - like illegal immigration! Too difficult, eh? What a bunch of wusses in this administration! Nothing but the blame game, no concrete solutions of their own!

    August 31, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. Four and The Door

    Taking responsibility for what happens in your organization is a significant part of strong leadership. President Bush was very good at standing up and taking responsibility. But then again, this is a feature of leadership many people learn in the military. President Bush had the advantage of learning leadership as a Naval Officer.

    August 31, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. Scott, Tucson

    I take you to a scene below the White House in which three Obama approved agents know only as Larry, Moe and Curry are iinterrogating a terrorist suspect.. Now Mr. Mohammad if you don't tell us where the suitcase Nuke is we would be force to bring out Mr. Tickle Toes and to prove we mean business, you will also have to watch the View.

    August 31, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. Fed UP

    Obama should be impeached on the grounds that he's an idiot. He himself is a Muslim despite his lies and he is trying to destroy this country from within. He has no legal right to be the President. He is not a legal resident despite the Birth Certificate he had the State of Hawaii forge for him after he became President. He has not deliverered on any of his campaign promises. His numbers are dropping drastically and he opens another can of worms at a time when he should be looking to make allies. The CIA saved lives. I commend them all. The RADICAL muslims deserve what they get. Remember we are not the ones beheading people in front of a camera. Maybe we should start!!!!!!!

    August 31, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. Florida Joe

    You have to forgive Darth Vader.........When he and Bush were in power the Attorney General did as directed by the Administration and did not reach any conclusions or take actions on their own..........Poor darth just misses the good old days..............What a joke he is.........Cheney never had to risk being waterboarded as he never served in the military just profited from HIS WAR...........

    August 31, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. redleg

    The implication that torture by the US is responsible for eight years without an attack on the US is that we never cared enough about our allies who were atacked to ask about any plans targeting them. Looks like we got our tent up and left the UK and Spain hanging.

    August 31, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. Patriot in Mississippi

    Dick Cheney and the grateful American people, realize who are enemies are. They are Al Qaeda, but most frightening.. they are
    Marxist Liberals centered and operating out of the White House.

    The FBI and the CIA should be investigating President Obama's CZAR regime. Glen Beck is one of the more talented and vocal investigators of the Obama Administrations agenda. His research should cause a full scale investigation of the Barak Obama/Van Jones/Reverend Wright inner circle and inner agenda.

    Suport Glen Becks rallying cry for Democrats and Republican moderates to unite to save the Freedoms of WE THE PEOPLE.

    August 31, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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