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. jaye

    I can hardly wait to see bush and cheney behind bars.

    August 31, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. Mississippi Mike

    They say he's wrong but the president appoints the Attorney General and can fire him. Also, the president is the Commander in Chief, the highest military authority in the country. He also oversees the CIA. If Obama wanted to protect practices that WORK, the would do it. For some reason he wants to weaken the ability of the CIA to do it's work but doesn't want to take the blame. He is both a coward and a traitor for pursuing this path and history will show that these actions will have catastrophic effects.

    August 31, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. travalot

    Funny how Cheney ss all of a sudden all over the map. For 8 years he was in his bunker(except to give the occasional Fox interview....okay,that has not changed). Is he doing some advance work about a potential prosecution of himself down the road??

    August 31, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. Proud Vet

    I could not disagree more with the former vice president but he is entitled to his opinion. In my opinion, the great men and women in our armed forces have done well in spite of the previous administration. Cheney deserves absolutely no credit for keeping the country safe as far as I am concerned. I think that Bush did the best he could considering all of the bad advice he got from Cheney, Rumsfeld and others. The only person who gave Bush any good advice on defending our great country was General Powell. Bush should have listened to General Powell.

    August 31, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. Landry

    Cheney as usual does all the heavy lifting by pointing out the obvious facts to the Obama Administration. What a weak President Obama is and he will leave our country in much worse shape when he leaves office. Slick scum bag lawyers are set to rule the roost entirely with the Supreme Statist in charge. Worst President ever, ever, ever..

    August 31, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. Americanism 101

    THe AG is not an independent Branch of gevernment. Lol.

    It is part of the Executive Branch. The AG is appointed by the president and serves under him.

    The AG is not the senior law enforcement official. It is the President. He is head of the Executive Branch.

    Eric holder is Obama owns Holder. He can fire him at any time.

    Cheney is not a liar. Obama is also the senior liar in government. :)

    August 31, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. Rick in OP

    Cheney had the courage to explain what the Obama Administration is really doing. Let me take it one step farther. Obama realizes he will have to abandon the public option in any health-care reform bill that might get passed. In order to placate the extreme Left, he is throwing them a bone in the form of the CIA investigation.
    The other thing that Cheney has done is remind Obama that it has been eight years since we have had a mass casualty terrorist attack in the United States. If we should have such an attack, then Obama is going to have to explain why he was investigating the CIA when he should have been putting of all his resources to work pursuing transnational terror groups.
    Obama is playing a very dangerous game here with very little upside for him or the country.

    August 31, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Bob of Lompoc

    Let's see, Cheney and a blank wall: Which one is truthful and trustworthy ? The blank wall, every time.

    August 31, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. stevetall

    Dick Cheney wrong? Making up facts? Acting like a weasel? Lying?

    You call this news?!? It will be news when we string that criminal up by his nads and let him swing in the wind for awhile. We haven't had a more criminally retarded VP since Spiro Agnew.

    August 31, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Ken in Gainesville

    Torture was not the official policy of the United States in the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam or at any time during the Cold War. Certainly the Japanese Empire, Hilter, Stalin, Mao, and others were equally bent on our destruction as Al Quaida. Why does Cheney think he is above the law now? And if torture works against Al Quaida, why not employ it here against criminals, pedophiles, ecoterrorists, or just people those in power might not like (e.g., liberals, gays)? Cheney is a demented power-tripping egomaniac.

    August 31, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. millwright

    Who is the coward of the Obama administration. The writter of this story could be making this up because of political reasons like ABC and NBC not allowing apposing views on Health Care

    August 31, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Melissa

    Cheney doesn't live in a little place we call reality. And yes, I do like this change. For a change, people who do wrong are being held responsible for it. Its about time.

    August 31, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    "you have no worthwhile comment. chaney knows the real world and i want the men and women defending us the right to defend themselves."

    Cheney was a 5 time draft dodger during the Viet Nam war and has never served.

    He was however, very quick to send the sons and daughters of others, into war at his behest Many were killed and more were maimed.

    More proof wars are begun by old men, or in his case, he has no knowledge of any armed service, but young men are always the ones to die.

    August 31, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. Aunt Bea and Opie

    We cant wait to see him on "Dancing with Cell Mates".

    August 31, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. JonDie

    When will Cheney get to tell his side of things in federal court....sitting at the defendent's table?

    In fact, indict Dick and watch Dick run and take the 5th Amendment to avoid self-incrimination.

    August 31, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. lxm

    Obama is the liar here... Another one of his broken promises.... I am appaulled that this administration is putting our Country and men and women at risk.... Eric Holder how dare you!!!!! I am a wife and a mother of soldiers. I don't care how they got the information from these murderers... Did the families of the Americans they beheaded get any kind of care ??? did they care about the thousands they killed on 911??/ Unbelievable that anyone would support his efforts to destroy any confidence in the CIA ashame on you....

    August 31, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Cheney and his erroneous thought process raped, pillaged, and financially prostrated our country bringing us to the brink of total economic collapse, and earning us the hatred of the world. Does anyone remember how we were left 'flapping in the wind' in Iraq when nation after nation pulled out and left us alone to fight Cheney's War? We had no business there in the first place except to add a few more millions to Cheney's already deep pockets.

    This man is an idot of the first magnitude with a sense of entitlement only match by his tremendous disregard to the law of the land. Those of you that laud him as a hero and what we needed after 9/11 fail to realize that he made 9/11 possible, and can pack up your bags and move to an undisclosed location of HIS choice with him.

    August 31, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. FactCheck

    You Cheney supporters sound like Bhagdad Bob. Keep shouting out your version of reality, I don't think the rest of us even care anymore.

    August 31, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. southerncousin

    An anonymous, faceless Obamatron claiming Cheney is wrong. Kind of like being called unpatriotic, a nazi sympathiser and all those other names anonymous Obamatrons call people, and paeple like the dope smoking, non working, Oprah watchers who stick their hands down the front of their pants whenever Obama says anything go along. CNN in the mean time keeps firing them up rather than reporting how Charlie Rangel cheated on his taxes and how Pelosi is covering that up. Liberal bias, liberal bias, liberal bias. Constant liberal bias in the state run media.

    August 31, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  20. Roger

    You got to love the simple minded dope. He has been wrong on every decision he has made since 2000 but he is so dumb, he doesn't know he is dumb.

    August 31, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  21. Fenarkleman

    Did Cheney ever get it right? Then again, how long did he serve in Vietnam again? Oh, yeah, that's right. Zero. Zilch. Nada. That's about equal to his credibility.

    August 31, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. Steve in CT

    "official who asked to not be identified" taking pot shots. Kinda like the woman suing Google for obeying the judge who had them out her for terrorizing someone on the net. If you don't have the 'nads to have your name behind your attacks keep your mouth shut, sniper.

    August 31, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. Shibumi

    One other point, go to Fox News and see the picture of the Afgan voter whose nose was cut off by Al Queda because he was going to vote. Going to vote!
    Libutards and the Azz Clown think talking nice will persuade Al Queda to see our point of view. Send Dingle Barry for the first face to face with Al Queda.

    August 31, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. Gene

    Holder was chosen by Obama and works for Obama...

    More Democrat deceit

    August 31, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. Gary Chandler in Canada

    Whether or not 'results' were obtained from torture of combatants is NOT the question.
    The conclusion is that America has lost the moral 'high ground'.
    What could Cheney say, if he were the American President if American soldiers were tortured? <<< THAT is the question!

    August 31, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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