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. Wake up People!

    Mr. President, you should take that as a compliment from that liar. He is the last person on earth to question anyones credibility.

    So the surveillance started under Bush, but didn't stop 9/11 was good, but the same surveillance under President Obama is bad??? Really you frickin war criminal??? The republican party and the MSM are the real terrorists here and they are doing everything in their power to destroy this country, just to be able to blame Obama.

    I guess they still believe what Lincoln said. When he freed the slaves he never intended for us to be able to hold office, have any power or even vote. It's hard to believe it's 2013.....

    June 17, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  2. Thomas

    Obama always does the opposite of what the majority wants. We dont want socialist health care, 13 million criminals legalized, more gun laws, gay marriage, etc.. I never seen a prez like him.


    Bush and Cheney obviously did what you wanted , corporate state , no bid contracts for friends and family.

    4000 dead looking for WMD's that were never there .

    June 17, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. Malory Archer


    I love how the Democrats responding here are incapable of even considering the possibility that Obama's administration is corrupt. I typically vote Republican, but had nothing but disdain for Cheney when he was in office. He's as crooked as they come as is evidenced by the no bid contracts given to Haliburton during the Iraq war. However, Obama appears to be setting a new standard for corruption regarding the use of Government assets to protect his political backside. Let's have INDEPENDENT investigations into the IRS, NSA and Bengahzi scandals rather than letting Obama fire a few people and assure us that he'll take care if it. Talk about letting the fox run the henhouse, yet Democrats seem perfectly happy to let it happen.


    Yeah, except every so-called "scandal" you attempt to attribute to President Obama has turned out to be overblown, republican-manufactured BS. And whom would you suggest appoint those "independent" investigatiors? The same crew who have spent the last 5 years manufacturing BS in order to make Obama a "one term" President? Yeah, that makes sense.

    June 17, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  4. Mike

    Hey Dick the guy with no credibility is you. Try traveling to Europe or any where else in the developed world and you will be arrested as a war criminal.

    June 17, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. Joi Gibson

    Talk about no credibility. Be quiet Dick – you are an embarrassment. After what you put this country through, you have no room to talk about anyone's credibility.

    June 17, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Pete

    Cheney ,credibility something he knows nothing about or cares much less!!A man who got a heart as a gift when in all reality he never had one to begin with..A man interviewed showing no regrets, no remorse on HBO saying that if he could do it all over again he wouldn't change a thing,now that's arrogence,ignorence to the likes that many have never been seen before in politics but he's republican isn't he so isn't that pretty much the norm today since Pres.Obamas inaugeration,that's what I've seen from them,haven't you!!

    June 17, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. sonnie3

    Have to agree that Transparency, and Credibility are not in the Cards for obama.
    He has been dealing from the bottom of the deck
    and the chickens are coming home to roost.
    Regardless of Cheney's past record, He is right on with the credibility comment and America knows it. Look at the drop in the polls of obama- by CNN, Down Big Time. Why? SCANDALS popping up everywhere//

    June 17, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. Sasha

    "Part of the problem is the administration's credibility – because of Benghazi and the IRS scandal – is less effective. Nonexistent, if you will."

    But ignoring "Bin Laden Determinined to Strike Inside US" enhances one's credibility.

    June 17, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. Jack

    Mr. Cheney you are retired. President has enough respect for the office, maybe you need to also and zip your lip!

    June 17, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    WAR CRIMINAL!!! Go crawl back under your rock.

    June 17, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. Arun

    When is this pathetic human being going to be prosecuted for lieing to the american people?? Also, he talks about Benghazi, his policies cost the lives of over 6000 american troops. So stop preaching you pathetic fool and take responsiblilty for all the harm you have done to this country!!

    June 17, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. ThinkAgain

    It disgusts me to no end that my tax dollars have been spent keeping this boil on the fanny of humanity alive.

    June 17, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  13. ThinkAgain

    @Rich: "Dick Cheney is a great man. He's an American hero. It's clear that Obama has kept most of the policies dick cheney started. He did a damn good job."

    9/11 happened on Dick's watch.

    'Nuff said.

    June 17, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. ThinkAgain

    @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."

    AKA the GOP's playbook because all of their economic, military and foreign policies are PROVEN FAILURES.

    June 17, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. Tea partys time is running out

    First time and probably the only time i will ever agree with the ol Dick

    June 17, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. Ol' Yeller

    I will believe Dick when he delivers this message from Spain. Please Dick... go to Spain. Or Canada, even... go to Canada. Please Dick, please.
    Maybe they will let you wear your little cowboy hat in general population.
    War Criminal

    June 17, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. ok

    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."

    That says it all. Partisan hypocrite. IOKIYAR

    June 17, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. Moss

    A no good stinking, draft dodging coward. The truth is strong, only if it's published.

    June 17, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  19. rick7809

    The man is a liar and should have been prosecuted for his part in starting a war. Just exactly why should CNN still print what he says.

    June 17, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. onedude6280

    look everyone it's charles montgomery burns from the simpsons, with a cowboy hat!

    June 17, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. 4GoodGovnt

    Dick Cheney the puppeteer once again trying to put his strings to work! The guy who wears the devil's smirk all the time. Just dick-off, will you. You've caused enough trouble to America. You spilled American soldiers blood for your greed and you have the audacity to preach about credibility!

    June 17, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. omeany

    This man is unbelievable. Why is anyone even listening to anything he has to say. After all the damage to our troops and economy George W Bush and his administration caused they should not be allowed any place in our news outlets...except maybe Fox.

    June 17, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Did they replace Cheney's heart or his brain because it seems as though he's completely lost his memory of what he did while playing "President". To talk about President Obama's credibility is the height of hypocrisy when the world knows he & his puppet George W. lied about their reason to go into Iraq. Cheney needs to take a lesson from George and keep his mouth shut!

    June 17, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Tom

    NONE of them have any credibility and ALL of them live in a world of privilege and affluence that the vast majority of the human family will never know.. And invading any Arab country for what took place on 9/11 made less sense than invading Italy to rid this country's vast organized crime syndicates. As for America being attacked "again" that is a given due to the United State's policy of being the bully of the world and of supporting any dictator who will dance with our war profiteers not to mention our unconscionable use of depleted uranium which will act as a genetic destroying weapon against all life on the planet till virtually the end of time.

    But what the hell? Creating mal-formed fetuses in the womb of the enemy is something that both the freedom of choice(up until the moment of birth) nuts and the right to life(and pro capital punishment) nuts should be able to find some common ground on.

    June 17, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. Kings on the back row...

    So, Mr. Cheney, YOU ATTACKED THE WRONG COUNTRY (IRAQ) and now YOU can speak about credibility ?

    June 17, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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