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. jay

    As an "American person", it is clear to me that the Bush/Cheney administration did far more to destroy the freedoms and protections our country has historically offered than any other administration we have ever had.
    I am so sorry that Cheney isn't going to be tried in an international war tribunal where he might be judged fairly as the horrifying, despicable human being he is.
    I hope Holder presses this but fear nothing will come of it because the Cheney spin machine is so powerful.

    August 31, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Why isn't Bush talking? I know why. Cheney was pulling all of the strings while Bush was just the puppet. Suddenly Cheney is Mr. Talkative. Bush (former blabbermouth) is quiet.

    August 31, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. Cindy

    Cheney's got something to hide... can't you just smell it?

    It's hard to believe that we once entrusted our country to this self-serving, self-righteous thug and his cronies.

    Obviously, he considered GWBush the Comander of all things... and he was Bush's puppet master. That is... until the puppet untied his strings, and started thinking for himself.

    August 31, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. zazu

    It might be difficult to believe for Cheney but It is really possible (not that you would pick up on that) that our system is designed in such a way the Justice department is expected to act independently of the excutive. But cheney wouldn't know that!

    August 31, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Ted Tartaglia

    Cheney will do or say anything to try to justify his actions during the last 30 or forty years. He has shown that he cares little for the truth when espousing his position and he demonstrates utter disregard for the facts especially if they challenge his position. This individual has damaged the United States since the Nixon years and should have never been appointed to many of the positions he has held. His most outrageous act was in selecting himself for the vice-Presidency.

    Cheney should keep his self-serving opinions and statements to himself and let the current elected administration proceed without his constant criticism.

    August 31, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Jimmy the Greek

    Obama is taking a beating on his efforts towards Government-takeover of Healthcare....

    ..... so – "Blame George Bush" is rolled out in the form of CIA investigations. Sadly – the only people this witch-hunt actually hurts are the men and women working at the CIA!

    But... Obama doesn't have much use the Dept of Defense... considering his desire for a CIVILIAN NATIONAL DEFENSE.

    August 31, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. Moderate Democrat

    The rational of "Someone is the enemy, and therefor we can fight with out honor" comes from cowards that do not deserve freedom. We are a land of laws, and even the PRESIDENT has to follow them.

    To advocate torture, is to be worse then the enemy. We need to string up all traitors, and those are the people who believe torturing people is a patriotic duty.

    August 31, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. We see it coming

    Safety is important.. but Freedom is imperative.
    Take a good look at the Obama administration, read the CZAR book.
    Our faith is in God and country. God will not favor this Godless administration. Pray and support freedom of speech and freedom FROM the propaganda of the left. Let your faith in the American people never be diminished. Patriots for God and Country!

    August 31, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. Steph

    Unfortunately, the American people have been lead to believe it is OK for the executive branch to dictate to the attorney general. Sorry folks, that was only under Pres. Bush! We are in a new era (the change we've been seeking) where the attorney general is allowed to work independently. I appauld Attorney Gen. Holder for seeking the investigation. If these folks have nothing to hide, then they should welcome the chance to prove they are innocent.

    August 31, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. Kitchen Police

    Of course he is wrong! And was wrong! And will always be wrong!

    August 31, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. Jack in Florida

    Why does Dick continue to draw attention to himself???? He was not this verbal during the 8 yrs he was in office. He is afraid that the truth will come out with these investigations that will haul his butt to the Hague to be tried on war crimes.

    He belongs in jail!!!

    August 31, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. donna

    President Obama wanted to stop using the term " War on terror" and now he is having his own war on terror war on terror. Obama said he did not want to look backward on this issue but would leave it up to Holder to decide.....wonder who is really in charge these days??? We are going to move the terrorists out of Gitmo and then investigate the people that saved us!!!!

    August 31, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. JAXSON

    Cheney was always wrong....and still is.

    August 31, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

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

    BINGO!!!! There it is!! This is exactly how the Bush/Cheney regime felt about not only the presidency, but also the vice-presidency during their disastrous 8 year tenure. The president has nothing to do with the enforcement of the law, that's for the Attorney General to handle. Dickie and the Shrub, however, felt and acted otherwise.

    So you see, it is NOT President Obama running ramshod all over our precious Constitution it's YOUR boys. The problem for you is that OUR boy is a little darkeer than you'd prefer, and he's a Democrat. Cry us another river, please.

    August 31, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. makesUwonder

    Yeah, like I'm going to believe anything Obama or an Obama official says.

    August 31, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. yuri

    While it is tempting to adopt EITs to extract enough info from the blood-thirsty savages, it also behooves us to do them in a way that we do not have to answer to the human rights goup, no matter how inhuman these animals were. It is quite a tricky and thorny issue, and Cheney can not claim complete credibility' in curbing some of these calamitous catostrophes from befallin' the nation, again.

    Scientists, who do statistical studies as to the efficacy of these or other methods, have not been unanimous in thses approaches. Now, politics is a different can of worms and the Dems will deal w/ the GOP in their own unique way of rebuttal.

    August 31, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. Oliver

    When Dick Cheney was V.P. we never saw or heard from him (except his shotgun incident). Why is he crawling out of his hole now??

    August 31, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. fank

    We all should be proud that our justice department is independent from the White House, the way it should have been for last eight years

    August 31, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Cheney is absolutely right. Obama is trying to appease the America-hating left by destroying the lives and careers of patriots. Disgusting!!

    August 31, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Jon in CA

    The Voice of Reason today – is an independent – no affiliation with [D] or [R]. His name is Glen Beck.

    I caution liberals and Obama-bots NOT to watch his show. The TRUTH would make you feel rather uncomforable.

    August 31, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. jayla

    Cheney is just another washed-up, old, white guy who still thinks he's American royalty....not!

    August 31, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Dick

    Very well settings! Let there be laws of the land be served for the truth, and at will of the American people not an individual like Mr. Dick. lol...

    August 31, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. Robert jay

    Everything about Cheney is surrounded by questions with no fact based definitive answers. His life long political growth has been surrounded by mystery and inuendoes. Someone earlier asked how we trusted this thug with our country. Because the power grabbing, fear mongering small minded people (also know as republicans) bought their way into power. NO MORE. I hope Cheney and Bush are tried and shown for what they are. Political gangsters out only for themselves at our countries expense and freedoms!

    August 31, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. Don in Albuquerque

    This excuse for a man is evil, pure and simple evil.

    August 31, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Angela

    Isn't it amazing that after all of this time, Cheney has to find ways to put himself back in the news? It is also really sad that instead of being the UNITED States of America, we are actually the DIVIDED States of America.

    We are the laughing stock of the WORLD. It is no wonder that there is talk of making the Euro the basis of all trade. We have really lost it due to the fact of our miserly squabbling here.

    It is time to wake up America. If you want to live in the "Greatest Country in the World" then you had better start making peace with each other and not against each other. If there was ever a "RIPE" time for anyone to attack, it is now.

    August 31, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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