I guess former Vice President Dick Cheney wasn't satisfied with only running in front of the cameras on every single network in town to try to hawk his new book and let everyone know how proud he is of being a war criminal. No, he decided to spend over an hour at the American Enterprise Institute this week as well for an interview with his former
stenographer biographer, Stephen Hayes.
In a robust defence of what he called "enhanced interrogation", Cheney said it produced "phenomenal" results and dismissed the Obama administration's investigations of its legality as "objectionable" and a "terrible precedent".
Speaking ahead of ceremonies to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the former vice-president rejected accusations that the use of torture undermined the moral authority of the US overseas.
"The notion that somehow the United States was wildly torturing anybody is not true," he said. "One of the most controversial techniques is waterboarding ... Three people were waterboarded. Not dozens, not hundreds. Three. And the one who was subjected the most often to that was Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, and it produced phenomenal results for us."
Khaled Sheikh Mohammed is awaiting trial before a US tribunal accused of being the architect of the 9/11 attacks.
But while Cheney, who was appearing at a question and answer session at the conservative American Enterprise Institute to promote his new memoir, In My Time, insisted only a small number of men were subjected to "enhanced interrogation", he made no mention of the rendition programme in which the US abducted individuals and handed them over to a third country for questioning under torture.
Cheney said that waterboarding Khaled Sheikh Mohammed "helped produce the intelligence that allowed us to get Osama bin Laden".
As they noted, Hayes allowed Cheney to give Bush credit for the intelligence that might have led to killing Osama bin Laden, even thought his administration wasn't all that concerned about him as has been noted over and over for years now -- Flashback: Seven years ago today, Bush received ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.’ memo.:
Today marks seven years since the day President Bush received a President’s Daily Brief entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” (See the memo here.) At the time, Bush was vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, TX and stayed on vacation the rest of August 2001. Here’s how the administration reacted, according to the 9/11 Commission report...
Cheney was also apparently very proud of our country's use of torture as Think Progress noted here -- Cheney Claims Waterboarding ‘Produced Phenomenal Results’:
Dick Cheney wrapped up his book tour on home turf this morning at the American Enterprise Institute. The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes — the official Cheney biographer and famous peddler of the false “connection” between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and al Qaeda — moderated the event and eventually got to the sticky topic of torture. In what he called “a thoughtful critique,” Hayes asked Cheney to respond to those who argue “the things that we did amounted to torture and the sense that maybe the moral position of the United States was eroded because of the things that we did here in this country.”
Cheney dismissed the question, saying they waterboarded only “a handful” of people, which, he claimed, “produced phenomenal results”:
CHENEY: When we get into the whole area of one of the most controversial techniques, waterboarding. … Three people were waterboarded — not dozens, not hundreds. Three. And the one who was subjected most often to that was Khalid Sheik Mohammad and it produced phenomenal results for us.
There are reports that the intelligence committee did of the results of the program which were declassified at my request and are now available on the internet that talk about the quality of information that we got as a result of our enhanced interrogation techniques applied to a handful of individuals. We are talking about only a handful of people who were indeed part of the al Qaeda organization.
[...] The “reports” Cheney is presumably referring to are two CIA documents the agency released in 2009 — at Cheney’s request. However, they do not prove torture worked and in fact, they “actually suggest the opposite of Cheney’s contention: that non-abusive techniques actually helped elicit some of the most important information the documents cite in defending the value of the CIA’s interrogations.” The bottom line is that there is no evidence to support Cheney’s claim that torture “produced phenomenal results.”
Here's more of Haye's softball interview with Cheney.