Cheney Denies We Torture People Because It Was Approved By The OLC, But Won't Commit To Testifying Under Oath

[media id=8224] Will any media member ask Dick Cheney why HE never released any memos when he was in power? is that too much to ask. He's playing gam

Will any media member ask Dick Cheney why HE never released any memos when he was in power? is that too much to ask. He's playing games right now and trying to suck the media and the American people in.

Dick Cheney was having a grand old time defending torture, saying that he wasn't in the torture business, but hey, we waterboarded a few people because his buddies at the OLC helped him out. He was spinning his web and telling us that the OLC and the Bush administration acted within the law when they starting waterboarding prisoners on Face the Nation. He denies that they ever used torture. Cheney also said George Bush knew and approved everything they did. I guess when he said we didn't use torture his was misleading America.

He also used the GOP talking point that we used the same techniques on our own troops in the SERE program so it ain't torture. His daughter (Liz Cheney) learned a lot from him because she used the same defense to Norah O'Donnell which didn't even pass her smell test.

He absolutely wouldn't change a thing and still wants more memos released. When will journalists ask Cheney why he didn't released these documents when he was in power? Bush was taking a tremendous amount of heat over the torture issue at the time.

Schieffer was asking him if he would allow himself to be questioned about these topics and go "under oath." Cheney dodged the question by saying he'd have to look into it legally and see what precedent he would set , but he's talking now. He WILL NEVER go under oath.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Leahy, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was on this broadcast recently. And I said, do you intend to ask the former vice president to come up? And he said if he will testify under oath. Would you be willing to testify under oath?

CHENEY: I'd have to see what the circumstances are and what kind of precedent we were setting. But certainly I wouldn't be out here today if I didn't feel comfortable talking about what we're doing publicly. I think it's very, very important that we have a clear understanding that what happened here was an honorable approach to defending the nation, that there was nothing devious or deceitful or dishonest or illegal about what was done.

He's just trying to justify torture and he's using TV to promote his views. Let's see if he'll go on with Lawrence O'Donnell and face some real questions. If Cheney will never appear with another guest or interviewer that uses facts to question him with, what makes you think he'll go in front of Leahy?

CBS has the full transcript and you can read more below the fold:

SCHIEFFER: What do you say to those, Mr. Vice President, who say that when we employ these kinds of tactics, which are after all the tactics that the other side uses, that when we adopt their methods, that we're weakening security, not enhancing security, because it sort of makes a mockery of what we tell the

rest of the world?

CHENEY: Well, then you'd have to say that, in effect, we're prepared to sacrifice American lives rather than run an intelligent interrogation program that would provide us the information we need to protect America.

The fact of the matter is, these techniques that we're talking about are used on our own people. We -- in a program that in effect trains our people with respect to capture and evasion and so forth and escape, a lot of them go through these same exact procedures. Now...

SCHIEFFER: Do you -- is what you're saying here is that we should do anything if we could get information?

CHENEY: No. Remember what happened here, Bob. We had captured these people. We had pursued interrogation in a normal way. We decided that we needed some enhanced techniques. So we went to the Justice Department. And the controversy has arisen over the opinions written by the Justice Department.

The reason we went to the Justice Department wasn't because we felt we were going to take some kind of free hand assault on these people or that we were in the torture business. We weren't. And specifically, what we got from the Office of Legal Counsel were legal memos that laid out what is appropriate and

what's not appropriate, in light of our international commitments.

CHENEY: If we had been about torture, we wouldn't have wasted our time going to the Justice

Department.

SCHIEFFER: How much did President Bush know specifically about the methods that were being used?

We know that you-- and you have said-- that you approved this...

CHENEY: Right.

SCHIEFFER: ... somewhere down the line. Did President Bush know everything you knew?

CHENEY: I certainly, yes, have every reason to believe he knew -- he knew a great deal about the program. He basically authorized it. I mean, this was a presidential-level decision. And the decision went to the president. He signed off on it.

SCHIEFFER: You said -- you said just a moment ago as you were talking about this, that -- you said that we have to realize what was at stake and we have to realize the circumstances. Do you have any regrets whatsoever about any of the methods that were taken? Any of the things that were used back in those

days? Because there's no question the country -- it was a different time. The country's mood was different. We had just been -- something had happened here that had never happened before.

In retrospect, you -- years have passed. You're now out of office. Do you think we should have done some things differently back then, or do you have any regrets about any of it?

CHENEY: No regrets. I think it was absolutely the right thing to do. I'm convinced, absolutely convinced,that we saved thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives.

In the aftermath of 9/11, we had all of these questions about who Al Qaida was, where they were operating and so forth. We didn't know nearly as much as we know today. We were faced with a very real possibility -- we had reporting that said Al Qaida is trying to acquire nuclear capabilities. We had the A.Q.

Khan network out there, a black-market operator selling nuclear weapons technology to Libya, North Korea and Iran. We had the anthrax attack within a matter of weeks after 9/11. We had the kind of situation that meant that we were absolutely convinced, the country was convinced, that there was a very

high likelihood of a follow-on attack, a mass casualty attack against the United States. No one then would have bet anything that you're going to go eight years and not have another attack. And we know, in fact, that they did try other attacks, and that we were able to stop them.

Now, if you'd look at it from the perspective of a senior government official, somebody like myself, who stood up and took the oath of office on January 20th of '01 and raised their right hand and said we're going to protect and defend the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, this was exactly, exactly what was needed to do it.

I think if you look at this intelligence program that when things are quieter, 20 or 30 years from now, you'll

be able to look back on this and say this is one of the great success stories of American intelligence. I think, in fact, what the men and women in the intelligence community and the lawyers in the Justice Department and the senior officials who approved this program did exactly the right thing. I think the charge that somehow there was something wrong done here or that this was torture in violation of U.S. statutes is just absolutely false.

SCHIEFFER: You -- you are speaking out. You say you obviously feel passionately about this. How far are you willing to take this approach? Are you willing to go back to the Congress and talk to people in Congress about this? There are all kinds of people talking about various kinds of investigations. Would you go back and talk to the Congress?

CHENEY: Certainly. I've made it very clear that I feel very strongly that what we did here was exactly the right thing to do. And if I don't speak out, then where do we find ourselves, Bob? Then the critics have free run, and there isn't anybody there on the other side to tell the truth. So it's important -- it's important that we...

SCHIEFFER: Senator Leahy, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was on this broadcast recently. And I said, do you intend to ask the former vice president to come up? And he said if he will testify under oath. Would you be willing to testify under oath?

CHENEY: I'd have to see what the circumstances are and what kind of precedent we were setting. But certainly I wouldn't be out here today if I didn't feel comfortable talking about what we're doing publicly. I think it's very, very important that we have a clear understanding that what happened here was an honorable approach to defending the nation, that there was nothing devious or deceitful or dishonest or illegal about what was done.

About John Amato

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.