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. SASSeals

    Any comment from Cheney on Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein? The 9 billion dollars in cash lost in Iraq? No WMD's? Even Bill O'Reilly apologized for being wrong.

    June 16, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. Mark Lewis

    I can't wait until this donkey leaves the earth. Credibility??? Where are those weapons of mass destruction, Dick????

    June 16, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  3. boungiorno

    grow up oh i mean wise up

    June 16, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  4. frazzini

    Wow, the big Dick Cheney has nothing good to say about Obama. What a shocker! Dick is questioning Obama's credibility? What about Dick's credibility? It is because of the politics of Cheney and his quest for all the money the US has that has transformed this country into the hole it has trying to dig out from. Cheney and all his businesses that have drained this country by profiting from war need to pay and pay back. Do a story on Cheney and his involvement with Haliburton and how much Haliburton profited from war and what they actually charged this country. Just a coincidence Cheney was in the business of providing the US military everything needed when there was no war going on and had to start a war to make big bucks. What a low-life who should have already been stripped from this earth with his heart of coal, but has the money to stay alive. No fair, go away and do not come back.

    June 16, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  5. Cammie says the lying Dick "5 deferments" Cheney who settled out of court. He was accused by Nigeria of bribery in a decade-long scheme in which a four-company joint venture that included Halliburton Co. and a former subsidiary sought to build liquefied natural gas facilities on Bonny Island, off the southern coast. the settlement involves a total payment of $250 million, which he previously said would come about half from money frozen in Switzerland, and the rest in fines.

    Others charged included Halliburton Chief Executive David Lesar, as well as Halliburton Inc., its former subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root, former KBR head Albert “Jack” Stanley and that firm’s current leader William Utt.
    source: Wall Street Journal 12, 17,2010

    June 16, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  6. Captain Obvious

    Cheney and credibility should not be used in the same sentence. Unless that sentence is, "Cheney has no credibility."

    June 16, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  7. onedude8062

    I really don't think anyone wants to hear a word this fossil has to say. Wasn't worth listening to when he was in office, and it's definitely not worth listening to now. Go have s metamusil shot with a ensure chaser.

    June 16, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  8. LJ

    Dick Cheney is a NON patriot!!!! That is a bit of Cheney speak for you!

    June 16, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  9. B100Z

    Wow! Just...Wow!

    June 16, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  10. Rob

    Cheney commenting on credibility? What a joke. Hey, remember the good ole Patriot Act? Hey Dick, where are those weapons of mass destruction? What a sociopath.

    June 16, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  11. Stevo

    Who cares what Cheney thinks? He has zero credibility. He should stick to something he knows about like being a draft dodger and leave governance to the adults.

    June 16, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  12. Fsjunkie

    Cheney is an absolute troll.

    June 16, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  13. nik green

    If there was ANY justice in the world, Cheney should be under investigation for lying to a federal inquiry (the 9/11 Commission). Cheney also played a part, in June 2001, in modifying the FAA-NORAD-USAF scramble intercept protocols, requiring the defense secretary to personally authorize the scrambling of jets during an emergency. The original protocols were restored on September 12, 2001. Cheney also took command of numerous war games, drills and exercises (Vigilant Guardian, Northern Guardian, Vigilant Watch etc) during those two critical hours on the morning of 9/11, which simulated exactly what was happening in real life (!), even down to the very buildings under attack, and the method used. Cheney lied to the 9/11 Commission regarding his whereabouts and movements that day, his story did not tally with the sworn testimony of former transportation secretary Norman Mineta to the Commission. Cheney also he refused to testify under oath to the Commission and he and Bush refused to talk to the Commission unless they were together.

    If the attacks had been as the Bush Administration claimed, Cheney's conduct (alongside that of many other key Bush Administration officials) must be construed as bizarre in the utmost. Who was being protected here? More 'al Qaeda' operatives?

    June 16, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  14. chris

    And we care what Cheney thinks why?

    June 16, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  15. skyler

    Cheney will always be a zit on the face of American history.

    June 16, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  16. Philip

    They real solution and freedom for this great country, AMERICA NEED TO WAKE UP who is fox network? who is cheney? the biggest lier in this universe. GOP, is a history, we need the Democrats en control for the safe and well being in the entire world.

    June 16, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  17. whitepine

    Wish Dick Cheney and George W Bush would go out there and do something to help all the vets they sent to war. The Va is overwhelmed with sick vets.

    June 16, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  18. Jim

    Cheney, go back under the rock you crawled out of, and have your 9th heart attack already... Your'e a pathetic, irrelevant loser, that ranks among the top lying politicians of ALL TIME! You aren't worth the paper your'e printed on, and your'e damn lucky that we don't hand your stupid old ass over to the Hague to be prosecuted for war crimes. Do us all a favor, and go bird hunting again, so that your cronies can have a go at YOU this time!

    June 16, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  19. limanovember

    The only place this guy can go to voice his worthless opinions is Faux News or some wingnut gathering where nobody will rip him apart for being the liar that he is. He's a war criminal, promoted treason, liar, and a stone cold evil man who has no problem having seen Americans killed for his lies and greed. Don't speak of credibility in others Dick when you don't have any yourself.

    June 16, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  20. Kevin H

    I hope he travels abroad so they can grab his war criminal self and put him on trial at the Hague. He needs to be brought to ask for his role in war crimes in Iraq. He also has some serious questions to answer about what he gained from his so-called blind trust arrangements while Vice President. Additionally the fact that he received revenue from his former employer while Vice President and that they secured contracts from the US government says volumes about his influence over members of Congress. As for his pronouncements on the NSA – given his own activity in the intelligence community we can't believe a word coming out of his mouth.

    June 16, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  21. rs

    Here's the deal Mr. Cheney, I'll buy your lies (and your party's lies), and your war criminal activity as being something else, when Republicans- and that means you, give each and every single American the sweetheart free health care you and your transplanted heart receive at no cost.

    Fair trade, Mr. War Criminal?

    June 16, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  22. Insert sarcastic remark here

    I bet Cheney thinks he's a good marksman, too.

    June 16, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  23. Malloy

    No credibility? Hey Dick, you have no heart. Well no that heart that is yours. This guy has the absolute zero credibility. Only a Tea Troll would listen to him on anything. Why does CNN give this guy any ink?

    June 16, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  24. oceanica

    cheney comes from a time when old straight white male protestants dominated the leadership and decision making roles in every facet of american life – when being born a swmp automatically granted you authority over those who weren't swmp, elite social status, entitlement and fraternal protection and therefore I trust cheney's opinions are always motivated by either the possible enhancement of person gain or to demonstrate some fraternal protection.
    cheney is just an old dinosaur that cannot adapt quickly enough to breathe in a more "of the people, by the people, for the people" atmosphere. soon he and his closed society will be choked out by the winds of change.

    June 16, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  25. mdcambridge

    Credibility? Two words: Valerie Plame.
    More credibility? One acronym: WMDs

    Cheney is a self-serving Machiavellian and, at best, a war criminal that personally orchestrated the lies and corruption on his watch. Obama's biggest mistake is not having him prosecuted.

    June 16, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
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