(CNN) – Former Vice President Dick Cheney vehemently defended the National Security Agency surveillance programs that started under President George W. Bush but argued the current administration has lost credibility.
"Part of the problem is the administration's credibility - because of Benghazi and the IRS scandal - is less effective. Nonexistent, if you will, when you get over to the NSA program, which ought to be defended," he told CNN.
Asked if he agreed with Obama on the need to carry out the surveillance programs, Cheney said he's not looking "to defend President Obama" but maintained the operation that was set up in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is a "very good program."
"I think it's run by first-rate professionals. I think it's important to separate out that program from the scandals that they've got at IRS and Benghazi and so forth," he said. "It's done great work, it has saved lives - stopped attacks against the United States - and it's vital to continue."
Obama's administration has forcefully defended the surveillance programs against some strong public backlash ever since the existence of the programs was leaked earlier this month. The NSA has played defense on its operations, which include collecting phone records and information from major Internet companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo.
Among those upset about the program were many Democrats, who had concerns about privacy.
"They probably were angry about it when we were running it too," Cheney said. "But it's a good, solid program, and it needs to be treated as such."
Earlier on "Fox News Sunday," Cheney said he believed the programs could have prevented 9/11 if they had been in place before the attack.
Referring to lawmakers who disagree with the program, the former vice president argued that two thirds of the representatives in Congress today weren't in office on 9/11.
"The reason we got into it was because we've been attacked," he said. "There's going to be another attack, and they'll have deadlier weapons than ever before. We've got to consider the possibility of a nuclear device or biological agent. We made the decision based on 9/11 that we no longer had a law enforcement problem - we are at war."
"And that puts you in the category of using your military assets, your intelligence assets and so forth to protect the country against another attack," he continued.
Cheney also described Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked the information, as a "traitor."
"I think it's one of the worst occasions in my memory of somebody with access to classified information doing enormous damage to the national security interests of the U.S.," he said.
Asked if he thought Snowden was spying for China, Cheney said he was "deeply suspicious."
"It's not a place you would ordinarily want to go if you're interested in freedom, liberty and so forth, so it raises questions whether or not he had that kind of connection before he did that," he said.
In point of fact, Richard Armitage outed Valerie Plame. Dick Cheney had nothing to do with it. Anyway, just be glad Obama is continuing to spy on all of you. You need it, you stupid serfs.
How could CNN even post this traitor's opinion....he is a disgusting human being.
The only defense I can give this jerk is that contrary to what several of these commenters have said, it was Richard Armitage, Colin Powell's assistant and best friend, who admitted the he accidentally outed Valerie Plame.
Dick,come out from behind FOX News and answer some hardball questions. Chris, your father is spinning. You did everything but kiss his ring!
Cheyney hat is non existent. The republican party is the worst.
No one cares what you think, Dick. Please just go back to your undisclosed location.
Cheney... wearing a cowboy hat you betrayed your country. How credible are you? How do you sleep at nights after all that you have done to this country.
At least now please keep quite and do not air out opinions and mislead public.
some people never learn
That he got a heart transplant while others were and are still waiting is proof that the devil takes care of his own.
Mr. Dick "I Shot My Friend In A Hunting Accident And Nothing Happen" Cheney.......sir, would you please just roll over and DIE??? You are such a pathetic excuse for a human being. Are you still calling all your cronies in D.C., and addressing yourself as, "hi, this is Dick Cheney, Vice President"? You idiot!!! Your HATRED towards President Obama is so obvious clear that it is no longer funny nor is it news. I am so happy that when you die......you will DIE with President Obama on your mind. Do you really think you will leave a legacy behind for others to marvel? Do you really think all the millions of $$$ you have made, it will keep you from death? Buddy, your time is up.....move on. Like I mentioned earlier, please roll over and die.....the Devil awaits you.
Conversely, it could be said that I support our security and surveillance systems and not Dick Cheney. There are those who shall not have a fulfilled life. There are those who are predisposed to hatred and an angry mind. There are those who find hungry ghost haunting their dreams. One never steps into the same river twice. Lose the hat, it is meant for men.
"Credibility" and "Dick Cheney" do not belong in the same sentence. Dick Cheney wouldn't know what honesty is if it bit him on the butt.
R/U serious! It is probably the "Chenenyesque" mentality that was the impetus for Snowden's actions. It is less about the current status of the program as it is the trajectory of such governmental capabilities. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. If left in the hands of Cheney this would become America's worst Orwellian nightmare. He is a caricature of the of the evil dictator with unbridled power to enter in to everyone's home under the rationalization of a perpetual state of fear and war. He is a deeply disturbed narcissist who is grandiose. He truly sees the American people as sheep. I challenge anyone to defend him. He was responsible for outing spies, war crimes, nepotism , exempting big oil and gas from EPA , Superfund reputation. etc etc..
What does this heartless fool know about credibility?
These rethugs are like bad pennies. They keep coming back time and again talking about nightmares they created and trying to blame somebody else or just plain gibberish and hate and stupid!
If Mr Cheney was put on mute mode, he'd continue to deliver his contemptuous message via that trademark sneer.
Yes, after all these years, the medium is still the massage.
i really don't think this man has anything anyone wants to hear, he was not worth listening to when he was in office and he is definitely not worth listening to now. go have yourself a metamucil shot with a ensure chaser. and take a shot at that guy in the mirrior.
I don't agree with Cheney on much, but he is right about Obama's lack of credibility.
To those that are using examples of why Cheney should not be trusted are proving exactly why Obama can't be trusted.
Pointing out reasons not to trust Cheney do not deflect from why we shouldn't trust this administration. They only enhance why we shouldn't trust any of them.
With Obama's poll numbers , CNN had to give a little red meat to Dutch, Sniffit and Dominican. It's gotta be depressing to see how much Obama has lost the independent voters.
You really brought em to the trough with this story CNN. Bash the Bush admin all you want, what we have is not any better.
Cheney is the closest thing to Satan since Hitler.
Cheney and Sarah Palin have no difference. Both have loose mouths. Oh! I forgot one more person . Also his daughter Liz Cheney.
I love lib justification. "Barry stinks, but not as bad as this guy".
Why are you still publishing the comments of this traitor ?
This huevon has the nerve to surface and give his worthless opinion about anything or anyone when he should be in jail.
whats with the cowboy hat