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. Big V

    There's a Wall Street expression called "talking your book." It refers to making the case for whatever will benefit you, rather than what is right or true. Cheney is talking his book here. He himself doesn't even believe what he's saying, it's so ludicrous. Only on Fox is it news that Cheney defends his own decision to approve the torturing of prisoners.

    It is all of our duty as Americas to repudiate his behavior and do our best to ensure it never happens again. The future well being of our country depends on it (remember 9/11?).

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

    Bush, Cheney, and Rove ALL are criminals and deserve the same kind of lengthy prison sentences they would favor for any one of us who committed the same acts!

    August 31, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. willard bulloclk

    i am belived that chenny are great charge against terroist but i know that people are playing games blame to cheny but obama are not great presdient obama are doing keep to his mouth that he loved blamed to bush and chenny about terroist

    August 31, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. LacrosseMom

    DICK is a war criminal.

    TO ALL THE GOPERS WHO THINK WATERBOARDING IS NOT TORTURE........ PLEASE ... DO.......... VOLUNTEER TO BE WATERBOARDED AND THEN TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!

    Waterboarding has been ILLEGAL is in the U.S. since the 1800's. Look it up!

    August 31, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. Brian

    Regarding the staffer's statement on the "chief law enforcement officer", he is wrong. The president is the chief law enforcement officer under the constitution. The executive branch is charged with enforcing the laws. The president is the head of the executive branch. The attorney general is appointed by the president. Even if the president were to delegate 100% of the enforcement responsibility to the attorney general, he still has the power to remove the AG at any time. Whether he's involved in the day-to-day or not, the president is still the chief law enforcement officer, by the very nature of his position. It's really not debatable.

    August 31, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. annie s

    Cheney is wrong about everything. His brand of fascism nearly brought America to its knees and he has the audacity to complain about Obama? No wonder the United States didn't agree to join the International Criminal Court – Cheney knew they'd try him for war crimes.

    August 31, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  7. Alan in Marietta, GA

    Yes, according to Cheney's constitution, the president is the chief law enforcement officer. Remember, Cheney rewrote everyone's job description because that's what God's do.

    August 31, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Jessie

    We are safer since we used these EIT compared to what? This imaginary world where we are and have been attacked every day since 9/11? You can't compare how we are to how we supposedly might have been had something else happened. Just like always, Cheney is not credible.

    August 31, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. Alan in Marietta, GA

    It figures that Cheney grew tired of all of the Kennedy coverage. Funny how Chris Wallace didn't ask him about Kennedy.

    August 31, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. Purnell Meagre

    Palin thinks the job of the vice-president is to "Get the congress together and come up with some good laws." Cheney think the President's job is chief law enforcement officer.

    Maybe there should be a simple civil service test preceding every election -though probably wouldn't even need elections assuming you have to exhibit a basic wokring knowldege of government.

    August 31, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. O P Gomillion

    Cheney is right. The president swears to uphold the Constitution which is the basis of all law in the US. The democrats in DC act as though they never heard of the Constitutional jurisdictions of the president. Not only is Obama responsible for Holder's activities, he agreed to them else Obama is not even trying to be the CEO of the Executive Office and its responsibilities. Which is it?

    August 31, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. vernis Robertson

    Throw Chaney in jail and be done with it.

    August 31, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. geecee

    When is this person going to get out of our lives? Please – just go away you old, hateful, sadistic, war-mongering , fear-mongering, miserable, evil, malevolent (I'm being redundant here) jerk with the smirk! Just go away!!

