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. Paul

    I think the responsibility lies at the top of the administration that asked for torture to begin by renaming it as “enhanced interrogation techniques”, (even Ronald Regan, called the practice of torture “abhorrent”), is anyone surprised that Cheney is now crying about the investigations.

    August 31, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. Johnny DC

    Liberals love to change the argument. This isn't about Cheney any more than his role as a journalist.

    The real victims of this unnecessary and misdirected Liberal outrage are the CIA and military operatives who were simply following orders, doing their jobs.

    You Liberal morons would have them prosecuted as some kind of slight on the GOP and Bush/Cheney. Statistically-speaking, more than half of these employees are probably Democrats.

    August 31, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. elliott

    Cheney was EXACTLY RIGHT

    August 31, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  4. OH MY!!

    Cheney is a Liar and so is his Daughter Liz ....Time to pay the Piper!!!

    August 31, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. bob

    The administration official who said that the Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the land is wrong. It is the President. There is more law enforcement in the federal government that is outside the Department of Justice than there is in DOJ. As a practical matter, the Attorney General has (and must have) independence to decide on how to handle major criminal investigations, but that does not make him the "chief law enforcement officer of the land."

    However, none of this means that Cheney is right in what he has said. To the contrary, he is wrong on this issue, just as he has been wrong on so many other things.

    August 31, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Media watcher

    Are you serious? We have socialists as czars and this is all you can dig up on the GOP?

    August 31, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Dean

    Cheney is such a tool, I hope the next thing he hears are his miranda rights being read to him.

    August 31, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. J.P.

    Yes, I'm sure this investigation has absolutely NOTHING to do with Obama's plummeting poll numbers.

    I'm sure it has nothing to do with the plummeting poll numbers of his healthcare takeover.

    I'm sure it has nothing to do with Congressional Democrats' plummeting poll numbers.

    I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that republicans are polling at least five points higher than democrats on a generic congressional ballot... in which respondents have said they trust the R's more than the D's on a nearly every issue on the poll INCLUDING healthcare. Republican advantage on healthcare is a first, and it's a very telling piece of information about where registered voters are right now.

    I'm sure this investigation is certainly not a glittering distraction, a red herring, a tail wagging the dog, to distract the public from their once-in-a-lifetime-level of voter outrage against this administration.

    "These are not the droids you're looking for," right Obama?

    2010 will NOT be a good year to be a Democrat.

    August 31, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Beverly - NYC

    Mr. Cheney, please be quiet. I would sooner take personal financial advice from Bernie Madoff than believe this lying war criminal. It's quite evident to anyone with a brain that you're only interest here is covering yours tracks and your dirty deals with Halliburton. If you had nothing to hide you would be silent on the topic and let the Mr. Holder dig and find nothing. The more you and your daughter protest, the guiltier you look. Why aren't Rumsfeld and the rest of gang speaking up as much as you are ?

    August 31, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. TCM

    Cheney's not wrong....a better question is when has the Obama circus of an administration been right? NEVER! Holder's a liberal racist, just like Obama...and his actions show that even his own staff don't respect his authority....this administration is one and done...unfortunately, the term's 4 yrs

    August 31, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. Common Sense

    Wonder if Holder would change his mind if him or someone in his family was saved by these techniques? So what if the mastermind of 9/11 was tortured, he deserves this fate. Do you think he consulted with an A/G before cutting off Danel Pearl's head. WAKE TO THE REAL WORLD PEOPLE !!!

    August 31, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. Steve in Kentucky

    Dick Cheney is the most disgusting, vile criminal scum ever to get control of the executive branch of government. He should be prosecuted and imprisoned.

    The only thing keeping a thorough top-to-bottom investigation of the Bush administration is President Obama's fruitless quest for bipartisanship. With the health care debate it's increasingly clear that Republicans don't want anything to do with bipartisanship. So Obama no longer has anything to lose. Let the prosecutions begin.

    August 31, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. lorna

    Dick Cheney is a private citizen – he is no longer running this country. We have a New President and a new team. He has a right to his opinion and we have a right not to listen.
    Cheney had his turn – now go away and take that crazy daughter with you. That is so rude!!! She tries to over talk everyone on each talk show – forcing us to listen to her, when it's not even her turn to speak. This shows me something about her character and intregrity. She wants other to listen to her point, however, she doesn't even want anyone else to state theirs. The same as her Dad – he still thinks he is in control and he isn't. President Obama is correct to ignore this chatter. President Obama we elected you to run this country – not the Republicans and I don;t care what their opinion is – we have voted and the people have spoken. There are a lot of people at the CIA that disagreed with the method of torture. They are now finally able to hold their heads high and understand they will not be asked to perform task that break the law!!! They are de mortalize – they are empowered.

