(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.
This draft dodging low life has balls to sport a flag lapel pin and call himself a patriot......He should be in Leavenworth for life!
Should work on run on sentences... Just saying
This man is patheic!
The devil talking about credibility. LMAO
Doesn't the fact that Cheney thinks it is a great program make you wonder seriously about Obama?
What the heck happened to the cool smart guy that was finally get people involved in govt?
He looks like a bitter, helpless old white guy with a really dark tan
Heck, he could be related to Cheney
Maybe Karl Rove and Dick Cheney are actually advising Obama from the basement of the White House.
They just throw in a few live puppies for them to feed on daily and they're good.
why would ANYTHING that darth cheney says be news? he has about as credibility as obama saying "i didn't know about it."
Has he ever said one good thing about The President even if its just congratulations on winning the election
Don't listen to him, President Obama. Dick Cheney is truly a dark and dishonorable man.
time to RE-OPEN the 9/11 "Investigation"....
time to RE-OPEN the 9/11 "Investigation"....
time to RE-OPEN the 9/11 "Investigation".....
cheney should crawl back into his hole and take that stupid hat off.
Who cares what Cheney has to say anymore.
Obama always does the opposite of what the majority wants. We dont want socialist health care, 13 million criminals legalized, more gun laws, gay marriage, etc.. I never seen a prez like him.
An American traitor. I will smile when Cheney finally passes.
Why does CNN keep reporting on the likes of Chaney and Palin?
DOES ANYONE CARE WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY?
They are both losers who just try to keep their names in the news so let Faux news report on them.
That's PRESIDENT Cheney to you
Dick Cheney questioning anybody's credibility is beyond belief. This barely-human life form was wrong about EVERY major prediction he made as Vice President. He has less than zero credibility. He's largely responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, a completely misguided war and the dismantling of America's economy and CREDIBILITY. The word "delusional" was invented for him. The stones on this man to critique anyone – incomprehensible!
Boy, Cheney has a major issue with Democrats. Anger managment therapy?
earlier on "Fox News"......now that is downright funny. Isn't this the the same guy who shot his friend while hunting and made a fortune from his companies entangled in the gulf war which they started?
Cheney head of Nazi SS!
War Criminal. Not too late to ship he and Shrub off to the Hague
Maybe Dick should address the issue that his former massive Government contract company, KBR-HALIBURTON, has cause hundreds of illnesses and many deaths for their outrageous burn pits that they were paid so lucratively to run within OSHA standards but denied to do so. Soldiers under the age of 40 have died from lung diseases, cancer, etc who never smoked and were physically fit. I for one who never smoked, have always been fit and in shape, now has to have lung biopsies performed to determine whats is showing up in my HIGH RES CT SCANS. Many heart workups, numerous Pulmonology doctors and now a outpatient of the National Jewish Respiratory Center in Denver. Why did the federal Judge dismiss our class action suit for the wrongful deaths and contamination by his former company? Why is it soldiers exposed and have issues are hidden, removed from military service, or dead? Lets not mention the other deaths caused by their greed. Maybe he should address the ill from his former company, the families of those who died ages 20-40 from rare cancer, lung issues, etc. Nope, we cannot sue (so said a federal judge in our class action law suit), we cannot complain, we just have to wait and die for serving our country. WE NEED A VOICE and WE NEED TO BE ON CNN, no different than him on CNN disrespecting the current COMMANDER in CHIEF (regardless if you like him) and telling how Obama has let us down. What about you MR CHENEY, LOOK ME AND OTHERS IN THE FACE WITH YOUR NEW HEART AND CARE while your bank account sits fat and lucrative and ours is dwindling.
Cheney is a criminal and should be prosecuted for war crimes. He has zero credibility of any kind other than being acrook.
Why can't chaney just shut up. The jerk has one foot in the grave and still running his mouth. Just shut up, no sane peoplebcare about your opinion you old crooked goat of a has been politician.
What makes Dick Cheney someone anyone would look to for an educated informative opinion on anything to do with anything???
I've never seen a vampire wearing a cowboy hat before. Is western apparel popular with the undead?