(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.
That babe-in-the-woods Snowden has to be put back in his crib and kept there. Otherwise, he'll destroy his right to betray us all.
Poor Cheney, neither of his hearts have been able to pump enough blood to his brain so that it thinks rationally. Really, a man who has zero credibility judging another person. That makes him a bad Christian too
The only reason Cheney is defending NSA is because HE is tha architect of the program. Cheney is a laugh talking about anyones crediibility after the Bush regimes lies, deceit, coverup, etc. Someone died because Cheney received a heart instead of them, because he got special priority. Cheney is a evil man.
Cheney–terrible excuse for a human being.
who allowed Dick Cheney to talk about credibility and i hope he understands what that means. He should not be allowed any newsroom or given any interviews. He started this political polarization and country is still deeply divided because him and carl rowe. I hope new media doesn't talk to this guy anymore.
VP Cheney is among the finest straight shooters in politics. He is not afraid to call the baby ugly when necessary. The whole WMD argument may not have been the wisest move, but there was evidence, though manufactured at the time, that left little choice as what had to be done. I am a leaner to the left on all of his party decisions, but respect his consistency through the decades.
What a joke! Cheney talking about credibility! He has absolutely NO credibility. He is one of the biggest, sleaziest liars in history. what a horrible man.
Republicans should tell Cheney to shut up. Every time he goes on camera a little angel commits suicide.
"Cheney said he believed the programs could have prevented 9/11 if they had been in place before the attack." O.K. That's very nice. Then Amerika doesn't invade Iraq, doesn't even invade Afghanistan, maybe a few cruise missiles to attack terrorist training sites. Saddam Hussein is still President of Iraq. Kaddhafi is still marginally running Libya. No Crusade to Reform Islam; no problem. Ahhh, the Good Old Days.The world has not changed.
Great comments! I fully agree with Cheney. All you liberals bad mouthing him, go get a job!! Such hypocrites! Obama tricked you all. It's so satisfying to see the worst administration in the history of our country squirm for breathing room. Now lets get rid of Obamacare and we can still salvage this great country from impending bankruptcy.
Really? Cheney? Not Mr. Evil himself?
If we are at war, where's the declaration? Is "authorisation" some new legal precedent?
Me. Chaney talks about credibility, really, seriously...you can tell he is lying cause his lips are moving.
I just vomited on my keyboard.
Cheney would sell his mother for a profit or a headline. He has no credentials or believe ability. He was just the puppet master for 8 years because Bush couldn't wipe his butt
Right – Cheney, the greatest liar of the 21st century, who masterminded the fraud that justified the worst foreign policy blunder in US history, the guy who manipulated the intelligence establishment to ensure that it gave Bush what Cheney wanted him to have, the guy who made sure the great yellowcake con was not revealed until it was too late, says Obama has no credibility. Josef Goebbels calls someone a liar.
LOL! why are they still interviewing Cheney?.. Mr. master of irrelevancy himself....and wow! I wasn't aware he was still alive. Ahh the wonders of medicine.
Well, if the war criminal says Obama has no credibility, it must be true!
Dick isn’t a liar, he is just completely delusional.
Oh, right. Dick Cheney, the guy who masterminded the fraud that justified the Iraq war, who bullied the CIA into making sure Bush got the intelligence Cheney wanted him to, says Obama has no credibility. The greatest liar of the 21st century, the psychopathic fanatic who brought about the greatest foreign policy blunder in American history, accuses Obama of dishonesty.
He was the architect of the Iraqi blunder, and the fabricator of "WEAPONS OF MASS DISTRUCTION." You mean of MASS DISTRACTION. He should shut-up!! I cannot think of anyone who's credibility is lower than that of this liar!
Cheney: All hat, no cattle.
Dick Cheney shouldn't be talking about credibility. He should actually be in a Hague tribunal as we speak.
And we paid for his heart when our service men and woman come home maimed...go away no body cares what you have to say!
Cheney, Bush 42, Obama and Biden all need to be arrested for being peeing toms. They are spying on you, me, your mother, your children, everyone; whatever it takes for them to get their perverted jollies. These are the same 'leaders' who force everyone to get felt up before boarding a plane. They are perverts and they belong in prison with the other perverts.