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. Julie

    Hey Cheney, crawl back in your hole. Oh yeah,and take off that ridiculous cowboy hat that the madam made you wear down at the chicken ranch when you were play acting. It's not very becoming.

    June 16, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  2. Joe Smoe

    The most untrusted and hated politician still living has no right to chime in on anything. Cheney needs to shut his mouth if America has a traitor in their midst it is him.

    June 16, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  3. jillib

    Dick Cheney is a pathetic little man whose despicable legacy will outlive him. He has done a real disservice to this nation and should hide in shame, his opinion is not relevant.

    June 16, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  4. just sayin

    obama not only lacks credibility, he lacks leadership skills, lacks a work ethic, lacks an ability to build relationships with people, lacks executive skills, lacks economic skills, but other than that he gives a good partisan political teleprompter speech that does nothing to help solve problems, only makes them worse.

    June 16, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  5. DevotedRepublican

    The only two things I'd like to hear from Dick Cheney would be either his complete and unabridged confession or the contents of his suicide note, short of that, I'd rather never hear any of his public utterances again.

    June 16, 2013 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  6. Obahtr

    MaryM , I think your talking about obama aren't you?

    June 16, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  7. felixgiordano

    If the laws of this country were followed correctly this interview of Cheney should have been conducted in his Supermax prison jail cell.

    June 16, 2013 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  8. jfb

    this guy is so racist it is not even funny

    June 16, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  9. Joe Willington

    LOL, this man is talking about CREDIBILITY...haha

    June 16, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  10. Jeff Edgmon

    I'll bet you 500k that the Republicans despite having a 10% approval rating in Congress will hold onto the House, and have a 50/50 chance of taking back the Senate, mostly because Democrats are stupid and lazy. This election next yr is more important than any election, including the 2012 election, but dumb, lazy, democrats will not show up in huge numbers, because their stupid and lazy. Tell em that a black man is on the national ticket and they show up. More important things like impeachment, healthcare, student loans, immigration, wars, SCOTUS appointments, the economy, they don't show up for. There's a reason that Republicans like Cheney lie more than they tell the truth about the president, because even they know Democrats are lazy and stupid, and will believe anything they hear. Never underestimate the stupidity of American's, I fully expect them to send another Bush/Cheney type package back to the WH at least one more time..

    June 16, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  11. JBarrett

    I'm using my real name because I stand behind what I'm about to say. Why does anyone, least of all the media, give a rat's ass what Dick Cheney thinks? He is beyond obsolete. He is completely irrelevant. He is the worst scourge ever to walk the halls of the White House and when he speaks, we should all call for the immediate censorship of anything that issues forth from his lying mouth.

    June 16, 2013 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  12. PtBarnumBoy

    Talk about a lack of credibility!!! This is the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" Dick Cheney isn't it??

    June 16, 2013 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  13. Nodack

    He is so full of BS.

    June 16, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  14. Mary1972

    From the mouth of the likes of Cheney, I would take it as a compliment. He is the worst of the worse in politicians.

    June 16, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  15. John The Electrician

    Of course it's Newscorp/FOX that gives him the mic. And everyone hates him so much that all the other news carries it.

    June 16, 2013 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  16. ammoaj

    Dick, aren't you the guy who went around constantly and told the public that the "Iraqi Insurgency" was on their last legs? Each time you said so we got our butts shelled relentlessly. Please give it a rest! You have zero "Street Cred" when it comes to National Security.

    June 16, 2013 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  17. just me

    Cheney does have credibilty on the traitor charge. If anyone's an expert in that area it's him

    June 16, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  18. Belseth

    At what point do the Republicans hatred of the President become anti-American and in fact treasonous? According to the vast majority of Republican leaders nothing President Obama has done has been the right thing and the country is all but in ruins because of him inspite of improving jobs reports and a strong economy and stock market. Most of what they blame him for doing were things Bush Jr did. They even tried to make taking out Osama Bin Laden as a bad thing but does anyone seriously believe they wouldn't have been partying in the streets if it had happened under Bush? The President represents the country and if you oppose everything the President does aren't putting your sick need for power OVER the interests of the country? I've heard Republicans call the President the AntiChrist, why because he's black and a Democrat? They also call him the most liberal President ever when true Liberals consider him a right leaning centrist. The Republicans want a one party system. It's why they refuse to back anything the Democrats try to do. Anyone remember the best known one party country in recent history? Anyone, raise your hand? The Soviet Union was an example of a one party system. You know our enemy for 40 years! Do the Republicans out there really want to live in the old Soviet Union? If so keep backing the ultra conservatives. Even centrists like Chris Christy are seen as the enemy in the Republican party. He's been attacked for suggesting the President did a good job with New Jersey. If the party line is we hate the President no matter what he does then I say the Republican party IS anti-American.

    June 16, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  19. Santa Claw

    Cheney, Obama and the NSA, are all traitors.

    June 16, 2013 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  20. George

    This from a man that new all about 9-11 before it even happened.........good.

    June 16, 2013 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  21. JO

    What an old crank of a sourpuss this jerk always is. He needs to just shut his mouth. He's a liar and a schemer and an embittered old snake who cannot ever say anything positive about anything related to the Obama administration. He has no credibility whatsoever. Could we please hear the end of him?

    June 16, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    If "credibility" is defined by Cheney by the loss of American lives at a diplomatic mission and scandal – well, DICK, you and your administration take the cake:

    During the GW Bush presidency, there were 54 attacks on American diplomatic installations, resulting in the deaths of 13 Americans.

    Scandal? How about American soldiers being electrocuted while showering in Iraq? Unfortunately for those soldiers, KBR, who installed and inspected the showers found grounding problems, but did nothing because their contract did not cover "fixing potential hazards." (It covered repairing items only after they broke down.)

    And who is KBR (Kellogg, Brown & Root), you may ask? A former subsidiary of Haliburton (the company DICK used to be CEO and chairman of).

    I'm sure folks remember DICK and the gang lying us into Iraq in the first place ...

    I will breathe a sigh of relief when DICK leaves this mortal coil.

    June 17, 2013 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  23. Robin

    Mr. Cheney,
    Those who make the most out landish statements about protecting Americans since 911 are the ones who have the most to lose. Rather than instilling in American's, "You have nothing to FEAR but Fear itself as FDR did after Pearl Harbor, YOU have consistanly instilled FEAR in Americans!

    America was founded on FREEDOM, not FEAR. Our founding Fathers put forth a Constitution and Bill of Rights that Guaranteed future generations of Freedom from fear of government not Fear of Government. Since the late "70's a quiet change has been brewing, (about the time you started in government service). The change? Rather than the right to privacy, now no right to privacy; insted of questioning or challenging government, some are now called traitor. Why would one ask, How has this happended?

    Answer: The Cheney Dynasty has begun in America

    June 17, 2013 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  24. lead2crm

    This is called a pivot. Dick Cheney is channeling the attention to other totally unrelated topics to keep you from remembering this was his NSA scandal that just got unraveled last week.

    June 17, 2013 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  25. ge

    so he got a new heart ,went shopping at gitmo

    June 17, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
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