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. JP

    I'm not really sure why Cheney's opinion would be sought by anyone on political matters, given his former administration's track record. But, I suppose this is likely a way for Cheney to supply a foundation for "I told you so" later on down the road, in the unfortunate event of another attack on the U.S. It is a bit astonishing that, again, his opinion would be sought and/or be considered news, given his former administration's actions. I worry that people's amnesia might set-in over time, and they may think to themselves, "Gee, Bush and Cheney weren't such bad guys". That type of memory loss could lead to people thinking that Guantanamo wasn't such a bad place, after all–nevermind the torture, rendition, etc.–and that maybe it should've been kept open. People just need to continue to educate themselves and rely on their own memories of the Bush years. I know that, for most of us, those years were filled with fear, worry, disappointment and dread, and Cheney is the poster-child of that time. Just something to think about.

    February 4, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. Dan

    Dick, you are right. This new guy in the White House does not know what he is doing. His advisers also are useless, they need their paycheck at the end of the day. They do not care for our country. Actually Barack knows nothing. No experience at all, NADA.

    February 4, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. John

    Why doesn't that fat bastard go off and die.

    February 4, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. 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 |
  5. Tim

    "Those Who Would Sacrifice Liberty for Security Deserve Neither." -Franklin

    February 4, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Reality Check

    For a FAILURE, Cheney sure has a lot to say. Thanks to him and his fellow neocons, America was attacked on 9/11. Cheney, Wolfowitz and Pearl were too busy daydreaming about invading Iraq to keep their eyes on the actual intelligence that spelled out an attack on our soil using airplanes. DUH! 3,000+ lives lost due to INCOMPETENCE.

    Then, the NEOCONS invade Iraq to secure the country's oil supply for U.S. oil companies (part of Cheney's "secret" energy policy?). Result: 4,000 dead U.S. military due to GREED.

    Besides, did Cheney check with LOSER Limbaugh, the real head of the RNC/GOP, before he made his statements to the Politico Hack?

    February 4, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Neal

    Dick Cheney is one of the most overrated human beings on the planet.
    He is like Bush in that he only succeeded at one thing, and generally screwed up every other thing that he has done.
    The one thing he succeeded at, he cheated. They lost the 2000 election and only were appointed President by a friendly Supreme Court–boy that needs to be investigated–and the state in which Jeb was governor. Maybe it was coincidence that he won, but if you believe that I'll sell you my house for what I paid for it.

    February 4, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. Trollmaster

    Cheney has zero credibility. He was one of the main voices that told us that Iraq was a threat, he was dead wrong, why believe him now?

    February 4, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. Teresa

    So we lower ourselves to their level? That's a big statement from someone Americans believe to be a big hand in a "failed" administration. I have more pride and respect for my country.

    February 4, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. Amanda

    Didn't he shoot someone?

    February 4, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. mike

    Is he trying to help Obama? This guy is a moron, and anyone who speaks ill of will skyrocket in public opinion.

    February 4, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Sara K

    What gives this despicable piece of human garbage the right to call someone "evil"?

    Hello, Kettle? This is Pot. You're black!

    Why can't this decrepit old man just fade into obscurity where he belongs?

    February 4, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. BGko

    Cheney's willingness to stoop to the low level of the terrorists in order to combat them just shows how very shallow-minded the previous administration was. If we can't show ourselves to be better than them, then they have already won.

    February 4, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Shepp

    Cheney??? You have GOT to be kidding... this idiot designed a foriegn policy that CREATED more hate to the US than at any other time since the Pilgrims landed and the great "Indan" wars of the 1800's.

    Dick you you would have been perfect in Custer's army....oh yeah...you were the advisor...

    Aren't you going to jail BTW?

    You should.
    From a real patriot.

    February 4, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Elsee

    Yo, Cheney. Shut up and go away.

