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. gary

    cheney is evil, a liar, and classless.

    June 16, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  2. Richy

    Cheney = WMD
    There were no WMD in Iraq.
    He is a liar and has no credibility.
    He is possibliy more dangerous than Snowden.

    June 16, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. MIke S

    What's the point of this article? To make it seem like Obama has nothing to do with NSA for those people who only read headlines? It must be because that's what the headline says. However, we all know that Obama has expanded the program.

    June 16, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. Maria

    Cheny – the modern day Stalin of Iraq , a hateful man

    June 16, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. Sue

    Why in the world anyone go to a war monger and war profiteer like cheney for an opinion?! Hells bells people! Dubya won't even speak to this fool!

    June 16, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. Gregory

    I'll borrow and modify a quote from a well known Republican; "When it comes to irony, Cheney is target rich environment."

    June 16, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Dick for someone who is not allowed in many country's otherwise they would prosecute you on war crimes I would shut up with that medal heart. Snowden was a hero standing up for the constitution. The presidents is supposed to protect the constitution over everything else. I think its time Dick you go into a nursing home and sit in a rocking chair and shut up already

    June 16, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  8. Tony in Maine

    It would be terrible news if Cheney liked anything about President Barack Obama.

    June 16, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Michael

    Dick Chaney is a Dick who has no credibility, so who care what he says, or why he is saying it.

    June 16, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  10. loopholes suck

    If Dick Cheny Supportts the NSA we know its completely wrong and we know we can not trust the NSA. Dick Cheny is a war criminal..and if he supports the NSA on thsi spy machine then I most definately do NOT.

    This machine is anti – constitutional.

    It has Koch borthers money tied into it – just like the Koch brothers failed attempt to getting into the white house by creating the TEA PARTY

    June 16, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  11. Notch

    Why is this abhorrent person not spending his twilight years in the Hague is beyond me...

    June 16, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. loopholes suck

    Cheny is like the joker. His pride is huge, he has no value for human life. and if he supports the NSA, then we should be taking it down...or at least creating laws that protect us from its massive snooping on reason to hide this machine..

    June 16, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. Name neansuper7

    Benedict Cheney needs to crawl back into the sewer with all the other trash and stay there and why even interview this lying piece of trash.

    June 16, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. Michael Hobart

    Dick Cheney arguing credibility about anyone??? – LOL Why doesn't he pay attention to what President Bush has done, stay out of political commentary and watch his favorable ratings go up.

    June 16, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. Cynthia

    Cheney and Dole are the two latest old Republicans who came out with a veiled defence of Obama. Velied because they as Republicans have to be seen as criticizing Obama – because that is the Republican ritual to get into the game.

    It's like the opening prayer or doxology – first or finally criticize Obama before supporting his agenda. Also make it known that you are supporting the agenda not the President lest you get stoned by your fellow Republicans.

    June 16, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. Garth

    One person with no credibility pointing the finger at another person with no credibility. Politicians, their all the same dispicable human beings.

    June 16, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. allenwoll

    Off to Gitmo with THIS guy ! ! !

    June 16, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. Brian

    From none other than the man who mortally poisoned our politics and ruined our nation. What a worm.

    June 16, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  19. Jim CT

    I think it is reprehensible when ex-pols can't even say nice things about the other side of the aisle even when they agree on a policy issue. Cheney needs to shut up and spend his money out of the public eye.

    June 16, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  20. sawtooth

    Only a fool would defend Obama, but then there must be a lot of fools, cause they voted for him twice

    June 16, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  21. r00t4rd3d

    Dick Cheney is just another Washington war monger. Our style of government needs to change.

    June 16, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |

    always though Bush and Cheney were dick-heads while in office !!! but now I kinda have respect for Cheney because of his comments about Obama and his intelligence which he has none ,, and in final folks can you imagine Obama defending you in a court trial !!! and we thought O J Simpson trial was a joke !!!

    June 16, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  23. us_1776

    It was Bush and Cheney who threw away all of the Clinton intelligence that had been gathered on al-Qaeda and bin-Laden.

    Why? Because they already had their pre-drawn up war plan for Iraq. And a terrorist attack would be the perfect cover to begin the Iraq War.


    June 16, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  24. si gold

    There is a room waiting for Dick Cheney when he dies. it is full if black bunting, with a big sign hanging in the door way- and it reads:



    June 16, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. Russ

    This guy is self delusional. He seems ignorant or so full of himself he doesn't realize how much he is disrespected and disliked. He keeps coming out to voice his opinions not aware that everyone would rather he simply shut up. Be like George!

    June 16, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
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