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. Stu-Florida

    These interrogations are somewhat useless with the likes of these wackos. These are sub human scum who strap on explosives and detonate in various public locations. What? You don't think some of these would rather suck a lung of water than give up anything? Easy for them...

    They'd rather die and be a martyer than give up info. Going to the illegal extreme makes us just like them in those ways. We've lost more credability in the world as "civilized example setters.

    August 31, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. Brian

    No one cares about Dick Cheney.

    August 31, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    It is simply a political exercise in demonization by the current sleazy admnistration and I would love to see them end up with egg all over them again. Sleaziest bunch to ever assume office in this country. Did you see the latest plot to take over the internet. This idiot is making Hugo Chavez look like he is an honest open politician.

    August 31, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Sandra

    Every Criminal has:

    1. The Right to speak in his / her Defense.

    2. Present Evidence in his / her Defense.

    3. Present Law in his / her Defense.

    So does Cheney has the Right to speak in his Defense.

    Speak Cheney Speak. We are hearing you. :P

    We will Prove Beyond Doubt, that Cheney is a Criminal.

    August 31, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Barry

    Obama has become irrelevant in such a short time...everything he does now is partisan and childish.

    What were his qualifications again? He has none...and it shows. No wonder he is being ridiculed and laughed at. I never thought Jimmy Carter could be topped...I was wrong.

    August 31, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Dont blame me

    It really makes you wonder who is running things doesn't it?

    I mean, Obama says one thing, Holder (who should be on trial himself for his atrocities while in the Clinton administration) says something else.

    It makes me wonder.

    August 31, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    It's not just the fact that Cheney never served in the military; it's that all the archtects of the Iraq War – Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rove, and many of their most vocal supporters like Limbaugh – all found ways to "defer" from serving.

    They didn't listen to General Colin Powell; Rumsfeld in particular, did not listen to the generals who told him that we would need a much larger force for the invasion and securing Iraq immediately after. They did finally come around to the notion that invading Iraq wouldn't be a "cakewalk," but not until things had totally gotten out of control and many thousands of lives had been lost.

    It's the arrogance and ego, lack of understanding and seeming incapability to admit, let alone learn, from his/their mistakes – and not just his lack of military service – that makes Cheney and his cronies so despicable.

    August 31, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. True Patriot - Home of the Brave

    I for one am happy they are investigating this dark episode in american history.

    I would rather die a proud nation, then remain a nation of cowards that would resort to the corrupt and un-christian practices that the terrorist nations of this world condone.

    Those who would sacrifice honor for life, do not deserve to be americans.

    PS: How did all of those other presidents guard against the terrorists with out resorting to such cowardly tactics as torture? Makes you wonder.

    August 31, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Carol

    Looks like Dick Chene is continuing in his pre-emptive defense.

    August 31, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. daniel

    I am amazed at how the law and order folks want to throw the book at their political opponents when they are in power but excuse the gross and obvious transgressions of their own. It's the "noose for the other guy but mercy for my own." And what is that but the situational ethics these same folks whine and snivel at all the time? Hypocrites.

    August 31, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. Kelby In Houston, Texas

    The Bush Administration should be tried for their various crimes against our nation and humanity, including;
    1. Starting a war on false premises
    2. Outing an undercover CIA agent who presented evidence that Iraq did not have WMDs. (THAT'S HIGH TREASON! I still can't get over that)
    3. TORTURE. years ago, we as American, from both ends of the political spectrum denounced torture. Now, only liberals view torture as a crime.

    August 31, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. American Voice

    This man belongs to DenHaag – as easy as this!

    August 31, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  13. Laurie in Spokane

    Cheney continues to dig a bigger hole for himself. He loves to hear himself talk, even though by doing so he just brings more attention to his crimes. The man belongs in jail.

    August 31, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. victim of republican greed

    I find it shocking that Glenn Beck's Beckerheads claim Glenn tells the truth. He is an entertainer who fires up the right wing nuts with lies and fear.

    August 31, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. John in WV

    Cheney should be doing what Bush is doing. Keeping your mouth shut is the best way to stay out of jail.

    August 31, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. Ezekial

    Funny how we do not pay attention to history and continue to repeat it. Ever heard the quote, "A country without a memory is a country of madmen." Evidently Cheney has learned and Obama and his minions have not and want to repeat are most resounding blunders.

    August 31, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. felicia

    mr cheney, needs to go away

    August 31, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. victim of republican greed

    Cheney is OK with interogators going beyond what was legal. Just remember that Obama wanted to move forward but the big Dick just had to keep his mouth running on Fox entertainment. It was Cheney's insistence on releasing documents that prove Dick is a liar.

    August 31, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. The black Spider

    Somebody ask a question earlier that is very interesting to ask the same wackos supporting this "war criminal, Constitution Abuser, Dictator". WHY DIDN'T HE RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2008 and defend his record and run on it if it was so good, clean and appealing?
    Only you right wing fools can think violating the Law and the constitution in the name of national security is the right thing to do.
    Only in America Cheney can still be out there talking.
    In 99.99% of civilized democraty he would have been in jail for lying to put soldiers in harm in Irak.

    August 31, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. Bill Sampson

    He is trying desperately to cover his own behind. That's all there is to it.

    August 31, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. truth shall set you free....still

    torture is a tool used by Incompetent Rulers.

    Let this fly, and we'll have state approved waterboarding/rendition rooms in every Police station in our cities , towns and rural areas.

    Say yes to Cheney, Say Yes to torture, Say Yes to your children. Torture OK.

    No trial because there was no crime. The Justice Dept still belongs to the President.....Bush and Cheney made it that way.

    And We are now a lawless nation, Run by children.

    August 31, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. American Voice

    Mr. Chaney, why are you so nervous?

    Are you afraid the probe will find something you did against the law of the United States?

    The purpose of the probe is just to find out whether anyone did anything against the law of the United States that all US citizens are obligated to follow. So why you are against that sounds suspecious to me already.

    August 31, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Nicole

    Guys like "Barry" et al need to do some research before posting because they look like fools. The Attorney General by law IS the top person in charge of law enforcement:

    The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice (see 28 U.S.C. § 503) concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government.

    You're entitlted to your own opinions, not your own facts.

    August 31, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. Leonard

    Cheney is wrong as always.

    WE ARE A NATION OF LAWS WITH LAWS THAT EVERYONE HAS TO FOLLOW. NO MATTER WHAT.

    I wish that President Obama would support this and not leave the AG on his own. Thank you AG Holder. Keep doing your job. President Obama I still got your back but I disagree with you on this.

    August 31, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. Sick of the GOP

    Cheney – five deferments, I believe? Sounds like somebody didn't want to get their feet wet in Vietnam. Consider the source.

    August 31, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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