May 10th, 2009
02:36 PM ET
11 years ago

Cheney: I'd speak to Congress about torture

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday he'd be willing to go to Congress to fight for continued use of interrogation methods that the Obama administration has declared illegal torture.

"Certainly," Cheney told CBS' "Face the Nation," when asked whether he'd be willing to make a trip to Capitol Hill. "I've made it very clear that I feel very strongly that what we did here was exactly the right thing to do."

When asked whether he'd be willing to testify under oath, Cheney responded, "I'd have to see what the circumstances are and what kind of precedent we were setting. But certainly I wouldn't be out here today if I didn't feel comfortable talking about what we're doing publicly."

Program host Bob Schieffer said the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, recently told him he would want Cheney to testify under oath.

The former vice president has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Obama administration, particularly on the issue of interrogations. He has repeatedly criticized President Obama's decision to release four memos from the Bush presidency that discuss tactics such as waterboarding.

Cheney said he has called for the release of two other memos "that I personally know of, written by the CIA, that lay out the successes of those policies and point out in considerable detail all of - all that we were able to achieve by virtue of those policies."

Many lawmakers, including some Republicans such as Sen. John McCain, have applauded Obama's decision to end the use of certain interrogation methods. McCain - a former prisoner of war and Obama's rival for the presidency last year - is among those who say the United States makes itself vulnerable to more harm by using torture.

Torture rarely elicits good information from a prisoner, McCain says. Its use hurts the U.S. image, and may encourage its enemies to torture Americans.

Cheney said he's been outspoken because "I think the issues that are at stake here are so important." The Obama administration, he said, has "moved to take down a lot of those policies we put in place that kept the nation safe for nearly eight years from a follow-on terrorist attack like 9/11."

Looking back on the decisions the Bush administration made in the years following 9/11, Cheney said he has "no regrets. I think it was absolutely the right thing to do. I'm convinced, absolutely convinced, that we saved thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives."

In fact, he argued, "20 or 30 years from now, you'll be able to look back on this and say this is one of the great success stories of American intelligence."

Filed under: Dick Cheney
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Cheney seems to forget that, largely because of his leadership, he and his party no longer have authority to drive the political agenda in Washington. In fact, Americans largely believe that the new crew in DC is having to spend far too much of our nation's resources to repair the damage done by Cheney's debacle. Why should he presume that anyone in Washington would even want to listen to what he has to say – he has squandered any political mandate that he had?

    May 10, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. steven harnack

    ok already. he's had his say,he thinks it's fine to break laws if you have good intentions, the end justifies the means, and to stop terrorism you have to become a terrorist yourself. sorry but this nation wasn't built that way. put him under oath then put him under.

    May 10, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. P from CA

    Cheny is locked in his own disallusions. His logic of saving lives through torture have proved time and again that overall they do not work. He's convinced torture works. Torture is Cheny's solution and it is cause for alarm as it runs close to Hitler's Final Solution.

    May 10, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. wishing

    Instead of speaking, I 'd like to see him testifying.

    May 10, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. Targar

    Dick Cheney is ashamed of how he misled Bush in running this country for eight years and leaving it in a mess.

    May 10, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. kgeukes

    And as they're leading you out in handcuffs, what will you think then, eh Dickie??? As for the rest of us, we'll be giving you a standing ovation as they haul your sorry butt off to jail. LOL

    May 10, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. Adelita

    Don't we have sodium pentothal and other types of truth serum? I think Cheney prefers torture.

    May 10, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. pattydking

    Cheney is a coward. When asked if he would appear in court to answer questions about torture crimes, he laughed it off. Face the Nation should not waste time putting him on. I'd rather hear from someone willing to tell the American people the truth.

    May 10, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Michael

    I'm sure Dr. Mengele would have liked the opportunity to justify human experimentation as well. Why didn't he get the chance? Oh, yes – he was running from war crimes prosecution until the day he died.

    May 10, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Kingsley, Atlanta

    Certainly Dick don't really know when to give up and take the heat. I say let him come out to testify and hang himself.

    May 10, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. Had It

    Help - he's started lying, and he can't stop.

    May 10, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. Proud DHS radical

    Maybe when Nancy Pelosi stops hiding and returns to the U.S. we can get her take on torture since she seems to change her mind on the subject every other day.

    May 10, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Proud American

    How about a judge, better yet your cellmate?

    May 10, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    And I'd speak to Congress aboutcharging this horrible man with war crimes, fraud and obstruction of justice. Cheney is a discrace to all that America once stood for.

    May 10, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. KJ

    Cheney is washed up – done and should thank his lucky stars that he isn't getting prosecuted as a war criminal. He should retire, move on and be quiet.

    May 10, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. Georgia Gal

    Well Dick, I'd just like for you to go away.

    Didn't this guy get the memo that he's no longer V.P. and that his party lost the election??

    Nobody and I mean NOBODY, gives a rat's you know what, what this guy thinks or wants to do.

    And with a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic controlled House of Representatives and Senate (which is near filibuster proof levels), this guy just needs to give it up, because the majority of the people in Washington (and in this country) could give a flying fig what this guy wants to say.

    May 10, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Chris in MI

    Hey buddy, you ain't the VP anymore. No one cares what you have to say. You're pathetic. Didn't hear a word from you a few years ago on the subject. Now, you can't shut up! Well, now we WANT you to shut up! You aren't capable of telling the truth. You're a pyriah in your own party. Now just crawl back under the rock from whence you came...

    May 10, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  18. I used to like CNN but not anymore!

    And all this coming from a guy who probably never endured .01 seconds of anything even remotely close to torture in his entire privileged life! So I think that pretty much sums up his credibility in a nutshell!

    May 10, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. Darla

    I's like to know just WHY anyone thinks it's so bad to waterboard these people. Was it not torture to incinerate 2000+ people on 9/11? I'd bet they'd prefer a little waterboarding rather than what they went through – hmmmm should I jump or just burn to death? Now THAT is torture.

    May 10, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. Matt

    Cheney and Bush are still trying to run and control the country out of office now. Cheney can't shut up and sounds like he wants to bring down Peloski. She must have had words with the evil one when in office. Doth the Dark Vader seek revenge on the Princess Lia. I think so.

    May 10, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. BB

    Translation: "Sure I'll go to the Hill and testify about torture, unless they want me to tell the truth under oath."

    While I would love to see a few rogue politicians get thrown in the slammer, I don't think it is in America's best interest to set the precedent that former leaders can be prosecuted because subsequent leaders changed policy. It's kind of like changing the tax code and collecting back taxes on them. I say, let the World Court have them if they want to prosecute them for any crimes against humanity.

    May 10, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. gary

    What good would it do for Chaney to talk to congress? Everyone knows he's not a straight shooter.

    May 10, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  23. Peter E

    If we are going to talk about torture, why not disclose ALL information, instead of just cherry picking? The fact that all useful intelligence that we got out of those evil masterminds was BEFORE we tortured them. The fact that CIA interrogators themselves have called torture counterproductive and that other interrogation techniques are far more effective, and faster at gaining actionalbe intelligence! Yes, let's release ALL information! Interrogation doesn't automatically mean torture! There are other methods that save countless lives!

    May 10, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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