June 15th, 2009
05:24 PM ET
14 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. Joe the Troll

    If we were attacked today, Cheney would be the first on the air at Fox saying "I told you so."

    June 15, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. Bob in Pa

    What I want to know is why the director of the CIA is even opening his mouth. Get to work Mr. Panetta ! We don't need to see or hear you in the media, because if you are not following the previous administrations policies, then you have to work three times as hard to accomplish the same.

    June 15, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Matthew

    Has everyone forgotten that the worst terrorist attack in our history occurred while Bush and Cheney were in the Whitehouse?

    June 15, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. rexx

    The Left and their ugly lies and mud slinging knows no boundaries. The former VP gave a very accurate assessment of the situation. Today we ARE more vulnerable because of the weakness of this President and his cowardly foreign policy and his desire to spend more on everything except defense spending which he wants CUT. Oh yeah that will make us safer.

    June 15, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. phoenix86

    Dear Robert99,

    Yours was, bar none, the best post I've ever seen on this site. Truthfully, tasteful, and so funny. Congrats.

    June 15, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. VL- Chicago

    For a supposed extremely intelligent President and Staff...Obama is running the country like he's never read the constitution or picked up a history book. They strong arm the media, call their political opponents names, while threatening them and hiring bloggers to go after them on the internet. Obama as "bamboozled" us into believing he's different. Actually he is...he's worse.

    June 15, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Bob

    This is a perfect example of what is wrong with our media and society. Pannetta makes a suggestive comment (which he shouldn't have), it gets picked up, and then everybody starts bashing Cheney about it.

    This has NOTHING to do with Cheney, who I'm sure does NOT want an attack...it has everything to do with public officials that say stupid things that then serve as a catalyst for a feeding frenzy by the media and all the haters out there.

    Let it go. If anything, Panetta should be pushed to provide support for his assertion. ANYBODY can FEEL like something is "so".

    June 15, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. Think

    None of the 9/11 Terrorist were from Iraq. Most of them were from Countries that are friends of America. Iraq was attacked for Bush’s Greed for Oil. Intelligence reports about Iraq’s WMDs was intentionally created to mislead Americans for their support to go into War. Bush admitted ***”Intelligence about Iraq was a Mistake”***
    Mistake that resulted into the deaths of 4300 US Troops and 45000 US Troops Injured. In the 9/11 attacks about 2800 people died. And to remedy 9/11 we lost another 4300 lives without any success and we are still hanging in uncertainty.

    June 15, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Ron

    He'll do anything to keep the world from focusing on his war crimes...and crimes against American citizens.

    June 15, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Stephen

    I think our FORMER VICE PRESIDENT should let the CURRENT VICE PRESIDENT take on such issues. He Is no longer employed by the people as such so his word seem like empty echos of eight years passed. Someone needs to remind him that he got evicted. Move on, write a book, build some housing for the needy or give speeches at the Lions Convention.The administration is building relationship the last administration tore apart.Where was all his insight when he was working for the taxpayer?

    June 15, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. history repeats

    Jack, Chicago

    i think there is no comparing this or any other news organization to FOX news. the FAKE audiences they have, glenn beck crying about how much of a patriot he is. airing stories about serial killers instead of going to the live presidential speech when all the other channels are covering it, bill oreilly blaming the ills of america on the liberal takeover of media to explain why anybody would blame him for the death of dr. tiller, the blonde bimbos reporting on news, the pro-church and state ideas etc....fox news is MUCH worse than this article, which is probbaly true about cheney. he made a ton of money off of his stock options during the war with iraq, which we would have NEVER started or been able to get away with if it wasnt for 9/11

    June 15, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Bob


    You are a perfect example of the hating idiots that need to get a life and let go of things. Stop wringing your hands in your little liberal angst. And Cheney is NOT a war criminal. You, on the other hand, are clearly not that intelligent.

    June 15, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. Walter Wilson

    I don't think Cheney intentionally shot his friend in the face.

    I don't think Cheney intentionally wants us to be attacked.

    I don't think Cheney is thinking very clearly, again.

    June 15, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. phoenix86

    Dear History Repeats:

    Nice moniker:

    I would say 21st Century Global Warming = 20th Century Eugenics.

    Both will have the same conclusion.

    June 15, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    @ Rob, who said "The official symbol of the Obama administration should be a foot in a mouth."

    Sorry, that one's already taken bythe GOP and RNC President Mushmouth.

    June 15, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. Eric in SC

    Well put Bob in PA

    June 15, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  17. Jeremy

    I don't think Cheney is so much wishing for another attack as just hoping to be right, even if the consequences could be deadly for some. If you look at what he's been saying over the past few weeks and months, his statements are mostly assumed, for instance, his allegations that the Obama administration's nation security policies, specifically the choice to close down Gitmo, is making this country less safe from terrorists. I think I'll side with the director of the CIA rather than a bitter old man from the Bush administration when it comes to deciding what is best for this country.
    When he mentioned that he does not think anywhere in the U.S will take the Guantanamo detainees and that it would not be a good idea to house former detainees in America, especially that people that are actually convicted of terrorism, not just suspected terrorists, he was just a little wrong. If the unimprisoned populace of the U.S hate terrorists... well, why won't the people in prisons across the country also hate them? I think we all know what happens in prisons these days.

    June 15, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. T R

    I'd like to see him get his day ion court with W over their war crimes and lying to the American people, killing thousands of our troops, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and spending us into a hole. I think they figured if they could break the country, entitlements and wants for solutions for healthcare and education would go away from necessity. Some day they will pay and I only hope we can do it sooner and not later.

    June 15, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. Drooling Liberal


    Don't EVER mess with Dick Cheney!! You will be apologizing for it before you know it.

    BTW, Dick Cheney was a great VP and is 10x smarter than anyone on this message board, I promise. That even includes me. I'm only 9x smarter than you libs.

    June 15, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. VL- Chicago

    how is Cheney a war criminal? Democrats voted for the war in Iraq. It was and IS a legal war. Where are all the crazies complaining about the Iraq ware??? Obama hired Bush's commander as Defense Secretary??!! Lefty loons have no idea what's going on

    June 15, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  21. Jeff

    Cheney is smarter than Panetta, and twice as smart as Biden. He must be getting under their skin. Pretty effective and humorous. Very unusual for an acting Director of the CIA to pick a political war of words with a prior vice president. Leon must be worried that if another attack takes place that the Obama administration and he will get blamed. They will. They can't blame the Bush administration forever. They will try but the American people won't buy it.

    Please, by all means, stay focused on Cheney. Keep your fingers crossed that another attack doesn't take place, otherwise that sweet majority that the democrats enjoy will go up in a cloud of smoke.

    June 15, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Lefty

    Who really cares what Cheney says ?

    June 15, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  23. Michael

    Well, I DO question Cheney's motive, and so do most other Americans. The totally unnecessary war in Iraq did wonders for the value of Halliburton stock, as well as opening the nation's oil reserves to companies closely tied to Cheney's net worth. A few thousand dead Americans and a few dozen times as many Iraqis don't seem to keep the man from sleeping at night. Awareness is growing that the power-brokers of this world view the rest of us as a natural resource, to be exploited and discarded. The trust is gone.

    June 15, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. Susann

    Ummm, Cheney does want to see it happen.

    June 15, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. Think

    Weapons are Supplied to Terrorists by Countries like Russia and China. Most of the Guantanamo Detainees are citizens of Countries which are in poverty. These countries can’t even manufacture a paper clip, leave aside sophisticated weapons. Weapons are not only being supplied to Al Quida, weapons are also supplied to Somalia Pirates.

    June 15, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
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