Washington (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney either "willfully mischaracterized" President Barack Obama's terrorism policies or is "ignorant of the facts," Obama's anti-terrorism czar said Sunday.
In comments on "FOX News Sunday" and NBC's "Meet the Press," John Brennan - the deputy national security adviser who is Obama's assistant on homeland security and counterterrorism - said partisan sniping diverts attention from the terrorists trying to harm the country.
Last week, Cheney said Obama had made the nation less safe by pretending there was no war against terrorists. Cheney, who spoke after the failed Christmas Day terrorist bombing of a U.S. airliner, was a main driver of the previous administration's controversial anti-terrorism policies.
Obama has ended or scaled back some of those policies, and Brennan said Sunday that critics were wrong to question the president's resolve.
"It's disappointing to me that either the vice president and others have willfully mischaracterized President Obama's position and actions, or they're just ignorant of the facts," Brennan said on the FOX program.
A former CIA agent who has served five administrations, Brennan said Obama's commitment to national security and fighting terrorism matched any other leader he has known.
Brennan said the unwarranted criticism "made people lose sight of who the real enemy is here."
"Al Qaeda has been responsible for the deaths of many, many Americans," Brennan said. "At this time right now, after this failed attempt, I think what we have to do is to think back after 9/11 when this country came together, when Democrat and Republican said, 'We have to make sure that we are able to stop al Qaeda from carrying out its acts of terrorism and trying to murder innocent civilians.' "