    February 4, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. M. Martin

    Geez Cheney, just shut up already, your time is up! We lived through 8 years of your BS and fear mongering. It's time the US moves back to being honorable again. I don't think anyone has said quit being tough on terrorism, just that torturing potentially innocent people IS NOT the America way and never has been. Honesty and respect will gain the same from the rest of the world. Refining the abilities of our intelligence community will help us deal with terrorism.

    February 4, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. georgia

    Mr. Cheney is apparently unable to find any space betwen torture and "turning the other cheek," a cognitive and imaginative faiure that helps explain much about the past eight years,

    February 4, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. EC

    Wow... Cheney, you truly are an idiot. Advise coming from a War Criminal who pushed the war in IRAQ so your company (Halliburton) could get stinking filthy RICH, RICH, RICH off the blood of 5000+ American soilders!

    There was NEVER any WMDs, there was NEVER any threats from Iraq.

    Please SHUT UP and go away. Unlike Bush and yourself, President Obama is FAR more competent and intelligent than the likes of you.

    February 4, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. L Silva

    Who is this man? We barely saw him after 9/11! We had to be reminded he was the VP since he rarely appeared in public or next to the President! The country has been safer and always needs to be vigilant...terrorists are an ugly breed but so are people who call themselves patriots and have done nothing to make this country safer from economic disaster and are only interested in their own agendas- oil, oil, oil!

    Take a hard look at yourself Mr Cheney and consider the state of the US position in the world amongst its allies etc...you certainly had a hand in that debacle and hopefully President Obama can make it right again!
    Thoroughly disgusted

    February 4, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. lb

    This is the first time I have followed politics so closely. Mainly because of the economic situation we are in and because of our standing in the world today. I am amazed at all the scare tactics the Republicans are using such as the Cheney comments and comments by Hanity, Beck and Rush. It is so devisive. Talk about politics as usual. Are the Republicans Americans? I am also very disappointed in some of the Democrats behavior also. I guess I am too ignorant to think that Congress would come together for the good of us and the US. And then, maybe this is the way it has always been and you hope after all the name calling and scare tactics, Congress will come together and get something done.

    February 4, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. Dave

    DICK CHENEY IS CORRECT! The terrosists are breathing a sigh of relief now that NOBAMA is in! Will you publish this CNN since it doesn't fit your mold?

    February 4, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. will

    Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, whether you like him or not, he's right. All of Obama's rhetoric will sound great until we get hit again.

    February 4, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. Bob Sakowski

    Cheney (and Bush) have done more to make America unsafe thatn anyone in our history.

    I am amazed that the media would listen to any balderdash that this war criminal has to say.

    Unless, of course, it was during his trial.

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. ellington7

    This foolish, pathetic man can't keep his dumb mouth shut can he. It's obvious that cheney could care less about his country by saying things like this. He want's our president to fail which means he wants the country to fail. Republicans only care about being in control, so now that their not, they want to continue the manupulation, and scare tactics they used to hurt us for the last eight years to in some way lead us to question and doubt the very people that a majority of the country voted for. Whether if it's the republicans in congress who will say "NO" to everything the president wants to do to help us, or Rush Limbaugh who blatantly said he wanted the president to fail, or now Dick Cheney who's trying to scare people into questioning Obama's judgement at a time when we need to feel confident about our leaders judgement. No matter what it is the republicans want to hurt this country, but we the people will not fall for this dangerous rethoric again. We are finished with listening to the pathetic republican, and I'll tell you something else. While the republicans are trying to figure out what direction they want to go as a party by doing things to hurt our country, seeing if they can stir up problems through their lies and disent, and gain a following, they will be shocked to see that the american people aren't foolish, and in 2010 they will be rejected by those same people in a historic fashion giving the dems the 60 vote majority in the senate which will finally make them irrelevant. Thank God!

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Sonia Martin-Campbell

    Mr. Cheney, You Are Done, after you and the Republicans destroy in the eyes of the world this country now you are talking. Shame on you for attacking Obama. I have no respect for you. Who does?

    From Rockland, New York

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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