February 4th, 2009
12:38 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama making U.S. less safe, Cheney says

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/04/art.cheney.gi.jpg caption="Cheney said the Obama administration's policies are making the country less safe."]

(CNN) - The Obama administration's new policies on Guantanamo Bay prison and the treatment of detainees makes it more likely a terrorist attack against the United States will succeed, former Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday.

In an interview with Politico, the former vice president issued a stringent defense of the Bush administration's record on the war on terror, and said he worries the President Obama has already made the country more vulnerable.

Earlier: Cheney: Bush should have pardoned Libby

“When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,” Cheney said in the interview published Wednesday.

Cheney also predicted the Obama administration is likely to backtrack on its pledge to end coercive interrogation techniques, since the protection of the United States from terrorists is a "tough, mean, dirty, nasty business.”

"These are evil people. And we’re not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek," he said.

The blunt comments come two weeks after President Obama issued executive orders that will close Guantanamo Bay within a year, and shut down secret CIA prisons abroad. Obama also signed an executive order calling on U.S. personnel to follow the Army Field Manual's guidelines when it comes to interrogation.

Related: What's next for Guantanamo Bay detainees?

In the interview, Cheney suggested Obama was irresponsibly adhering to “campaign rhetoric,” and called Guantanamo Bay a “first-class program.”

Filed under: Dick Cheney • President Obama
soundoff (712 Responses)
  1. Chris


    I am going to listen to the war criminal, Dick Cheney, about how to win a war by violating human rights.

    Thanks for the input, DICK, but no thanks.

    February 4, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. Michael

    Jesus says that we can always "win" by turning the other cheek. I always find it amazing which parts of the bible Republicans like to focus on at any given time. (It is almost never, by the way, the whole thing!)

    February 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. jlynch

    Is he still alive? On Inauguration Day, he looked just like the wicked old banker in It's a Wonderful Life.

    Guess he's shopping for a book deal before he kicks it.

    February 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. RUTH


    February 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Sharon

    What a joke!!!! After lying the country into war, now he dictates to the one who will have to clean up the mess. Really, have you no shame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. Slacko

    Cheney's version of American paranoia was discredited over the past eight years, and his warning only serves as a reminder that he has learned nothing from his mistakes.

    Americans have matured well beyond Cheney. 2008 proved that.

    February 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Ben

    Former Vice President = irrelevant

    February 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Byron

    The world will be safe once people like Cheney are removed...

    February 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. Devin

    Cheney still doesn't get it. It's thinking like his that has given America such a terrible reputation, making blanket statements without analyzing what the causes behind these things are. It was the extensive labeling and use of the word "terrorist" itself that has led more to join these organizations. Obama has been clever to always use the word "Al-Qaeda" to show Middle Easterns that we have a specific target.

    America has demonized too many, and in turn has become demonized itself. The people who join terrorist organizations are led to believe that America is the enemy, and anti-Arab comments made by the former Bush administration were all too easy for terrorist leaders to pick out and use to gain followers. Here we have Obama finally making a step in the direction towards cooperation between the Middle East and America by showing them that we care about their people by closing Guantanamo and ending "coercive interrogation techniques", and yet people like Cheney still think that this move makes America less safe.

    How little you understand the dynamics Cheney...

    February 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. Brian

    Your thoughts are no longer needed or relevant, Dick. Enjoy retirement and just fade away.

    February 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Justin

    What else could Cheney say??? He has to defend his abuse of human rights and misleading of Bush or admit he is wrong. I understand we need to do many things to protect ourselves but come on.... torture not only yields bad info (under duress people will cop to any number of outlandish things to make the interrogation end), but plays directly into terrrorists desires to paint us as monsters and ramp up thier rolls of young people that are having thier religous desire twisted by Bin Laden and his ilk.

    February 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Andi

    Cheney said what? hoooahaahahahahhohohohoh
    Laughed so hard I nearly fell out of my chair. So he predicts Obama will change his mind and allow torture? Bet Cheney misses the good ol' days when he could torture people to get confessions then shoot a friend in the face and it would all be dismissed as a big OOOOPS

    February 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. Jim D. in Costa Mesa

    What would Dick Cheney know about keeping ANYONE safe? 9/11 happened on his watch. They were even warned with overwhelming evidence that the attack in the form of flying airliners into high rise buildings was coming and they STILL let it happen. And we all know about his famous quote about the Iraqi insurgency being in it's "death throes, if you will." And KBR female employees in Iraq face the possibility of getting raped by their American co-workers. Typical Dick!

    February 4, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. brian

    cheney made not onlty the u.s. less safe, but the entire world. his ideology bread thousands of terrorists. thanks a bunch, Dick.

    February 4, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. abc ~ anything but california hugh

    We do not need to listen to Mr. Dick "break whatever laws I deem necessary to protect America" Cheney. Bush and Cheney's doctrine have created far more enemies than they have ever killed, captured or incarcerated. The Cheney legacy is over, and this get drunk and shot my friend in the face dude needs to retire.

    February 4, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. Terri

    Satan the Devil Cheney is back from hell already? Go back, Satan and retire to you little hot space. The last person Obama needs advice from is a demon like you. Goodbye!!!

    February 4, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Not4MoreYears

    Can somebody please push Dr. Strangelove's wheelchair over a cliff and do us all a favor?

    February 4, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. CC from Chicago

    So if something were to happen. like another terrorist attack, it would be Barack's fault. But when it happened 9 months after Bush took office, it was Clinton's fault. Maybe Cheney is just preparing us for some missed Intel on their part. Gotta love the fear and hate mongering!!!!

    February 4, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. Darin Cole

    Who cares. Cheney is irrelevant.

    February 4, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Mike in Houston

    I agree. Obama is already being tested. He extended a hand to Iran and was rebuffed (Iran demanding an apology).

    Thus far, Obama has given more rights to terrorist than he has to newborns.

    February 4, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Just

    Dick Cheney, needs to just crawl under a rock and never raise is lying, stealing, cheating, self serving, old, useless, money grubbing, racist, wheel chair, no good, lack of sence and just never comment on anything but how to not shoot people. Each time I see his face I want to just cringe. His past administration made america less safe, they sacrificed over 4000 american soldiers not to mention the amount of lives ruined by sending our troops over their for long periods of times away from thier families, leaving this country, hated across the world and levels of unemployement at it highest. He needs to be like his former boss and just keep his mouth shut. PLAIN AND SIMPLE!

    February 4, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. Charlie Johnson

    No one alive has done more to make the world less safe for Americans than Dick Cheney. The Ugliest American has generated so much contempt for us among other nations that many Americans are afraid to travel abroad, and with good reason. I hope that the Obama administration can repair the damage this toxic toadstool of a man has caused by jettisoning every principle this country was founded on.

    February 4, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Tommy

    And it matters what this fool says anymore?

    February 4, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. Dale

    Cheney needs to shut up and go away never to be heard from again.
    He and his buddy Bush ran this country into the ground for the past eight years. He has no credibility to speak about anything to do with governing this country!

    February 4, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. rand sisk

    The "war on terror" is a scare tactic the Bush Administration dreamed up to justify their sick agendas. No one will question that Al Qaeda is evil but the same can be said about Bush and Cheney. Lets remember that the horror of 911 happened under their watch. I have faith that Obama's administration will take all threats seriously and handle them properly. Torturing captive prisoners that have never even been charged with a particular crime hardly resonates around the world as a preventative measure for terror. The bullying tactics of the Bush/Cheney days are over and we will resume a diplomatic approach to problem solving.

    February 4, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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