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. Torin for Lawrenceville Ga

    Former V.P. Cheney almost makes Richard Nixon seem rational. Cheney's penchant for crossing over the constitutional line is well documented. He believes the ends justify the means – torture is justiifed because it produces valid information. This belief is debunked by those have used "enchanced" interrogation techniques.
    Cheney is very scary. . . . and it is not even Halloween yet.

    August 31, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Cheney used the same tone of voice during the Fox interview as he did when he told us there were WMDs in Iraq; that he doubted the war would last six months; that we would be greeted as liberators.

    Once again, Cheney is lying when he says that torture is effective and that the ends justify the means.

    August 31, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. sopastey

    Cheny is an elitist scumbag who is making the US less safe! SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE CHENEY!

    August 31, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Robin in SC

    Cheney continues to run scared in an effort to cover his own. Perhaps he should be waterboarded until he tells the truth about his VP days.

    August 31, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Fool me once shame on u, fool me twice... err...

    Dick Cheney always likes the "facts" that suit his position.
    He frequently asserts that the Bush/Cheney shady techniques kept us safe for 8 years. I don't understand why reporters hosting these shows do not follow up with how about 9/11/2001 Mr Vice President?

    I guess Dick Cheney considers that time as under Bill Clinton's watch because Cheney and Bush didn't really get to work on terrorism until 9/12/2001. Up until then, their security meetings were focused on how to build the case for attacking Iraq.

    August 31, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. John

    We lost about 2800 people in the 9/11 attacks. To remedy that Bush caused 4300 US Troops to die. Still the threat persists and Al Quida is existing. We spent $800 billion already. Had we given this money to Al Quida, they would promise never to attack us.....BUSH AND CHENEY ARE WORST US PRESIDENT / V.P. – THEY ARE LOW I.Q. AND DUMB IDIOTS – PUT THEM IN JAIL. :| ..........

    August 31, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Jeff

    To good ol' Dick, the end justified the means. That is NOT the American way, or at least the America that I was brought up to love. American's play by the rules, and if we have a problem with those rules, we try to change them, not subvert them. Cheney and George are criminals and should be prosecuted. I'm a Republican, but I love the country more than the party.

    August 31, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. vic nashville , Tn

    Obama please focus on Health care reform who care about what Cheney say in fox

    August 31, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Kevin in Ohio

    For all those left-wing idiots who think water-boarding is torture..... you can, without any doubt, count on much worse torture of American citizens by Islamic extremists down the road if Obama and administration continue with their apologetic and appeasement strategies. Obama is opening the door to them. God help us all.

    August 31, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. chelle

    hahaha "Marxist Liberals" Karl Marx was many things but definately not a liberal.... It amazes me how many Americans toss around the words Marxism, Communism, and Socialism, and have no idea what each one means and that they are not interchangeable!! What the heck do you teach in Social Studies????

    August 31, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. Robin

    Got to love this "Change".

    August 31, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. Joe in NJ

    "Just remember. It's the Democrats who try to stay honest. "

    The pot calling the kettle black.

    August 31, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. sammieb51

    Cheney Wrong? Wow - Everyone should read his statement on April 15 1994 re: why we didn't go into Baghdad during Desert Storm. The closer this deal gets to his front door, the louder this jerk will scream - using all the familiar fear tactics still in use by the GOP to lather their masses into a frenzied state of being.

    August 31, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. B in Pittsburgh

    Of course Cheney would be confused about what the President's job is. Remember, he also stated that the Vice-Presidency is not part of the Executive Branch so he could have/do things his way.

    August 31, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. John

    We lost about 2800 people in the 9/11 attacks. To remedy that Bush caused 4300 US Troops to die. Still the threat persists and Al Quida is existing. We spent $800 billion already. Had we given this money to Al Quida, they would promise never to attack us.....BUSH AND CHENEY ARE WORST US PRESIDENT / V.P. – THEY ARE LOW I.Q. AND DUMB IDIOTS – PUT THEM IN JAIL. :|

    August 31, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. jaye

    Cheney is the poster boy for the nazi party.
    He, and his republican croonies, tortured people....and now he's trying to convince the world that what they did was right.
    Sounds like the anti-christ to me.

    August 31, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. B

    When are they going to stop playing games with Cheney and set up an -Independent Commission- to investigate this mess? Everyone understands that No truth will come out of Cheney, he broke international law and is trying to escape ANY accountability, along with the others like Bush

    It seems that we have given up holding up the Laws that are the foundation of this country!

    August 31, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, Va

    I guess Dick clearly can't tell that he is barking up the wrong tree. I guess he never heard the phrase "that silence is deafening."

    August 31, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. Beth

    Doesn't Dick Cheney know that his era is over. I wish he would stop interjecting his whiney daughter into all of the news talk shows. She is really unbearable.

    August 31, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. Ryan Indy

    How can you say they are not politically motivated. Im sorry to break it to the Democrats on here but obama going up against Dick Cheney on National Defense he is not going to win this arguement. On top of that you have an Attorney General that help pardon some of the most corrupt people like Marc Rich and now he wants to go after people that help protect Americans. This is outrageous. The democrats on this blog are either so ignorant or hateful they can not see the truth. The Bush techniques help protect this country ....FACT...you people can hate him all you want but it WORKED....I find it almost comical you people would rather go after our own people then the people who want to destroy us. Its treason. If Obama and Holder do this they will pay a huge political price as the American People know the TRUTH.....

    August 31, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. Dan

    Sounds to me like Cheney is involved in major damage control and history revision in a vain attempt to save his own ass! He needs to spend the rest of his pathetic life in a military prison writing over and over again: America does not torture... America does not torture... America does not torture... America does not torture... America does not torture... America does not torture...

    August 31, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Michael in Houston

    Someone PLEASE arrest this creep.

    August 31, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. Gary Chandler in Canada

    Would Cheney approve of torturing a captured American child pornographer to locate other child abusers in the ring???
    What about very mild torture for lesser offences, like fraud and shop lifting rings, which cost society so much money?

    August 31, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. Chris_Stl

    when was Cheney ever right?

    August 31, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. Ken

    If we were still a nation of laws, half of Obama's administration would be in jail for tax evasion, insider trading, voter intimidation.... Not to mention the host of violations racked up by Rangel, Dodd, Pelosie... It truly has been change, but I can not believe it!

    August 31, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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