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. sharon

    the more he is nervous..............the more he talks..............................

    the only question that should be asked......what size handcuffs for this
    person.

    August 31, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. The black Spider

    Cheney prevented future attacks by sending 4000 more soldiers to miniscule Irak Al Queda Cells to be killed and left the Commander In Chief Of Al queada in Afghanistan planning more attacks in US.
    Did I make my point?

    August 31, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Longhorn who speaks the truth.

    NO OBAMA YOU ARE WRONG!!! I'm not taking up for Cheney because he is a scoundrel. But, before you're through with your inexperience you will have ruined our military and our security system. IS THIS WHAT THE MUSLIMS INTENED FOR YOU TO DO?

    August 31, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. Simpiticus

    Cheney is advocating his "dark-side" sympathies as if he were defending hazing in college. "Hazing", that fraternity homage to loyalists within, that building block of manly bonding. Think of Cheney as the sergeant-of-arms, the defender within, who must cajole his detractors with statements of utter nonsense in order to justify his actions. Of course it is political, Cheney says. Of course this nation had to perform borderline heinous actions in order to keep this country safe. From what? The Marquis de Sade also had to justify his actions of an over-sexed man with contrary explanations. Cheney and his daughter are out to justify their actions as most suitable despite the 'dark-side' implications. Cheney is looking so much like Colonel Jessup in the movie,A Few Good Men, who actually comes out to defend the use of "Code Reds", the illegal use of internal actions within the corp. Cheney is that close to avowing the worst in men!

    August 31, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Kevin in Ohio

    THANK YOU, Dick Cheney. These left-wing fascists here on this blog should thank their lucky stars you were there to protect them.

    August 31, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. sue

    That would be the previous administration's way to handle it – Cheney is only going by "HIS LAWS!" Got to love this guy!

    August 31, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. staci

    Ok, this is sad. Here we have Obama ducking resposibility once again and doing nothing about it. There is nothing wrong with waterboarding. My husband went through it more than once in special forces training in the navy. It's not like they are cutting off fingers and toes. What are we supposed to do? Tickle them? Leave the CIA alone for crying out loud. Lives were saved. End of story.

    August 31, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. justsane

    if cheney believes that the president is the chief law enforcement officer in the land, then he should know that as chief, he needs to be held to the absolute highest standards in terms of his own adherence to the laws. he doesn't get to break them just because the puppet-master wants him to.

    August 31, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. Dave

    From ALL of America, Thank You President Bush & Vice President Chenny for doing whatever was necessary to save American lives.

    People should NEVER forget what happened on 9/11 – and what happened before which is where the current Administration is taking us again. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on America.

    August 31, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Bruno

    I say we waterboard Cheney until he realizes he broke our laws. As far as you republicans bragging about not having been attacked in the 7 years that followed the attack on w's watch, so what. We were attacked while w was reading my little goat and had no idea what to do. What a hero for you to have. Look what he left behind as far as the economy goes. Much worse than another attack.

    August 31, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. rich

    We need to use enhanced interrogation methods on Cheney and find out what he knows.

    August 31, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Barbara Independent in NY

    Maybe someone needs to interrogate this draft dogder.

    August 31, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. single mom

    Terrorists should not be given the same rights as Americans.
    Do people realize that by prosecuting CIA interrogators, by publicizing this, they are weakening the efforts of our intelligence agencies to keep us safe?

    August 31, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. Brian

    Let the War Crimes trials begin!

    August 31, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Cheney continues to prove he is out of the Richard Nixon school of thought........if the President does it (and in this case the Vice President) it is not illegal. Unfortunately for you Dick, that only works while you are still in office.

    August 31, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. Tim

    Wow, the current white house doesn't even know who the chief law enforcement agent is?

    No wonder why Obama acquiesed to the release of the Lockerbee murderer. It's his new soft approach to foreign relations. Just forgive and forget, and hope for the best.

    August 31, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. TJ

    I WANT Cheney to keep talking – his words will come in handy at the trial.

    Dick, you seem to have missed this part in civics class: we are a nation of laws.

    August 31, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. demwit

    Sometimes the end does justify the means.

    Oh wait...

    August 31, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Gary

    I'm sorry but it is President Obama who is wrong here. He openned this can of worms by allowing the CIA investigation. We should be thanking the CIA, not investigating it....if we do investigate, it should be a classified investigation to gather "lessons learned" only. Information obtained by any means, actual torture, sleep deprivation, waterboarding, sodium penetal, talking, bribing etc is all suspect and must be bounced against other sources of intelligence. If the CIA got valuable information that helped us uncover plots, save lives or capture terrorist then it is worth it....I'm not saying I like their actions but I'm fed up with the second guessing and monday morning quarterbacking of the Obama supporters. This political football was created by the Obama Administration and may lead to their political downfall.

    August 31, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Dave

    In the Bush adminisration, the Attorney General was the consigilere and the executive branch was immune from accountability to the legilsative and judicial branches or constitutional constraints, so Cheney's confusion is understandable.

    August 31, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. Failin' Bailin' Quittin' Palin, How Does Your Ignorance Grow?

    What exactly has Cheney ever been right about?

    August 31, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. simp

    Cheney's big mouth daughter liz was on sunday morning shows yesterday and for the life of me i have no idea why these host keep inviting this big mouth woman. She tries to talk over everybody because she does not want to hear to truth. look loud mouth, your dad is criminal and the more the you run your fat mouth the more obvious it becomes. cheney is going to jail when all this is said and done.

    August 31, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. Mike in LR

    Hugo Chavez was right! BO and his boys are farther left the Hugo is.

    This is disgraceful. The majority of the American people will hold BO accountable for this. The extremeist's seem to forget the 3,000 people murdered by these animals. Put yourself in their place. Choose between burning to death or leaping from the 70th floor of a office tower. By comparison these thugs had to go naked or lose some sleep or have some water sprayed in their face. Something our own military trains for. We're set up for another catastrophe. Last time it was Clinton's fault. This time it will be BO's.

    August 31, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. Won't Go Away

    Darth Vader Cheney just won't go away. He is still showing is nerve by showing his face after totally screwing up the country.

    August 31, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. AntiRush

    Cheney can't accept the fact that he isn't in charge anymore, and we are now actually following the constitution again.

    August 31, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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