    August 31, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Wolf twitters 4 Palin

    The fact that anyone is still listening to this man is beyond me. He has trashed everyone (including Bush) in order to save himself. The media has given a new podium to him and his inane daughter. The media just can't seem to get enough of these two duplicitous creeps.

    August 31, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  15. Samuel B.

    Cheney continues to insist that "advanced interrogation techniques" (read, torture) "protected the country" and cites the fact that we weren't attacked between September 12th, 2001 and the end of the Bush presidency as proof. There's one major flaw in that argument; namely, correlation. More simply put, terrorists may have chosen not to attack for any of a number of reasons besides the fact that U.S. officials tortured terrorism suspects. It could just as easily have been lack of planning, lack of money, lack of desire, or any of a number of other things that kept terrorists from attacking. But I'm sure that if we torture them they'll give us a reason...probably a false one.

    One has to to wonder why Cheney, who during his term of office tried to keep the Congress and the American people in the dark, is now trying to defend his actions. The answer is simple. He is the most contemptible, corrupt, traitorous, and dishonest person in the country who sneers at the Constitution and the principles on which it was founded. I pray for the day that I see him on television (probably not on Fox News) being led away in handcuffs and shackles doing the "perp walk".

    August 31, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. lee

    One cannot be a Law Enforcement officer unless they have the power to arrest or prosecute. Mr Obama has only the power to make a citizens arrest. He can order troops into battle, sign laws into effect and administer the business of the executive branch. He cannot represent the United States in court, prosecute law breakers or issue any legal supeonas. Therfor, he is not the "Chief law Enforcement Officer." The Attorney general has all of the above powers. Case closed.

    August 31, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. J.P.

    Show me the Gitmo vacationers who quickly and violently had their heads removed without anesthesia, who were set on fire, whose corpses were dragged through the streets while the headchoppers shouted "God is great!"

    Show me THOSE tortured people and we'll give credence to your cries of torture.

    Waterboarding is torture, eh?

    Look, kids, if being uncomfortable and scared out of your wits, and getting wet in the process is considered torture, then Six Flags is in a lot of trouble.

    August 31, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Linda

    I find it incredible that Bush and Cheney supporters believe that these two kept America save. People think didn't 911 happen durning the Bush years?

    August 31, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. Erich

    Cheney may have had heart problems, but there's certainly nothing wrong with his mouth!

    Please sit down down and shut up!

    August 31, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. Freeman

    Every time I see this man I think of that evil little Mr. Burns on the Simpsons!!!!!!!!

    August 31, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. Blueskys

    iWaterboard old Cheney wash his hatefull mouth out but first clean his deep oil well pockets and bank account which is filled with Halaburton and other $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
    Plug his daughters mouth she is just like daddy.

    August 31, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  22. AP in Illinois

    It's funny how much Republicans complain when they have to abide by the 'Rule of Law' that they so vehemently defend when their ox isn't being gored.

    August 31, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Peggy

    The President is commander-in-chief of the U.S. Military. Since the military is not a law enforcement agency, using the argument doesn't work. People in charge of enforcing the law can also break the law.

    August 31, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  24. They call me "Tater Salad"

    Me thinks doth protest too much!

    August 31, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. Lauren in Ohio

    For all of you who say Cheney is afraid of the truth,,,,,,, here is some truth for you.

    Obama out right LIED. He said he would not conduct any investigations into the CIA. He said he would rather look forward than backwards.
    NOW, because he wants the turn off the heat to his Health Care Bill, he will let this take center stage. AFTER he said he would not follow through with any investigation.

    Obama lied, should we check out everything he said to see if it is a lie, should Holder check into what Pelosi knew or did not know? Anyone notice how that got swept under the rug, good old Pelosis comments about the CIA, but yet when pinned down on what she knew, it whoosh,,,, went away.

    Liberals only want it one way, thier way. Hurl your insults, conduct your investigations, but when thousands get killed again because our countries security is breached because agents are afraid of Holder and Obama,,,,,,, do not cry tears of sadness,,,,, do not show false sorrow,,,,,,, you will have caused it.

    August 31, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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