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. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    Figures Cheney and his cronies would falsely believe that the President is the top law enforcement officer...that is why they thought they could do whatever they wanted to do during the Bush era. We have a president in plaxce now that actually knows, understands, and follows the Constitution and laws of the land. What a novel concept!

    August 31, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. Evan

    First Bush and Cheney fill the Justice Dept with cronies who make up law to support horrendous, ill-conceived policies such as torture. Then when they are seen to be doing illegal and unjust things (such as torture) they fall back on the cronies they installed. Isn't the Justice Dept supposed to be an independent branch of government? Is anyone surprised that when the Bush Administration was in power their justice department (lower case) absolved them of any wrongdoing?? Of course we should take another look at this with a real independent judiciary.

    August 31, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. Steve (the real one)

    Although the "Chaney never served in Uniform" has nothing to do with
    this. Somebody please show us pitcures of Pres Obama in uniform. Any uniform.. boy scouts, McDonald's, whatever! For that matter Clinton never served either. Silly arguments!

    August 31, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. Tom L

    You can't have it both ways. You blamed George Bush and Dick Cheney when his Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez fired the lawyers. Now you want to say that the decision to prosecute is Holder's decision, and his alone. This is political grandstanding at its finest, and it's putting American lives in danger. Just pathetic.

    August 31, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. SC

    The Judiciary Act of 1789 created the Office of the Attorney General which evolved over the years into the head of the Department of Justice and chief law enforcement officer of the Federal Government.

    "Commander in Chief" is a military title. It means he leads the military, demokansas.

    August 31, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. NClaw441

    If the administration official refuses to be named, why should he/she be believed?

    August 31, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Buffalo

    Cheney: Wrong then, wrong now. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

    August 31, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. vic nashville , Tn

    Why Cheney didn’t run for president in 2008 ? He didn’t want to take the heat

    Now he criticizing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what a joke

    August 31, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. MCD, SF, CA

    Cheney is a meglo-manic who thinks that ONLY HE knows what is best for this country. As for the citizens? They should just shutup, sit down, and keep quiet. He knows all the answers and how dare anybody question him!!!

    It took Bush a few years to figure it out but even he finally realized there was a problem and then he gave Cheney the cold shoulder and stopped taking his advice.

    August 31, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I guess eight years is not enough for Cheney whom FOX must have on their payroll given the number of interviews he has done since leaving office. Another irritant is his mouthpiece daughter who spews the same nonsense her father does on every station possible. Please Dick retire peacefully and take your family with you.

    August 31, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. mjm

    Some of you are acting like Cheney is in trouble here. Not so much.

    It's the men and women of the CIA that are being investigated for political reasons.

    Cheney is sticking up for the servicemen of the CIA.

    Nothing will come of this. It's all politics and most Americans are sick of it.

    August 31, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. D. Tree

    Stealing can make you rich, but that doesn't mean you should do it. The same can be said for Torture.

    The only reason Cheney is speaking out is because he is scared for his own hide! Obama and GWB both can't stand him, and they are ready to throw him under the bus!

    I think Cheney deserves it frankly.

    August 31, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. Randolph Carter

    It's simple really:
    Did we torture? Yes.
    Was torture legal at the time? No.
    Whoever authorized the use of torture broke the law.
    Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.
    Have a nice day!

    August 31, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    Is there any difference between a convicted criminal in prison saying he's innocent and Dick Cheney in an undisclosed location saying that the crimes he authorized weren't crimes?

    Cheney is just another shameless and reckless leader of an increasingly irrelevant Republican Party.

    August 31, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. Barry

    Cheney was right right: Article 2, Section 3, describing the duties and responsibilities of the president, does contain the provision that, "…he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed…" which obviously makes the president the chief law enforcement officer of these United States. Not the U.S. Attorney General, the chief prosecutor for the U.S.

    August 31, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. nea

    D. Cheney knew that he did wrong because why after 8 yrs i never heard from him but now he wants to show his face, Yeah that makes sense for him to say the Obama Administration is making the country less safe that takes the heat off him and makes people wonder.He know he broke the law and anyone who tries to defend him is callin wrong right. As far as President Obama is concern i feel he dont want this so why he says the administration is playing polictics i dont know. Eric holder is just doing his job if you are wrong you are wrong.

    August 31, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    If Bush and the Republicans were/are so concerned about al Qaeda, then why did they ignore the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing that explicitly stated that al Qaeda was determined to attack the U.S. using airplanes? The memo was entitled, "Bin Laden determined to strike in US."

    Why did the Bush Administration ignore all the intelligence and information from the Clinton transition team about the threat from al Qaeda? And why did Bush let the capture of bin Laden become such a low priority?

    Renaming prisoners of war "enemy combatants" is simply a word game that was used by the Bush Administration to exempt them from the Geneva Convention. Despicable, at best, and showing contempt for our military and legal traditions.

    August 31, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. Steve (the real one)

    Thisi i grade school stuiff:

    The Legislative branch writes the law
    The Judical branch interprets the law
    The Executive branch enforces the. As the President is the head of the Executive branch, he is the Chief law enforcement official, NOT the AG!

    August 31, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. kgeukes

    Mr. Cheney is acting like he's still in charge (which he was when his brother was Prez) but I have awful news for him....he's not!!!!! Get over it and shut up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 31, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Barry

    Wrong after 8 years?

    How many terrorist attacks on U.S. soil in that time? What happened? Terrorist took a 8 year vacation from America? You liberals are amazing...you talk out of both sides of your mouth.

    August 31, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. Peace

    The Attorney General is the Law Enforcement Officer and not the President.
    I was expecting Chenney fully to know this, or he is pretending not to know!

    August 31, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. Barry

    Evidently the constitution disgarees with:

    They were right: Article 2, Section 3, describing the duties and responsibilities of the president, does contain the provision that, "…he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed…" which obviously makes the president the chief law enforcement officer of these United States. Not the U.S. Attorney General, the chief prosecutor for the U.S.

    August 31, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. center left

    Chenney is a liar, liar pants on fire! The Republicans party has build their message on lies and now they come home to roost!

    August 31, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. Sean

    Only one thing needs to be said in my opinion, which is that Cheney is the most dangerous thing to have happened to our country in generations. He's acted outside of the law, and in a recklessly irresponsible way that he should be held accountable for. Rot in jail you slime bag.

    August 31, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Melissa

    Cheney knows he's going to go to jail if they continue to investigate. Thats why he's so defensive. If he didn't have anything to hide, he'd keep his mouth shut.

    August 31, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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