Cheney defends NSA, calls Obama's credibility 'nonexistent'
June 16th, 2013
03:12 PM ET
10 months ago

Cheney defends NSA, calls Obama's credibility 'nonexistent'

(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.


Filed under: Dick Cheney • NSA • President Obama
soundoff (359 Responses)
  1. Darlene Buckingham

    Cheney is a war criminal – Cheney lies – Aspartame is a dangerous drug. Men like Cheney have earned their money through means that have harmed people. Why is CNN continuing to quote men like Cheney, We say NO more lies, NO more corruption. We are better than this. Cheney believes that it is OK to make money by murdering, lying cheating. Sorry – It is not OK and many people know better and are doing better.

    June 16, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. Vad

    Guess what, I don't like Cheney, Obama or the NSA. Does that make me wrong?

    June 16, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. rosethornne

    Oh, Darth Cheney disapproves of the current (legitimately elected) President.

    President Obama is simply crushed. Crushed, I tell you.

    June 16, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. well

    worst criminals write the law, and call their crimes "legal".
    worst thieves own the money-printing machine and buy up everything with their "free" money.
    ugliest media hos for money and power call the whistle-blowers "traitors"
    we the people let them do so, so the real shame is on US.
    repeat after me, BAAAAAAAAA

    June 16, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  5. Phil Thomas

    If you want proof right wing think tanks like the heritage foundation pay folks to troll message boards and call into talk radio. Look at the message boards on the weekends and the comments. Why don't they just let Darth go off into his cave and keep him off the airwaves

    June 16, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Robert

    Apparently he wants it both ways. The problem is all those ignorant enough to buy it.

    June 16, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    That new Pig heart he got just made him even more evil.

    The man, and W both belong in PRISON.

    June 16, 2013 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  8. Jimbob

    Since when does Cheney have any credibility?

    He's still saying that Iraq had WMD's.

    June 16, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  9. omeany

    If Cheney is for the NSA we should revamp it immediately. And while we're on the subject of Cheney...why are we still listening to ANYTHING any member of the Bush Administration has to say? Haven't they brought us enough misery?

    June 16, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  10. Bob

    Apparently Cheney's heart implant didn't work.

    June 16, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  11. elucidated1

    There is no way you can defend the NSA Patriot Act and NOT support Obama on it. You can't have it both ways, Dick.

    June 16, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  12. TLORop

    Cheney is credible? Didn't he get drunk and shoot is lawyer in the face and wait like 6 hours to report it? Didn't he claim that he knew for a fact that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Didn't he receive a multi-million dollar severance package from Halliburton when he was elected and then award Halliburton a huge no bid contract in Iraq?

    Cheney – credibility = ZERO

    June 16, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  13. James

    Will Cheney just depart Mother Earth for his own Planet?

    June 16, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. duffyvail

    Cheney supports Seir Obama. So cool

    June 16, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. Russell

    This is the cyborg version of this klingon right?

    June 16, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. Dennis

    I suggest that we all follow former President George W. Bush and ignore Dick Cheney. Cheney did not serve his country or president well.

    June 16, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. hammer

    I believe Dick would tell all ya to kiss his rear.He is one man who doesn't care what you think of him.

    June 16, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. Lexagon

    I *LOVE* it when Cheney takes time away from his busy Tormenting-the-Souls-of-the-Damned business to cast aspersions on somebody else's credibility. He keeps doing it and it's comedy gold every time. =oD

    June 16, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. Sheldon

    Dear God, thank you for saving us from Cheney. We learned well that our great nation was going down hill
    when Bush is the President and Dick the Vice President.

    June 16, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. Dave

    He described Snowden as a traitor....I guess it takes one to know one. He did out Valerie Plum, I believe, didn't he.

    June 16, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. Thinkergal

    "People who live in glass houses ...." Cheney should avoid talking about credibility, as it causes us to recall his own lack thereof. BTW, the old guy is lookin' pretty bad, cowboy hat and all.

    June 16, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  22. Marie MD

    Because if anyone knows anything about credibility is the heartless war criminal drunk friend shooter.
    Why is he even giving an opinion on everything? Didn't he do enough harm to the country to last generations?

    June 16, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  23. Pete

    Cheney of all people to ask and does he know anything about credibility,I doubt it..He and Bush hanging Valerie Plame a CIA operative out in public making the agent now a sitting target after her husband Amb.Wilson told truths about the Iraq war and Africa..Cheney the man of many faces with Halliburtons no bid contracts as logistics lead in the Iraq war raking in billions in the war created by some of his lies..Scooter Libby taking the fall for Bushs ,Cheneys leaking classified info and Libby taking the rap for it and doing jail time in Plamegate...Cheney getting a heart transplant when in all actuality he never had one at all to start with!!Cheney interviewed months ago by HBO and saying if he could change anything would he and he replied no and said if he could do it all over again he wouldn't change a thing,what arrogence,how pathedic but remember republicans its your president ,vice president that'll go down in history as the worst pair of politicians ever to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and you ignorents know it!!!

    June 16, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  24. kg

    I love how the Democrats responding here are incapable of even considering the possibility that Obama's administration is corrupt. I typically vote Republican, but had nothing but disdain for Cheney when he was in office. He's as crooked as they come as is evidenced by the no bid contracts given to Haliburton during the Iraq war. However, Obama appears to be setting a new standard for corruption regarding the use of Government assets to protect his political backside. Let's have INDEPENDENT investigations into the IRS, NSA and Bengahzi scandals rather than letting Obama fire a few people and assure us that he'll take care if it. Talk about letting the fox run the henhouse, yet Democrats seem perfectly happy to let it happen.

    June 16, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  25. stevetall

    Takes one to know one, Dick. When it comes to modern-day war criminals, it's hard to beat the Cheney-Bush legacy. If that guy could only grow a pair of his own, instead of being the best example of what money can do to corrupt an individual so completely, it would be refreshing. At this point, however, tar and feathers are too good for him.

    June 16, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
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