June 15th, 2009
05:24 PM ET
13 years ago

CIA: Panetta doesn't believe Cheney rooting for terrorist attack

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/15/art.panetta.gi.jpg caption="A CIA spokesman said Panetta does not believe Cheney is hoping for a terrorist attack."](CNN) - A CIA spokesman is sharply downplaying Director Leon Panetta 's recent comments that appear to question whether former Vice President Dick Cheney is hoping for another terrorist attack against the United States.

"The Director does not believe the former Vice President wants an attack," CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said in a statement to CNN. "He did not say that. He was simply expressing his profound disagreement with the assertion that President Obama's security policies have made our country less safe. Nor did he question anyone's motives."

The statement comes days after the New Yorker published an interview with Panetta during which he said Cheney's recent criticism of Obama – including the decision to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba – show the ex-vice president "smells some blood in the water on the national security issue."

"It's almost, a little bit, gallows politics," said Panetta. "When you read behind it, it's almost as if he's wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point."

Cheney's office released a terse statement from the vice president Monday responding to the comments, saying "I hope my old friend Leon was misquoted."

"The important thing is whether or not the Obama Administration will continue the policies that have kept us safe for the last 8 years," Cheney said.

Vice President Joe Biden also appeared to distance himself from Panetta's comments Sunday, telling NBC "I don't question [Cheney's] motive."

- CNN's Pam Benson contributed to this report

Filed under: Dick Cheney • Leon Panetta • Popular Posts
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Mr. Bill

    If there was a terrorist attack, it would not prove Cheney was right anyway. Too many Americans would believe the lies though.

    June 15, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Peter Johnson

    Let's get real about politics. Of course Cheney is setting the stage to be able to point the finger and say, if an attack occurs, "You should not have changed our policies." With the obvious implication that any change in policy was the reason that the attack occurred. Cheney makes the assumption that his policies kept the country safe for eight years. Who knows? It is pure conjecture. And, some of the Cheney's policies created more danger for the US, and more likelihood of attack. Like Cheney I don't need to substantiate my assertion, I just put it out there. By the way, you will notice that I did not mention Bush, since he had a limited role in running the country during his terms in office. Cheney was the man that called the shots. Which might lead to the notion that Cheney he is working hard to avoid being indicted by swaying public scrutiny away from his actions. So is he hoping for an attack? Better question is: Would Cheney's multiple objectives be better served if an attack occurred?

    June 15, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Davis

    One question, who gives a flip about lil dick cheney, fat limbaugh, ugly newt, pale-face mccain and hook-nose palin? Stop the madness with these low-lifes, PLEASE!!!

    June 15, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. John Q

    Panetta might have said to much, but he said what everyone is thinking. Regardless if he retracts it for political reasons.

    I would question any party that would ever wish such a thing.

    June 15, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. seebofubar

    I can't believe what I'm reading. You liberal idiots are so stupid a lobotomy may increase your inteligence. You make me sick.

    June 15, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. Stacey

    And another thing, if Mr. Panetta is a liar, then I guess Mrs. Pelosi was telling the truth all along.

    June 15, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. fed up

    Yes, let's designated Cheney an enemy combatant so we can send him off to Bermuda or Palau to live a life of luxury at taxpayer expense. (And by taxpayer, I mean those of us who actually have to pay taxes- not the leeches who get refundable tax credits – I mean, welfare checks)

    June 15, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. HB

    Okay. I'll say it: Cheney is rooting for another terrorist attack.

    June 15, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. Jilli

    Well, Mr. Cheney disregarded the warnings and didn't keep us safe when it mattered most – 9/11/01 – why would I think he's looking out for our safety now?

    I'm more inclined to side with Panetta on this one. The Cheney legacy reparation tour proved one thing – he's in cya mode and nothing else.

    June 15, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. stormerF

    Panetta,,,,Where did he all of a sudden get so much experience?He was a puppet for the Clinton's and now,He Knows what Cheney wants by thought process,and looking into Hillary's crystal ball?..Incompentence,fueled by inexperience,what you get when inexperience appoints inexperience.

    June 15, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. New Age Democrat


    >Dick Cheney is a Terrorist and a Supporter of Osama Bin Laden. Dick >Cheney probably has a hand in 9/11 attack. Cheney should be Arrested.

    Your comments are that of a sick twisted mind. These are the ramblings of an idiot and should not be allowed past the moderator. You should seek mental help immediately.

    June 15, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. Leon The Idiot

    Leon has no business running the CIA with no experience. And Cheney is right. You gut the Patriot act; you undercut the CIA with threats of lawsuits; you seek to publish pictures that would enflame our enemies; you slash intelligence budgets. Of course we are less safe now than under Bush Cheney.

    June 15, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. Paul

    Dear Cheney, you are in the outside looking on the inside....

    Get over it!

    June 15, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. Matt

    Wow that is a quick about face. I guess you took too much of a beating in the press and had to save face.

    June 15, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Melissa

    Of course Cheney wants that. It will let him point fingers. He sure isn't a Patriot. If he was, he wouldn't behave that way.

    June 15, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. Proud Member..Party of No

    I wish Dick Cheney was in charge of our national defense...he knows what he's doing and has the guts to do it.......unlike the amateur community organizer that we are stuck with.

    June 15, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Xavier

    Please, everybody knows that Chenney and the rest of his ilk will always put self interest before country. As for the comments by Neutralizer, I see you didnt include fox news in the list of media that cant be trusted. I guess that tells us where your state of mind is at. Just another Fox news looney.

    June 15, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. Real Change


    Simple question....would Dick Cheney be willing to loose a few American lives to restore the Republicans to power? Anyone who answers anyting other than a RESOUNDING yes is laughable. Remember the word "I hope he fails?"

    June 15, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. IndependentfromTexas

    Schadenfreudism is known everywhere. Chaeney wants Obama to fail so it is natural for him to expect terror to strike. I am sure these GOP rightwing nuts will expect and entice damage for political gains.

    June 15, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. Frank, Las Vegas

    You can say Cheney isn't rooting for another terror but he IS. He would love to say "I told you so". Cheney has turned from a very dark person to a despicable Un-American creature who lives for the day that America is attacked. Cheney should banned from having the press access he gets. He's no better than the terrorists he talks about. He's also trying to stay out of going to prison for War Crimes, which of course he should. When he ordered torture on our prisoners, he gave the green light for any country to torture our troops if they are ever captured. He belongs in prison for the rest of life.

    June 15, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. ROC

    Republicans claiming they kept America safe for 8 years?

    Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the 911 attacks happened under the Republican's watch?

    June 15, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. SF Serg

    Why wouldn't Cheney wish there was an attack? He would be right for the first time in his political life and he would be safe in his "secure and undisclosed location".

    June 15, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Dave

    Cheney's hoping for another terrorist attack, and so are a lot of the people who voted for him. Too many Republicans are only pro-American when one of their own is in office. When a Democrat's running things, they root against us and even talk of seceding from the union. So if Cheney's hoping for another attack, he's just par for the Republican course... and that's why I'll never be voting for a Republican again. I learn from my mistakes.

    June 15, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. ck

    Boy the LIBS sure can twist, lie and hate like nobody else.

    Geez, the HATRED from the left is more alive and stronger than ever.

    What a bunch of hypocrites.

    June 15, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. malclave

    So what's the big deal? Liberals, including "journalism" sites like CNN, were actively rooting for the deaths of US servicemembers in Iraq during the Bush administration.

    Note... I don't really believe the above, I'm just trying to work my way up to the same level of hatefulness and lies in which liberals routinely engage.

    June 15, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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