Cheney defends NSA, calls Obama's credibility 'nonexistent'
June 16th, 2013
03:12 PM ET
7 years ago

Cheney defends NSA, calls Obama's credibility 'nonexistent'

(CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney vehemently defended the National Security Agency surveillance programs that started under President George W. Bush but argued the current administration has lost credibility.

"Part of the problem is the administration's credibility - because of Benghazi and the IRS scandal - is less effective. Nonexistent, if you will, when you get over to the NSA program, which ought to be defended," he told CNN.

Asked if he agreed with Obama on the need to carry out the surveillance programs, Cheney said he's not looking "to defend President Obama" but maintained the operation that was set up in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is a "very good program."

"I think it's run by first-rate professionals. I think it's important to separate out that program from the scandals that they've got at IRS and Benghazi and so forth," he said. "It's done great work, it has saved lives - stopped attacks against the United States - and it's vital to continue."

Obama's administration has forcefully defended the surveillance programs against some strong public backlash ever since the existence of the programs was leaked earlier this month. The NSA has played defense on its operations, which include collecting phone records and information from major Internet companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo.

Among those upset about the program were many Democrats, who had concerns about privacy.

"They probably were angry about it when we were running it too," Cheney said. "But it's a good, solid program, and it needs to be treated as such."

Earlier on "Fox News Sunday," Cheney said he believed the programs could have prevented 9/11 if they had been in place before the attack.

Referring to lawmakers who disagree with the program, the former vice president argued that two thirds of the representatives in Congress today weren't in office on 9/11.

"The reason we got into it was because we've been attacked," he said. "There's going to be another attack, and they'll have deadlier weapons than ever before. We've got to consider the possibility of a nuclear device or biological agent. We made the decision based on 9/11 that we no longer had a law enforcement problem - we are at war."

"And that puts you in the category of using your military assets, your intelligence assets and so forth to protect the country against another attack," he continued.

Cheney also described Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked the information, as a "traitor."

"I think it's one of the worst occasions in my memory of somebody with access to classified information doing enormous damage to the national security interests of the U.S.," he said.

Asked if he thought Snowden was spying for China, Cheney said he was "deeply suspicious."

"It's not a place you would ordinarily want to go if you're interested in freedom, liberty and so forth, so it raises questions whether or not he had that kind of connection before he did that," he said.

Filed under: Dick Cheney • NSA • President Obama
soundoff (359 Responses)
  1. rs

    If Cheney thinks Obama's credibility is nonexistent, what does that say for Mr. CIA agent-leaker, WMD liar, drinkin'-beer-and-shootin'-his-buddy in the face?
    Bush and Cheney set the bar for politicians' credibility so low, that it is virtually impossible to go much lower, and all of the lies put forth by the GOP about the current President haven't done much but prove that the GOP is simply incapable of leading our great nation. They are simply incompetent liars and frauds.

    June 16, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. darly314

    From Cheney, that is a COMPLIMENT for the President. Cheney's still living high on the hog, with the millions he made off of IRAQ, of course.

    June 16, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. MaryM

    Cheney's has no credibility whatsoever. No one believes a word out of his lying mouth

    June 16, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. Gary

    This man is the most pathetic human I have ever seen. He is disgusting and has the blood of 1000's of dead Americans on his hands.

    June 16, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. Thomas

    lost credibility ?
    Part of the problem is the administration's credibility – because of Benghazi and the IRS scandal – is less effective. Nonexistent, if you will, when you get over to the NSA program.

    Dick Cheney

    Dick Cheney Outs Valerie Plame.

    Dick Cheney, CEO of Halliburton (later, Vice President) ...There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction.

    Draft Dodging Dick Cheney's 5 Draft Deferments During Vietnam War ... Bush Administration Officials have a similar excuse for avoiding their military service.

    The Dick Cheney hunting incident occurred on February 11, 2006, when then ... President Dick Cheney shot Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old Texas attorney,

    The none credible talking credibility ?

    June 16, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  6. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Look whose taking about credibility, wmds? Valary plume? 9-11-2001??

    June 16, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. California

    I disagree with him. He's wrong.

    June 16, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Steve

    If someone did a poll of US voters ranking the credibility of Obama and Cheney I think that Dick Cheney would lose by a huge margin. How do you know when Dick Cheney is lying? His lips are moving.

    June 16, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    Pretty funny statement coming from a war criminal who lied to the American people about WMDs in Iraq.

    June 16, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. Dallas

    If this wasn't so pathetic it would be funny. Dick Cheney talking about President Obama's credibility – the king of hypocrisy talking about anyone is beyond the pale.

    June 16, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. antares201

    Cheney is the LAST person to question anyone's credibility since he has zero.

    June 16, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. enuff

    It's great that the surveillance program started under HIM, BUT it's Obama fault because of the IRS? And how many people died in consulate/embassy attacks under Bush...or better yet, how many called for an investigation of Hallibutor expenditures during the Iraq war, and how much of that went into Cheney's own pocket?

    June 16, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. Grahame Rhodes

    War Criminal

    June 16, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. DENNA

    Really Cheney? I love how the GOP grasp at what they agree with and completely ignore every thing else. Go away. You were the worst Vice President ever! You can hardly be taken seriously when you complain about President Obama.

    June 16, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. Telessar

    What a horrible man.

    June 16, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. cowboy2

    The US government was warned about the 911 attacks and did nothing. Cheney is trying to make the American people believe that government spying is a good thing.

    June 16, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  17. B4Cons

    Coming from Darth Cheney this is a compliment ....... Keep trying to make "Scandals" of Spinghazi and IRS – Irrational Republican Spin.

    June 16, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Pander Bear

    Dick Cheney is criticizing the President? That's a surprise. *cough*

    "I think it's one of the worst occasions in my memory of somebody with access to classified information doing enormous damage to the national security interests of the U.S.," he said.

    You mean aside from Scooter Libby?

    June 16, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. SafeJourney

    Darth Cheney will be gone soon and the world will be a better place without him in it

    June 16, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  20. Len

    Great Posts....The American people have not forgotten. Cheney is a war criminal and should be in jail with the rest of his Administration. America do not forget and vote in 2014!!

    June 16, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. Thaddeus Kozubal

    The costs of the Iraqi war were not included in the deficit spending. Where are the costs of this NSA crap? Is that in the same category? The system is broken and it started with Bush43 and Cheney who lied through their 8 years in office. The man should do the country a favor and keep his mouth shut.

    June 16, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Aw , Gee,
    Sometimes you have to do something even if it's wrong. The problem with Obama is he does nothing but vote present. If you call that crediable so be it. If you don't do anything, you don't do anything wrong, get it?

    June 16, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. Rosstrex

    Why on earth is this War Profiteer's opinion newsworthy? This man should be in jail and instead he walks free.

    June 16, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  24. l8rm8

    Pls fade away faster.

    June 16, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  25. divejoy

    Why is this water boarder in the news. He even can't visit Europe without fear of being arrested.

    June 16, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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