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. Ron

    Charge Cheney with treason! NOW!

    June 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Think

    So my questions are:
    1.....Is our national security more endangered by Russia and China who supply these weapons or from these Poverty driven Countries?
    2.....What have we done or what are we doing in terms of stopping arms supply to terrorists?
    3.....Information can be obtained from terrorists without torture and inflicting pain. Medical science has drugs that can be safely administered to elicit truth. Why is it necessary to Torture?
    4.....Very few of the Guantanamo Detainees were arrested from inside the US. They were captured from Iraq, Afghanistan or other places. Terrorist attacks in US happen from inside the US. We need a better homeland security rather than going after terrorist all over the world. We need to prevent infiltration. What did the Bush Administration do to prevent infiltration?

    June 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. James McNeil

    Cheney is a man who wants to be right regardless of whatever it takes, including wishing the US come under attacked by terrorists. His role in starting the Iraqui war shows that he couldn't careless how many Americans die.

    June 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Mike

    Of course Cheney wants another attack...then one of his "former" companies can "bid" for some rebuilding "contract".

    June 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. Dee

    Nothing has happened to make us any less safe than we were prior to Obama's inauguration. Very little has changed. Even Bush was saying he would close Guantanamo. Just accept the new administration and give them a chance. That is why we have elections every four years so that one person with their own set of ideas does not make decisions on everything forever. That is called dictatorship.

    June 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. missasue

    Just like Palin...let Cheney fade into irrevelance...please

    June 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. Eleanor

    Cheney is a sad, neurotic, paranoic who would like nothing better than for America to be attacked, just to try to provide cover for the vile machinations and evil of the past 8 years of the Bush administration, and particularly his part in them. Why this man is not in PRISON is the more appropriate question of the moment! And along with him, all of the other cast of criminals that did their part to nearly bring this country to the brink of destruction. The GOP are our very own domestic terrorists. Ideologues so totally consumed with their own sick, hateful, paranoid vision of the world and what they think America should be, that they cannot tolerate any other position but "winning" at all costs. The scorched earth policies of fear-mongering, hate, and divisionism have common threads in every totalitarian dictatorship ever seen in the history of the world. It's an old, old story, told by really creepy, and scary people. And America needs to be rid of them, NOW.

    June 15, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. Albo58

    Panetta knows better than to "walk a line" and say something so shameful in public! Dick Cheney is a patriot and no spineless, party hack can ever accuse him of not putting his country's needs over everything else! My concern is that anyone in public who makes an educated observation about the current president is bound to be attacked by DNC members and press alike if that opinion isn't absolutely glowing for this president and that pathetic!

    June 15, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. Sheila

    At this same point in time during Bush/Cheney's first term, it was still a full three months before the attacks of 9/11. President Clinton's security team had repeatedly advised (privately, in appropriate official settings – not on television) that al Qaeda represented the single greatest threat to this country's security and ought to be their top priority. The PDB entitled "Bin Ladin determined to attack inside the U.S." had yet to be issued. Yet Bush/Cheney had "many priorities." So why would Cheney expect the current administration to have greater respect for his warnings than he did for his predecessors'?

    June 15, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. Keith in Atlanta

    I think that's exactly what Dick Cheney and the other radical right wing wants – they already say they want the President to fail, so what better failure than a terrorist attack so they can play "I told you so" al the way back to power. They are that craven.

    June 15, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Trudi

    I find it sad that Cheney is the one still doing all the talking. Where is our former president? He was the man in charge. This only proves that Cheney was really the man behind the curtain. As a New Yorker, I hate to hear people say that he kept us safe for the past eight years when that is a total lie...we were not safe then and we are not safe now esp. since we gave the people who hate us so much more ammunition with Iraq. Thousands of our people are dead even more so then on 9/11 so how are we safer? Give Obama a chance and stop your bickering across party lines. Both sides are kinda pathetic. I am changing my party to Independent.

    June 15, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. Steve (the real one)

    @Expat American Does it include the more fanatical and less educated of the liberal left and unChristian left Fringe?

