Cheney defends NSA, calls Obama's credibility 'nonexistent'
June 16th, 2013
03:12 PM ET
8 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. katdude

    Has anyone in the white house been trustworthy?

    June 16, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  2. lloyd roberts

    how unfortunate that a human being of such vile character could have represented the great United States in any capacity. Truly a low point in our history. Go away forever.

    June 16, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  3. Les Warrick

    Dick Cheney is just as much a traitor as Sowden is for all the afore mentioned and then some! He should be in prison and not allowed to tell another lie in his life !! What a disgace to the real Americans in this country that were not worried about what was in it for them !!!!!!

    June 16, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. Les Warrick

    P.S. I do not hide behind an alias or screen name ! What you see is what it is !!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 16, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  5. DJ Reality

    Dick Cheney is well I can't say what I think of him. He is one of the most corrupt individuals that ever set foot int he white house.

    June 16, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  6. wazuri77

    a war criminal talking about credibility..

    June 16, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  7. wazuri77

    war criminal...

    June 16, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  8. Name Uche Agonsi

    Am I having this nightmare on Dick Cheney. What in the world does he hope to achieve being opinion consultant on people's credbility. That guy's moralty is the closest to the devil's world over.......& for opening his sickening trap on Benghazi, he really deserves the pot-kettle-black-calls award. Not only American Missions suffered the highest number of attacks under him & GWB but also scored lowest marks in credbility & effective responses. Dick Cheney, simply put, is bad memory.

    June 16, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  9. KC

    THe guy who denied we tortured people then tried to redefine torture and now proudly talks about how tortured save lives without any credible information to back it up. Hey Dick when are you going to have your parade in downtown Iraq so you can be welcomed as liberators. Dick Cheney should be in jail for what he has done to this country's credibility.

    June 16, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  10. Joe

    In my 65 years on the planet, I've not known a more un/incredible, unethical, slimy U.S. politician.. a fitting partner to the most incompetent and destructive administration in this country's history; economically and internationally.

    The economy is finally recovering from Bush/ Cheney but it will take decades and $Billions, if not centuries, for deal with the tens of thousands of terrorists Cheney and Co. essentially created by ignoring bin Laden, invading Iraq, torture programs, etc.. all in addition to the thousands of soldiers sent to their deaths by Bush-Cheney's fraudulent WMD escapade.

    Crawl back under your rock, Cheney and await ultimate judgment of 'credibility'.

    June 16, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  11. Jim

    Tell this coward who never served in the military to shut up. He is the worst President in US History. His vice-president was also the worst.

    June 16, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  12. Only the NSA knows for sure

    Dick Cheney is a traitor. He used 9/11 to advance his personal agenda. He'd been itching to overthrow Sadam Hussein for years, and 9/11 gave him an excuse to do so. It was the worst piece of American foreign policy I've ever seen, and that includes Vietnam and the Shah of Iran (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi). Cheney is completely discredited and his opinions are worthless. Snowden, on the other hand, is a hero. Obama should be ashamed of himself for perpetuating the Bush-Cheney surveillance state. He will lose many supporters over this. So far as I know, Cheney has no supporters to lose.

    June 16, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  13. stephanurus

    Cheney is a lying hypocrite.

    June 16, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  14. Conrad

    Cheney is smarter than Palin, but like Palin, completely without honor or credibility. He is no patriot. In fact, he's a sociopath.

    June 16, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  15. Cogito

    Cheney...accusing someone of lacking credibility?!?!
    Best laugh I've had in ages.

    June 16, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  16. Joel

    Cheney seems like a republican puppet instead of a much cooler "darth cheney" The NSA is a joke. Yeah they can watch you, but they aren't. The NSA might be able to make sure you didn't do anything a year ago, but it won't prevent crime. The NSA has a role to play in investigation, but the dorks on the left and right are fooling themselves. They love Snowden, the NSA is so proud of the NSA. Wooptee do NSA. They send their own men out to disclose information to try to impress the world. NSA stands for ... Not So Awesome... The government spies on people, that is like rainman stumbling onto a lot of baseball cards. Wooptee do rainman, somebody awesome could be using the cards better. Just sitting around sorting them and counting them like you are sooooo great.

    June 16, 2013 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  17. Joel

    So the NSA is so great but then why are their casey Anthony trials and Jodi arias, I thought the NSA was everywhere

    June 16, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  18. regororedam

    Last try to(#3) defeat the censors: everything is wonderful! Dick Cheney is the right-hand man of Jesus Almighty! I love Jesus and hate all liberals, who are ALL determned to detroy America! God bless m

    June 16, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  19. Data Driven

    Like Gollum, Cheney continues to live on and on. Preciousss.

    June 16, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  20. John G.

    If the program is so successful then how'd it miss Benghazi?

    June 16, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  21. bro

    I am surprise they have allowed cheney out of the mental hospital ..

    June 16, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  22. Erasrhedd

    Cheney ran the Bush administration - into the ground - and he's running the post-Bush PR campaign (has anyone heard from Bush? Anyone? Anyone?). It's irrelevant that Cheney - who is totally irrelevant (but I love the hat) - criticizes Obama for continuing the Bush administration's illegal electronic monitoring of the American public - shame on you, Mr. President Obama - blaming it's poor PR on other unrelated issues (IRS, etc.).

    June 16, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Despicable draft dodging war criminal and liar gets an interview on CNN? I thought Cheney, the old bitter cretin, was relegated to Faux News.

    June 16, 2013 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  24. caeser

    Cheney needs an exorcism.....he has demons.

    June 16, 2013 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  25. Kyle Falce

    If Obama would have raided a house with no sign of Bin Laden, based on intelligence, you would cry "at least he tried." When it is WMDs, same intelligence agency, and he's wrong (Bush), he's a war criminal. Pathetically blinded by your politics.

    June 16, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
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