    August 31, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. Larry of Massachusetts

    Bull crap! Holder works for Obama. Obama is making this happen and can just as easily make it stop. Anything else coming out of the WH is bull crap

    THIS IS THE WORST DECISION OBAMA HAS MADE, OR RATHER BEEN TALKED INTO. THIS WILL WEAKEN THE CIA AND OUR DEFENSES AGAINST ATTACK,. IT IS DUMB

    And since when do we have one attorney general review cases already reviewed by the previous attorney general? If President Obama wants to move forwards, he needs to stop Holder. If Obama does not do this, Obama is one and done and see ya later baby

    August 31, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. Rosem

    I can't believe what I am reading. You are accusing Cheney and the Bush Admin of trampling on the Constitution and filling the White House with cronies. HELLO....what do you think Obama is doing. Where in the Constitution does it say a Pres. can create his own government within a government ( 30 upteen Czars and special departments who are accountable to no one) Seems they are making their own law and Obama is not concerned at all with our national security or our military. He never addresses them. When we get hit again..and we will, and very hard, this is his baby. The rogue dictators know he is a weak leader...it's just a matter of time. God help us!

    August 31, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Jman

    Eric holder is one of the most dangerous attorney generals this country has seen. He is guided by a extremely partisan and racist agenda. I will be happy to see him go when this administration is voted out of office

    August 31, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. ANGIE IN PA

    Liar liar pants on fire YOU ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW DICK!

    August 31, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. J. L. W.

    An administration official who does not have the courage to give his or her name and hiding their identity when accusing another party lacks
    courage, integrity and is cowardly.

    This administration and our legislators should be spending all of their time helping to fixing the economy, cutting costs, presenting a health care plan that will cover all American citizens without bankrupting the country and the war. For the bests interests of our country this political motivated witch hunt should be stopped.

    August 31, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. Am-Bush -ed in Texas

    When the rest of us were raising our Right hands and swearing to up hold the laws and the Defense of the United States, Dicky wuz a holding up his deferment.

    Thanks Dick for always Duck'n responsibilities and avoiding reality.

    Maybe, you should have had one of those 5,000 responsible citizens, which you have sent to an early grave, teach you some gun safety.

    The winds always clear the stench away from the pond, Dick, be prepared for a hurricane.

    August 31, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. Emma

    It is no secret that Bush and Cheney were corrupt autocrats.

    August 31, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. Sean, Atlanta

    It Kills me that republicans are always saying that Cheney and the Bush Admin. kept America safe from attack for 8 years as if Sept. 11th never happened on their watch. And from all accounts, it wouldn't have happened at all if the 'we kept america safe' crowd had been a little more attentive to all the reports about a possible attack on american soil by bin laden. However, the republican crowd would, have, and is overlooking this crucial aspect of their totally lack of competence of an administration. Maybe if Cheney and the war mongers would have been so alarmed about a possible attack and DOING something about it BEFORE it becomes a reality instead of reacting stupidly by torturing and everything else after an attack, then its possible that we wouldn't even be having this discussion in the first place.

    August 31, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Independent

    Be afraid Cheney be very afraid....Scare tactics is your best asset

    August 31, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. Hockey dad

    Actually every US citizen has the right to an attorney, right to be heard, or any other such right. Sorry but Cheney is no more criminal than any other VP over the last 100 years. Now we are going to have interegators looking over there shoulder because big brother is watching.......hey you bleeding hearts I am sorry you feel for the same people that hate you and would blow up your home and family if they had a chance.....just pray that the next attack is in your office. I bet if you asked anyone that lost someone in the pentegon or new york that if they waterboarded 100 people and got some information to save there loved one. they would take that hands down. interegation works if it didnt why would ever country over the last 100 years use it? It might not work all the time but it does produce results. I dont know of many people that rat out there loved ones because we were nice to them.......

    August 31, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. Patty in the CA mountains

    I can't remember ever using the words "Cheney" and "facts" in the same sentence....unless it was to say that Cheney ignored the facts...

    August 31, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. M.R. in L.A.

    The president is the chief executive in the land...that's why it's called the executive branch of the government. Anyone in 4th grade could tell you that!
    Cheney is a moron. Let the morons who live outside of reality watching Fox News just have their delusional fun and stop parroting their nonsense. Stop giving exposure to the lies that their talking heads fabricate!

    August 31, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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