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. George655

    Who I call and how long this lasts is none of your business. What internet searches are preformed are highly private. Many people search for diseases etc. Many of these calls can get people fired from jobs etc. What are you doing!

    June 16, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. Mike Goodell

    Dick Cheney, talking about credibility, OK, this is funny, in a very sad way And, by the way, NSA, monitoring all my emails.....put me at the top of the list, move me to the TOP, #1, who thinks this government is the very, very worse. Not what our forefathers envisioned, I am totally got that NSA? totally, disgusted ASHAMED!!! We are spending 5$ Billion, with a "B" on this noeensense called the Iraq/Afgan war. Enough to send every senior gal/guy, graduating this year 2013, to his/her favorite college, 4 year degree....THAT IS SO WRONG, yep put me to the top of your list

    June 16, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  3. California

    Interesting to see no comments from GOP supporters here. Even they have disowned Cheney.

    June 16, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. Alton

    Ha ha ha! Politics certainly does make strange bedfellows. Dick Cheney is indeed defending Obama, probably the best he's had yet, whether he makes an obligatory dig at him over supposed other "scandals" or not.

    June 16, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. works4me

    I don't believe I have to make a comment on this low life. You all are doing a great job. Keep up the good work!

    June 16, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. James Poster

    You can't trust either party. Anyone who hasn't figured that out yet is the problem with this country.

    June 16, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. jms

    Mr. Cheney, a coward, dodged the military draft five times when others were serving their country during Vietnam. And then, unlike those who honorably opposed the war, he supported it! The man is odious and has no standing whatsoever to discuss national security, especially in light of the botched job leading up to 9-11.

    June 16, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. Pete

    Pot meet kettle Cheney.

    June 16, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  9. Jose Riviera

    Cheney is the kinda a man we need leading the US, a man with backbone to stand up to our enemies and crush them!

    June 16, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  10. Kenoscope

    Cheney (pronounce Chee-nee) is a self centered power hungry nut case.

    June 16, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  11. Blue

    Why is CNN even asking Cheney?! Why does his opinion count?? I hate the way the media is so submissive to the likes of this cruel man!

    June 16, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  12. Gregory M. Newbold

    As someone who has held a "leadership position [CEO. VP] I would have expected Cheney to show some understanding of how tough it can be to be "The Boss". When leading an organization, a corporate division, a company or a country in a time of turmoil, the person at the top has many lonely decisions to make. Most people who`ve held such a position, while they might vehemently disagree with Mr.Obama, they would keep quiet and show deference. For Mr. Cheney to violate this unspoken rule of senior leadership calls his entire managerial competence into question.

    June 16, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. Scott

    It must be bad for America if Cheney support it, but I will agree with him on one thing Obama is worthless and should leave office, who ever heard anything so stupid as arming terrorist group, We the people need to take back control of Washington before it is to late

    June 16, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  14. Paul

    The Darkside is strong in this one... muahhahahaha

    June 16, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  15. Name onoshe

    Benghazi and IRS has nothing at all to do with this issue. When will Dick Cheney stop blaming President Obama?
    President Obama has been making a way out to move this country forward again after Dick Cheney has send our men and women to fight the war we do not need.

    June 16, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  16. Donnie the Lion

    I'm not going to go either way re: support, but any government that cites it is operating under war conditions, can pretty much justify anything it does. The war time powers are VERY broad.

    In 2016, neither of the two likely Presidential candidates are going to come out and say they are going to shut down this program. It is here to stay.

    June 16, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  17. Fusionkitty

    How can CNN give this evil relic a platform? Darth Vader is more credible.l

    June 16, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  18. Joshua Wertheim

    For Dick Cheney to complain that Obama is not credible is so far beyond the pot calling the kettle black it is laughable. This is a man that still refuses to admit he lied to us about WMDs in Iraq. This is a man who used to run Halliburton that somehow didn't raise an eyebrow when the company moved its headquarters to the Middle East, to avoid American scrutiny, but somehow still got no-bid contracts in Iraq to help rebuild the country. This is a man who convinced Bush to allow the NSA to snoop on Americans after 9/11 without a warrant – look it up in the New York TImes 2006 if you don't believe me – and still got away with it. Cheney deserves to be in prison, not speaking on CNN. He and his underling George Bush were the worst administration in my lifetime, there is no close second. I despise Cheney, I wish one of those heart attacks would kill him already, he is just plain despicable. And now to say what he says about the current President, considering the source, makes me physically ill.

    June 16, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  19. JiminNM

    Traitor yourself

    June 16, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  20. Frank

    credibility lessons from Dick Cheney? right...

    June 16, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  21. Tim

    Hmmmm Credibility or lack of: outing of Valerie Plame, cover up of Patrick Tillman's death, "yellow cake" connection, "bin Laden not that important", 60 Americans killed at the various Embassies throughout the world (under his and President Bush's watch)–we didn't hear all that much about those at the time, did we?
    The man who helped set the lowest standard for President, his words are meaningless....

    June 16, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  22. Vince

    This old, feeble man is living on the heart beat of someone else but is still a callous conniving mean-spirited politician. Too bad that heart wasn't used for a younger person who could have contributed some benefit to society.

    June 16, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. james

    Obozo has less credibilty than a outhouse everytime his lips move it's just more pathic lies

    June 16, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  24. Donnie the Lion

    Here's the thing about the IRS scandal....say you are running a company of 10,000 people. The company is making a profit. You then find out about 30 knuckleheads are not only violating company policy, but a subset of them could be breaking the law. Are YOU going to step down???? Hell no. Are the knuckleheads going to lose their jobs? Hopefully so. Is their direct manager going to lose his/her job? Hopefully so. Should that be the end of it? Yeah, it should.

    June 16, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. penguin

    People still listen to Cheney? He's responsible for needlessly sending our troops to Iraq, resulting in more American deaths than all the terrorist attacks combined. The he calls Snowden a traitor for revealing a surrveilence program we already knew existed, when he most likely is responsible for outing Valerie Plame and then let's Libby take the fall for him. He's the one who should be in prison.

    June 16, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
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