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. Tanya

    No apology is due Cheney...Democrats: toughen up and stop backtracking. Cheney is a guy who accepts collateral damage, and ignored all warnings prior to 9/11 so he could justify invading Iraq.

    He's trying so hard to undermine Obama, to create doubt and fear. Remember, we're still at war with terrorism, in Iraq, in Afghanistan. Cheney's comments are treasonist. Why is that not continually noted?? What would have happened if Democrats had acted like this upon invading Iraq?

    The Republicans are nothing, if not bullies-it is what they do best. They're doing it again. I'm glad someone said it like it is....DON'T APOLOGIZE!!

    June 15, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  2. r bartch

    I just seen someone on cnn say that leon should tell dick cheney hes sorry. dick should tell the five other people that had to go to nam instead of him that he is sorry. think about that this man got five different deferments from duty in nam that means five different people had to go to nam instead of him, five........... i would like to know if all five of those made it back safely. no one should have to apologise to dick for anything he is a draft dodger, he had his chance to protect his country, but he let other young men carry his water for him. this man desearves no respect at all. if you will remember when asked about this before the first bush election he said i had better things to do. what a slap in the face to all that had to searve. i cannot beleive that the news agencys dont frame everything this man says in the context that hes a draft dodger.

    June 15, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. jackie of louisville

    I really believe that is what he wants, and he should be grateful that President Obama, don't want to release whatever Dickey boy did because we all know he would not last in prison. He went out in a wheelchair because he wanted folks to feel sorry for him and he did not get that reaction, and then weeks later she shows up on Meet the Press talking that bullcrap about we are not safe under the Obama adminstration. Go take a break man, I can say this GWB was a idiot but you don't see him out blasting what the President is doing do. Take notes Dickey Boy

    June 15, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. David

    John June 15th, 2009 5:24 pm ET

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

    And put our armed forces in more danger with his aim, no thank you.

    June 15, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. Mark Cole

    Cheney does want U.S. to be attacked again. His administration was in charge during the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, yet he claims the steps his government took "made us safer". They prefer to blame Clinton for Sept. 11, and take credit for the fact there hasn't been an attack since 9/11. But if an attack happened tomarrow it would be Obama's fault, according to Cheney (keep in mind, Cheney has been out of office 5 months, Sept. 11th happened 9 months after Bush took office). Long story short, if we stay safe, Cheney will take credit. If there's an attack, he'll absolve himself of responsibility and say "I told you so".

    Classic republican.

    June 15, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. history repeats


    yea because a non-profit group that organizes poor people to vote like ACORN really being a secretive wing to get obama elected and turn america into a communist muslim state makes alot more sense then 9/11 being an inside job in order to mobilize the country towards entering thwe middle east to make money for defense contractors and oil companies.....yea you know what your talking about

    June 15, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Hawaii gal

    Cheney has already gotten his wish, as we have had three domestic terror attackes in the past couple of weeks. Cheney's followers, the ultra right wing nut jobs, are terrorizing our country , thanks to Cheney has his hatred. He is continuing to do damage to this country, even though he isout of office. Someone needs to shut hum up, or put him in prison where he belongs for his war crimes.

    June 15, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. David

    Does Cheney want the US to be attacked? I don't think any one is that petty and idiotic to hope for that. Will he be the first person on the air saying "I told you so"? You betcha.

    June 15, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. Alex

    Panetta can't say it cause of his job, but I will... Cheney let 9/11 happen and he'd be glad to see a new terror attack that might allow a right-wing putsch in the US, finally ridding us of this pesky democracy thing (though our foreign policy is far beyond democratic civilian control already). That's just who he is...

    June 15, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. DL

    The only reason Cheney is even still around in the media is the GOP is simply trying to salvage some form of respect within their party. When it comes to economic policy, healthcare, the wars going on, international relations, the list goes on and on they failed miserably. Unfortunately, they are still so out of touch with mainstream America, they don't realize every time they open their mouths, they just tend to make things much worse, people are angry, just read the posts. Demographic wise, the GOP is shrinking, the wise thing to do would be to refocus on how badly they went astray and fix their own issues before coming out and trying to control policy now, they simply aren't trusted by the majority of American people anymore.

    June 15, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. anish

    Crappy CNN. Don't sensationalize. Just give the facts. We don't care what Cheney may be thinking. When did that become news?

