July 13th, 2009
05:12 AM ET
12 years ago

Timing of focus on Cheney, CIA 'very suspect' Matalin says

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A one-time aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney suggested Sunday that recent reports about Cheney and the CIA are a distraction designed to avert attention away from the policy struggles of the Obama administration.

Related: Cheney and alleged secret CIA program 'a problem,' Senator says

“This is very suspect timing,” Republican strategist and former Cheney adviser Mary Matalin said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “The president’s agenda is almost in shambles. His [poll] numbers are dropping. Isn’t it coincidental; they gin up a Cheney story.”

Matalin also said that the Executive branch has some authority under the nation’s intelligence laws to not disclose information to Congress under certain circumstances. “The more people that know, the more it leaks . . . and then the enemy knows what it is,” Matalin said of details about other intelligence programs that were leaked to the media.

“Every time they get in trouble . . . they dredge up a Darth Vader story,” Matalin also said, making a reference to past comparisons between Cheney and the villain in the “Stars Wars’ movies.

Matalin’s husband, Democratic strategist James Carville, disagreed with the suggestion that recent disclosures about Cheney by Obama’s CIA chief Leon Panetta were designed to distract attention away from other issues the Obama administration is dealing with right now. Both Matalin and Carville are CNN contributors.

Carville said Panetta is “a pretty fiercely independent guy.”

“I don’t think he’d be part of any kind of quote conspiracy to try to save the president’s agenda or anything like that.”

–CNN’s Christina McAusland contributed to this report.

Filed under: CIA • Dick Cheney • James Carville • Mary Matalin • State of the Union
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