    @Robert and evryone else crying "war crimes". Please explain what war crimes? Please provide proof! You guys are also claiming the right are parroting Rush and Hannity! Well just to be fair, your "war crimes" mantra proves you can parrot with the best of 'em!

    @Independent_me. There is nothing, anywhere that quotes Cheney stating he wishes for an attack! It was opinion! Not fact! Panetta is being challenged, that is why he is backpedaling!

    June 15, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. Jerry

    Well , Well Now Leon has to back track like a typical liberal , Oh sure he must have been mis-quoted. Let me put it this way for all you BHO fans " Hope is not a plan"

    June 15, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. Jim

    @drooling liberal

    You just proved what an idiot you are especially your amazing graps of English skills. Cheney the draft dogger – guess you are a big coward like your hero!! You are so unamerican just leave the country.

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

    You liberals that say Cheney wants another attack on this country are just plain stupid!!!! either that or you are blind as to what is going on you are then both stupid and blind. I would trust Cheney on keeping this country safe a whole lot more than I do King Obama. I know of no conservative that wants another attack and I resent the remarks being made to that effect.

    June 15, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. John

    Why can't we just ship Cheney over to Iraq and put him at the front line?

    June 15, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. chutchin

    Oh yeah, Drooling Liberal...we can ALL tell just how smart you are...

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

    I don't blame vice-president Biden for distancing himself from Leon Panetta disgusting comments. Why hasn't President Obama done the same. I'd expect to hear the kind of garbage Panetta is spewing from Daily Kos/Code Pink/etc. When is this administration going to become civilized and not try to crucify everyone who speaks out against their policies. Like David Letterman, Panetta should be terminated.

    June 15, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. Kyle, Albany, NY

    Some of the folks on this blog are once again being baited and riled up by CNN. Respectfully, you are smarter than this and the name calling from anyone on this or other blogs does not help.

    Let's step back for a moment in calmness. Former VP Cheney does not want the USA attacked under President Obama's administration. No one wants this on either side of the aisle. And we should be able to express honest differences of opinion for any Administration's policy without the name calling and lack of respect for each other that these type of blogs seem to encourage.

    Please show the media (CNN is this case) that they do not control you, and you demand higher standards of civility and professionalism from them. Don't give into the media's control and knee-jerk with insults back and forth. We are all better than this.

    Thank you.

    June 15, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. Dean

    Of COURSE he wishes they'd hit us.... anything to prove that he's right, even though anyone with the merest moiety of their marbles knows that he's dead wrong. Personally, I wish that I could describe him without the "wrong" attached.

    June 15, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. Jeff

    ... oh and Jeremy, btw, I seem to recall a recent vote in the senate, like 3 weeks ago, something like 92-6 to strip out $80 million dollars to close Gitmo and transfer all the prisoners.

    Seems to me that their are quite a few Democratic senators that agree with Cheney rather than Obama on certain aspects of the national security thing.

    June 15, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. Linda

    Sounds like Cheney and Limbaugh are on the same page! I'm more worried about domestic terrorists than foreign ones!

    June 15, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |

    Of course Cheeney want's the US to be attacked again.....THEN HE can say I TOLD YOU SO.

    Hell, HE'D PROBABLY PAY FOR IT just like 9-11

    June 15, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. Dean

    Jeff... it is obvious that you would love an attack on our country to prove that you're right too... sad... sad... very sick and sad

    June 15, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. Kelby In Houston, TX

    This is a complete 180.
    Cheney must have used a jedi mind trick on Panetta
    Cheney and totally wants an attack so he can say he was right
    As a matter of fact, this fall into the republican plan. The Republicans said out right, I hope Obama fails. Dick Cheney and the Republicans hope he fails with his economic policies and they hope Obama fails at protecting the American people. This literally means they hope we have an economic depression and they hope terrorist succeed in attacking us again. The republicans think we should be made to suffer for rejecting them at the ballot box. This is their only hope to regain power. Pathetic, isn’t it?

    June 15, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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