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. Charlie in Maine

    I would like to hear him enter a plea.

    May 10, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. "exactly the right thing to do"

    remember Bush / Cheney everytime we vote, because that is potentially what you will get

    some find him a savior, I find him evil

    May 10, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Larry of Massachusetts

    The Democrats should invite VP Cheney to speak on the issue, but they won't. Obama has sold out national security for a campaign promise and to curry favor with some high roller contributors - poor judgement by the inexperienced and over his head Oblamo

    May 10, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. Camille

    Why don't you just vanish and rid the world of your fascist unintelligent comments!

    May 10, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. Michael

    I hope cheney gets prosecuted and jailed or exiled from the states. hey, freedom of speech here

    May 10, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. jim

    Its funny that when Cheney was VP he didn't have any pro-waterboarding memos declassified and he didn't testify before congress to justify its use. When he was in office, executive orders were more important that congress or public opinion. Now he is advocating just the opposite. The double standard is amazing.

    May 10, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. IMHO

    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."

    Pretty direct question, Dick, and you dodged it. "Have to see what the circumstances are". Translation: I'd have to consult my lawyer to see whether I could a) get away with perjury or b) if I told the truth, would I be indicted.

    What a sorry, pathetic man he is! No wonder our country is a mess after being lead by him (Bush was his puppet, we all know that).

    May 10, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. tigerakabj

    Keep talking Cheney. Keep it up.

    Swine flu almost eliminated the torture conversation last week, and thanks for once again reminding people that we need to investigate and prosecute you and your cabal that authorized it.

    Torture is illegal - period. We are bound by the Geneva Convention Treaty. It doesn't matter what information was obtained. It is illegal.

    May 10, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. dace

    Dick the sadist is proud of torturing people – I am sure he has a private video collection of it all at home that he watches over and over again. Can we stop hearing from this toxic lying war criminal that hid and slithered in some dank and slimy undisclosed bunker for 8 years running his secret torture squads. This sadist and the hate spewing drug addict radio lord are the best the party can give us – what a disgusting disgrace.

    May 10, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. nick

    Dick Cheney lives in a world of his own making. John McCain,has much more experience with torture and what works and what doesn´t, but he is too politically moderate for the republicans to listen to him,or to the other war veteran Gen.Powell... Whereas Cheney, Bush,& Rumsfeld have zero military experience.. They only know how to send others to their death´fighting for a Cheney,Bush, Rumsfell cause.

    May 10, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. James of Colorado

    Cheney is double talking; he says he will talk to congress, but "would have to consider the circumstances" of going under oath. So he's either telling the truth now, or he's lying. He cant have it both ways.

    May 10, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. Marion

    I don't trust Dick Cheney to tell the truth any more than I trusted him to respect the Constitution. He was part of an administration that believed nothing–not laws, the courts, or even the Constitution–should prevent them from doing whatever they wanted, so why should he let something as minor as an oath bind him to telling the truth, especially when his own skin may be on the line?

    But if he thinks waterboarding isn't torture, and if he really believes it can provide accurate information, then perhaps he'd be willing to undergo it himself when he testifies before Congress, live on national television, so the public can see exactly what's involved. If he really wants to be vindicated, that would be an excellent way to do it.

    May 10, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. richie

    It is good to own Television....

    May 10, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Clint, Wa.

    Waterboard him to make sure he is telling the truth.

    May 10, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. dawn

    Please Dick Cheney go to a psychologist and get mental help. You don't even know what it is to be a government servant. The Americans don't want torture Dick Cheney. It is wrong. A lot of our problems with people hating us is because of peoplelike Dick Cheney. Cheney wasn't it you who takes people drugs from other countries and burns their fields. Aren't you drug scared all the time that people can't alter their brains. Dick Cheney honestly you are not a very intelligent person. You are sick. Obama is not All of America just because he is president. And supposably we are not suppose to abuse people. And supposably government servants are suppose to follow the law and listen to what Americans want. And Dick Cheney maybe you can't hear Americans , we don't want to torture or kill children. So you need to let it go in a big way Dick cheney, you make republicans look bad and since you are a republican why don't you go find a republic country to try to destroy like you and bush have done such a good job of here.

    May 10, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. dawn

    I guess since dick cheney is admitting he ok'd torturing people that we can put him in jail then?

    May 10, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  17. Georgia

    Darth talks pretty tough – but when it comes down to it – he was a coward. He ran scared of the military – then asked many young men to die for his pursuit of personal wealth (oil and no-bid contracts for Halliburtin) in Iraq. Then he steps all over the Geneva Convention – which again puts our servicemen in peril even more so. Poll our service men that are serving over in Iraq and Afganistan. See what they think of Cheney – and if he should be prosecuted for his actions and policies.

    May 10, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. Donnygull

    Now the rat wants to speak in front of Congress. This after dodging responsibility for all of his dirty deeds for eight years. This traitor is obviously making so much noise of late , to pre empt the inquiries that the leading democracy in the world just has to pursue to maintain the nations integrity. Hang him for treason and war crimes.

    May 10, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. Rob

    Hitler thought he was right too. It is a shame CHeney doesn't hove a few gas ovens to throw into the mix and then he would have all the toys to play with that the Nazi's had.

    May 10, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. Republicans are the American Taliban

    I'd pay good money to see a cable TV UFC cage match between Colin Powell and Dick Cheney. Along with the rest of America, I would love to see Colin wipe the floor with DICK. Oh, by the way Mr. Cheney, which branch of the armed forces did you serve in???

    May 10, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. Ken in NC

    Will someone please take this irreverent former VP back to his "Undisclosed Location”, lock him away and throw away the key.

    May 10, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. Marge

    Too bad he can't give himself up to demonstrate. We all know he is too ill. But still it is a shame he is not in good health to take the challenge. Maybe this is one time bush would sit in for him....we could have a real reality show as compared to that trash the networks are throwing as us.

    May 10, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. Moderate

    As much as I think Cheney is well... a Dick, and getting himself way too involved right now, he is right about waterboarding. If you look up exactly what waterboarding is, the procedure is not that bad. No permanent damage or life threatening= not torture.
    I can honestly believe that the info we got from using the technique was useful in saving lives.

    May 10, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. JonDie

    When will Cheney be indicted and tried for his crimes? He should be given a chance to speak...from the defendent's table in front of a judge in federal court.

    May 10, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. I used to like CNN but not anymore!

    He should be sitting in front of a war tribunal at the Hague! How much talking would he be willing to do then? Clinton was impeached for shooting his wad on a fat, ugly, interns dress and lying about it! And this slime ball and Bush lied for 8 years about practically everything and yet they're still able to go about their daily lives because the Democrats are too spineless to do anything! I'm really begining to have my doubts about the Democrats lately! No joke!

    May 10, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
1 2