    June 15, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. Russ

    This is perhaps one of the stupidest statements ever...and here is why:

    Saying that Cheney wants a terrorist attack, is like saying that a scientist who wants to see green house gas emission changes wants global warming to happen....no, he doesn't want that and that is exactly the point, he doesn't want it so much that he is willing to speak out if he believes we are doing something wrong. What prize do you get for saying global warming is real when the whole planet freezes? The exact same reward Cheney would get if he continues to call into question the Obama administration's actions and a terrorist attack happens...absolutely nothing.

    June 15, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. Bruce

    Since when does Dick Cheney care about this country?

    He's probably just waiting to get back on the board at Halliburton.

    Panetta may not question his motives, but I certainly do. I question his motives, his methods, his integrity and at times, even his sanity.

    The only thing good about him is the word FORMER whenever anyone refers to him now. Good Riddance.

    June 15, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. Ken, Centreville, VA

    Former VP Cheney is getting too much attention in the media and too much time in the public discourse. All he has done is repeat what he has been saying for the past 8 years. And the Adminsitration's actions, and blatent misrepresentations, trying to justify the 2nd Iraq War, seriously damage the former VP's credibility. The sooner we hear less reporting on the Cheney "broken record", the better.

    June 15, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. Jeff

    Yes... it is true. I must admit that I differ with the administration on both their economic and national security policies. Nor do I believe that the prior Vice President was a war criminal or wants the country to be attacked just to prove his point. I also think that only a simpleton would be more concerned with domestic terrorism than islamist terrorism. There is far greater probability of the Obama Administration and a democratic majority spending us into oblivion and lowering our childrens standard of living than domestic terrorism materializing and magically surpassing Al Quaeda as a threat.

    All of these admissions ofcourse must surely mean that I secretly would like the country to be attacked just to make my point.

    June 15, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  16. whaley41

    Eleanor, Eleanor...please stop reading those left wing blogs. They are warping your mind. You sound just like Keith and Rachel. You liberals are so closed minded. Get a life!!!

    June 15, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. catmom

    Oh please !!! Cheney, Limbaugh and the rest of the right wing and a lot of Republicans want President Obama to fail period. Yes it seem horrible to think Cheney would want this to happen but listen to the comments Cheney has made and the way he says what he says. Listen to right wing radio and listen to what they say. Unfortunately when you say the things a lot of us has heard Cheney say , when you hear the things that Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, Gibson and the rest say what other conclusion can you come up with? It is very rare to hear any Republican/conservative or right winger say anything positive about President Obama.
    You see Republicans.conservatives/right wingers words have consequences.The only thing coming from Republicans...is negativity, we hope he fails....Suck it up, you all allow this, you reap what you sow.

    June 15, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  18. Peter

    Cheney is rooting for one and Panetta believes so...

    June 15, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  19. Ben

    Cheney is a traitor and the dems are too weak to make an example out of him. This man should be put away.

    June 15, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  20. Stephen

    Cheney and his cronies have made millions (Halliburton – mismanagement and profiteering during a time of war) from marketing the threat of terrorism and fear of terrorist attacks to the American people.

    So, why would it be so farfetched to think that he would want something to happen just so he could go on a media blitz justifying his positions. I pray that nothing will happen and that America will be safe from the hate fanatics, both domestic terrorists and international terrorists.

    June 15, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  21. Normal in NH

    People or media that portray Vice President Cheney as hoping for an attack are downright idiotic!!! Like him or not, and I do, he has dedicated most of his adult life to the safety of this country and the people within it. This is an "adult" with a degree of intelligence that no liberal can comprehend.

    June 15, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  22. Gene Brady

    Who in the USA doesn't believe that Cheney doesn't want an attack. He ans his daughter will if they can't get someone else to do it for them. I bet they have matching covert costumes...

    June 15, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  23. WhoCares?

    Kind of sucks that the America we live in is one where the simple truth can't be spoken.

    OF COURSE Cheney wants us hit again.

    June 15, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  24. Robert

    Dick Cheney’s Philosophy:

    1. Attack Iran and North Korea, They are manufacturing Nukes.
    2. Attack Somalia they are Supporting Pirates.
    3. Attack Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan and Saudi Arabia because they have Al Quida Pockets.
    4. Attack Cuba and Valenzuela because they are Communist.

    Attack the Whole World, it will make America Safe.

    June 15, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  25. Steve J

    There seems to be a number of right-wingers disparaging the maturity and intelligence of those who disagree with them. I'm sorry, folks, but I see scant evidence that many of you possess enough of either to be in a position to judge.

    June 15, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
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