(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.
why is this vampire allowed to be in the news? he's done enough damage over his 8774837834 years and 764 administrations.
The security law is not the issue, the misuse of application, for political purposes, is the big issue, and the wholesale application of spying on everyone in America, is the biggest issue of all.
What is Cheney doing on a Sunday talk show when he should be in The Hague answering for his war crimes and crimes against humanity. He's despicable.
Where's Nellie Belle?
Y'all are just mad cause a real American and patriot had the courage to point the finger of blame where it belongs. Squarely on the head of our socialist dictator... err President.
We don't need no OBAMANATIONS...............
Steve: you wrote "How do you know when Dick Cheney is lying? His lips are moving."
I totally disagree. Cheney was extremely gifted AT&T certain things. I truly believe he is capable of lying even without moving his lips.
Sorry, auto correct – for some reason "at" became AT&T...
he is NSA.....
Put this murdering creep in prison where he belongs along with The Shrub, lice, Bummy and the rest of their crew, make America a better and safer place, prosecute them.
Once again Slick Dick has lived up to my opinion of him as someone who I love and hate at the same time. However, there is no Benghazi Scandal aside from what the republicans are manufacturing and as for the IRS "scandal" is it so hard to believe that they investigate a group that is anti-tax to make sure they are up to snuff?
This man is probably the primary reason so many Americans are cynical about their country. The man probably doesn't travel abroad much, as he'd be tried for war crimes and hung by his thumbs somewhere. Hopefully.
Even Bush is disgusted with Cheney.
Just to pile on the consensus, we don't care what the most evil, reviled VP of all time thinks about anything.
Anybody care what Cheney thinks about anything? He is scum. The TPs might care, not real Americans.
Cheney wants to lecture Obama on credibility ? The white hat and the American flag pin need to be removed , the Devil himself in disguise . We won't be fooled again.
Why hasn't this man been convicted of crimes against the American people for selling us out for Halliburton's profit?
Dick Cheney for president!!
Could there be a more despicable person on the face of the planet than Dick Cheney??? The fact that he even makes comments like this just shows how out of touch with reality he is. He and "W" should have to answer for their actions but that will never happen...
Cheney is the epitome of evil.....how does he even have a voice in an matters. The economy as it stands now is a direct result of the Bush administration's policies. Cheney shut up!
Is that the same former Vice President who said on TV that the Iraqis would welcome us as liberators? Is he the same VP that spoke of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that did not really exist? Tell me again, who's credibility is non existent?
Cheyney made millions as an officer and stockholder of the corrupt defense contracts to Halliburton and said his relinquished association with that company was legal. That is a magnaminous lie typifying all the garbage that spews from his mouth. He is the most corrupt officer in the Bush presidencies including GHW \Bush He should be silenced and ostracized from the airwaves and jailed
"The current IRS has no credibility whatsoever. We had a better one. So citizens should be paying their taxes directly to me." -Dick Cheney.
Dick Cheney and George Bush should have served time in jail, period. Incredibly, he still weighs in on issues as if anyone is listening.
Boy That's rich ! Coming from a war profiteer and someone that should be in prison right now for war crimes.
Dick cheney is a convicted war criminal...Lets hand him over.