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. kb

    Cheney's comments about President Obama making the U.S. less safe, from who? Chaney!

    President Obama is just trying to clean up the mess that Dick Cheney and George Bush left us with.

    We're all safe by having the last administration out of the White House.

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. Carl

    Dick Cheney needs to keep his mouth shut. Does he realize that Obama is standing between him and prosecution for the illegal use of torture in the previous administration? Some members of Congress intend to pursue violations that took place in those years. Bush and Cheney should crawl back into their bunkers and learn that, especially in their cases, SILENCE IS GOLDEN. Our new president said from the start that he is not perfect. He even admitted to "screwing up" with several recent appointees. What a wonderful breath of fresh air that was after eight years of denial, lies, and finger pointing! I would choose a few minor glitches in an otherwise smooth transition to power over the arrogance and manipulations of the Bush-Cheney. We now have a leader who admits when he's wrong and does not gloat when he is right. President Obama both talks the talk AND walks the walk... I trust him to guide us through these difficult times!

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. suzanne sandmeier

    Less safe than when his administration took done the world trade center towers?? Obviously this man is more robot than human. Glad your gone!!

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. Jon Davis

    Cheney is a criminal who should be sitting prison. His opinion, while it might be interesting, matters about as much as John Gotti's.

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Steve in Louisville

    Dick, you're a Nazi and should be put on trial.

    Go crawl under a rock before you're arrested.

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. M Peach

    GO AWAY. Shovel some snow or lift some boxes.

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Paul

    Cheney is just trying to justify his own breaking of the law. He loves to play with the law and ought to be prosecuted for torture, and constitutional violations in regards to secrecy and abuse of the executive branch of government.

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. Tombo, B'ham, AL

    Cheney can go F himself.

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. Just another American

    The “campaign rhetoric,” you are refering to Mr Cheney, is mostly what of what the USA says that it stands for, what YOU are advocating that we keep doing is a crime. Not to mention in this elections us "other" Americans, "The majority" that voted for this President, agree with his stance on policy. I really feel that my are playing a dangerous game of disrespect with our NEW president. You should be more careful with your words sir. It IS time for change, maybe change YOU don't believe in. Very disrespectful indeed.

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. Norman Shifman

    He had his chance to screw things up – now let someone else have their turn.

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Dan

    Cheney has been treading on human rights and ignoring the Geneva Conventions and the US Constitution for so long he just doesn't know when to stop. Surely if we know these men are Al Qaeda terrorists we can charge them and prosecute them as such while following the rule of law that we helped create and expect other countries to abide by. I sincerely hope President Obama doesn't follow the advice of this mad man. Bush did it for 8 years and look where it got him ... and our country.

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Ajay Gupta

    Mr. Cheney,

    Your time is up & it is time for you to go. While what you say about torture and Gitmo may be accurate (anything is possible) – you miss the point. What you did didn't work. It turned our allies against us.

    Our enemies will hate us whether we did those things or not, but because of actions you mostly condoned and authorized, even our allies grew distant. That must be seen an unacceptable.

    President Obama must correct that, even if it means ordering the close of GitMo and finding a different means of gathering intelligence.

    – Ajay Gupta
    A Voting Taxpayer

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  13. TxVet

    Of course Dick Cheney is going to say that – they were his policies, and not those of former President Bush.

    Engaging other countries and their leaders, plus the larger communities that they serve (e.g., Muslims) is the *start* of good diplomacy.

    The US always has the options of war, that is not the point. The point is to avoid war through diplomacy, policy, programs, agreements, economic development and trade, and all the other tools we have.

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. MELVIN (Philly)

    Mr. Cheny,
    Please leave this country alone as you have done enough damage with your policies and left millions homeless, fatherless, motherless, without siblings and many more injured.
    You and your buddies have gained enough money from the US TAX DOLLARS through Halliburton contracts. Enjoy the money with your family while the average Joe's are left with unemployment checks or are on the streets.
    Stop trying to scare the public as your word fall on deaf ears and we would like to forget the past 8 years ever happened.

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. patrick

    Dick Cheney getting tough on Obama is absurd his approval rating is in the 20% range I think that disqualifies him on any advice given about any form of Gov't.He should be more concerned with his own legacy not the possibilities of his successor wouldnt you say the world is a much safer place now that he is out of office to think we didnt have to goto war just to the polls to make the United States a better and safer place.

    February 4, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Dick spent the last eight years making the entire world less safe. That was eight years too many. There is nothing he can tell us that is worth listening to, unless it's, "I'm so sorry," and I'm not holding my breath for that.

    February 4, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. J.P.

    What, Mr. Cheney, are you saying we can't just politely ask the terrorists to be nice to us and everything will be OK?

    Huh, whodathunk?

    February 4, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. Mike

    I have to agree with Cheney we should keep Guantanamo open so we can save a room for Him and Bush once we charge them with Treason.

    February 4, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. helen chadwick

    cheney needs to come on back to Texas and find some where
    to hide. This man has no creditability on anything concerning
    human behavior.

    February 4, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. Jeff

    Hey Dick, crawl back into your undisclosed location and commune with the other masters of evil that made up the Bush administration.

    February 4, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  21. Spirit of America

    The US would be much safter if Cheney, Bush and the whole bunch of neocons were in jail, where they belong.

    February 4, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. Sean Dunn

    Did Dick Cheney grow up in eastern Europe working for Stalin? The man has absolutely no sense of democracy. He is a free market CEO – with no battle experience – talking about how to fight enemies on their terms. Please, go away! You have done enough to dim our shining beacon. You should be on trial for war crimes – and you should grow old serving time in Guantanamo Bay!

    February 4, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. Dave

    DICK CHENEY IS CORRECT!!!! The terrorists are very happy now that obama is in the white house!

    February 4, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. cecilia

    It is really alright Mr. Chaney,
    We have it under control. I guess you just need to shoot one last bird at the new Adminstration. Try to scare the people.
    If you are looking for a friend, call Rush – you two have so much in common.

    February 4, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. Dave


    February 4, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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