September 01, 2009 News Corp
HANNITY: Now former vice president, Dick Cheney, has made no secret of his disappointment with the current administration. He aired his frustrations with President Obama in perhaps the most explicit terms yet on FOX News this past Sunday. Asked his opinion of the president, he said the following.
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DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I wasn't a fan of his when he got elected, and my views haven't changed any. I have serious doubts about his policies, serious doubts especially about the extent to which he understands and is prepared to do what needs to be done to defend the nation.
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HANNITY: All right, the White House is not taking that sitting down. National security advisor, Jim Jones, hit back yesterday, telling ABC News that the country is actually safer under President Obama than it was under President Bush. OK. Take a look.
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GEN. JAMES JONES (RET.), NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We're seeing results that indicate more captures, more deaths of radical leaders, and a kind of a global coming together of the fact that this is -- this is a threat to not only the United States, but to the world at large.
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HANNITY: And joining me now to discuss all of this is former deputy assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, somebody who knows the former vice president very well. Liz Cheney is back to us.
Liz, thanks for being here.
LIZ CHENEY, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE, NEAR EASTERN AFFAIRS: Thank you for having me, Sean. Great to be with you.
HANNITY: You know, I find it interesting, because we can't even say it's a war on terror. I mean, Robert Gibbs slipped up the other day. Wasn't -- isn't it supposed to be now an overseas contingency operation? It's no longer a war on terror?
L. CHENEY: Yes, I mean, it is really a very concerning state of affairs, because you have a situation where, through a whole series of policies, you know, bringing terrorists from Guantanamo on to U.S. soil, threatening to prosecute the individual at the CIA who kept us safe since 9/11, not understanding exactly where the responsibility for future interrogations will lie, a whole set of circumstances which have us now moving back to pre-9/11 kinds of policies, dealing with terrorism as a law enforcement matter.
But it's worse than that, because we now know what happened when we dealt with terrorism that way. We've now been through 9/11. We've seen the attacks. So for the administration and President Obama, the attorney general, to now be returning to those days with the knowledge that we have of the consequences is really inexcusable.
HANNITY: Well, I would take it even a step further than that, because I agree with everything you just said. Pre-9/11 mentality is a phrase I, too, often use.
But now it seems they want to criminalize political differences. You know, by going after the CIA officers involved in the very successful enhanced interrogations. Now we have one congressman, Gerald Nadler, is asking that Eric Holder investigate your father. What is your reaction to that?
L. CHENEY: Well, I think that, if you look at the documents that were released, if you read through the documents, not just the ones my dad asked for, but the inspector general's report itself, you see without a doubt now -- it's now conclusive that enhanced interrogation led to intelligence that saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks.
So now that we know that, beyond question, I think it's just incumbent upon the president, frankly, to explain to the American people again how is it that he felt comfortable releasing these techniques to the terrorists? How is it that he felt comfortable revealing information about this program that worked?
And frankly, what's he going to do in the future if he's faced with the threat of imminent attack, no longer having access to these techniques, having said he won't use them.
And instead we are releasing terrorists, like Binya Mohammed (ph), who planned attacks against the United States. He's now been released and lives freely in London. And, as you pointed out, we're investigating and threatening to prosecute people at the CIA and throughout the administration who kept us safe. I mean, it is really a situation that -- it's indefensible, in my view.
HANNITY: Well, and that's the point. It is conclusive that enhanced interrogations on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and others -- this has now been released. I don't think most people know about it.
When I first went back, a while back, it made a lot of news when interviewed your father -- and you were there the day that I interviewed him. And he said, if we're going to reveal to the world what techniques we used, then we owe it to the American people to release the information about whether or not it worked.
Well, now that information is out there.
L. CHENEY: Right.
HANNITY: And they still want to go after the CIA agents. And my question is what agent would ever want to put their life at risk doing a tough job, knowing that there might be prosecuted on the other end, doing what they're supposed to do?
L. CHENEY: Right. And right now we are still at war. You know, we faced threats. In the last 72 hours alone, you've had two news stories. One is the fact that a court in Pakistan has ruled that all restrictions should be lifted on A.Q. Khan, who is the man most responsible for proliferating nuclear technology to rogue states, somebody that we're very concerned about, have the potential to proliferate nuclear technology to terrorists.
You also have had reports about a ship that was sailing from North Korea to Iran, that the United Arab Emirates, apparently, intercepted with munitions on board. It's a dangerous world. You've got threats out there that we've got to have folks at our CIA focused on, and instead they're going to have to hire lawyers. They're going to have to worry about defending themselves in what is clearly a political witch-hunt.
HANNITY: Well, do you think -- you see, I think they're trying to intimidate your father. I think they're threatened. Because every time your dad goes out and says that we are going back to that pre-9/11 mindset, I think it drives them crazy.
The fact that they won't use the term "war on terror," the fact that they're releasing prisoners at Gitmo, the fact that they're going to Mirandize enemy combatants. Do you think they're trying to intimidate the former vice president, your father?
L. CHENEY: Well, they're doing a pretty poor job of it, if that's their objective here. And I frankly worry more, and I know he worries much more about the damage they're doing to our intelligence services, the damage that they're doing, frankly, to the defense of the nation and to the need for us to be able to win this war, to gather intelligence.
And as you said, Sean, to have people do tough things and put their neck on the line. And now they're going to have to worry that they're going to be prosecuted, potentially, by future administrations.
HANNITY: This has been the toughest month in Afghanistan, and I know it hasn't gotten a whole lot of news play -- news play in terms of the number of losses of American troops there.
There are reports that our generals on the ground are asking for more troops, and the left is pressuring the -- the administration not to give the generals on the ground the troops they need. And then you have George Will saying it's time to leave Afghanistan. What would that retreat mean?
L. CHENEY: Well, the danger of leaving, I think is clear. You know, we've got a country that if we were to leave, you'd have to look back at the lessons of what happened at the -- in the late 1980's and the extent to which the Taliban was able to create a foothold, create a sanctuary for terrorism. So this will be a real test for President Obama to see if he's willing to do the right thing against the wishes of many people in his own party.
HANNITY: All right, Liz. I think it is a big test. I think it's a big test for this country, and the message we send here is going to be very pivotal, whether or not we'll embolden this enemy that, as you point out, still exists. Liz, good to see you. Thank you for being with us.
L. CHENEY: Thanks, Sean. You, too.
HANNITY: And appreciate it.