Cheney - Obama CIA Prosecution "Will Do Great Damage Long Term"
August 30, 2009
Cheney - Obama's CIA Prosecution, "Will Do Great Damage Long Term"
August 30, 2009 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - In a long-form Sunday interview [access complete text here, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/30/raw-data-transcript-cheney-fox-news-sunday/] with Fox News' Chris Wallace, the former vice president excoriated president Obama's decision to do exactly what he had on numerous previous occasions expressly rejected, seeking to prosecute CIA officials responsible for interrogating al-Qaeda terror suspects.
"President Obama made the announcement some weeks ago that this would not happen, that his administration would not go back and look at or try to prosecute CIA personnel...I just think it's an outrageous political act that will do great damage long term to our capacity to be able to have people take on difficult jobs, make difficult decisions, without having to worry about what the next administration is going to say."
Responding to a question posed by Wallace regarding why such an investigation was a "terrible" idea Cheney stated, "We ask those people to do some very difficult things. Sometimes, that put their own lives at risk. They do so at the direction of the president, and they do so with the -- in this case, we had specific legal authority from the Justice Department. And if they are now going to be subject to being investigated and prosecuted by the next administration, nobody's going to sign up for those kinds of missions. "
Cheney charged that the decision was totally political and "outrageous," "Absolutely. I think the fact is, the Justice Department has already reviewed the inspector general's report five years ago. And now they're dragging it back up again, and Holder is going to go back and review it again...a review is never going to be final anymore now. We can have somebody, some future administration, come along 10 years from now, 15 years from now, and go back and rehash all of these decisions by an earlier administration...I just think it's an outrageous precedent to set, to have this kind of, I think, intensely partisan, politicized look back at the prior administration."
Speaking with more than some justifiable anger Cheney suggested that what Obama was doing in such a political prosecution was diametrically opposed to what it should be doing to secure the nation against terrorist attack, "I guess the other thing that offends the hell out of me, frankly, Chris, is we had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from Al Qaeda. The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, how did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time? Instead, they're out there now threatening to disbar the lawyers who gave us the legal opinions, threatening contrary to what the president originally said. They're going to go out and investigate the CIA personnel who carried out those investigations."
Cheney vehemently defended the so-called rough or enhanced interrogation tactics that critics have characterized as torture, calling them, "absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives and preventing further attacks against the United States, and giving us the intelligence we needed to go find Al Qaeda, to find their camps, to find out how they were being financed. Those interrogations were involved in the arrest of nearly all the Al Qaeda members that we were able to bring to justice. I think they were directly responsible for the fact that for eight years, we had no further mass casualty attacks against the United States."
In practical terms Cheney concluded his discussion of the controversial decision by Obama to go after the CIA. He related that over the last few days in an extraordinary harmful decision, a Pakistani court has overturned the conviction of A.Q. Khan, the father of the Pak's "Islamic bomb," releasing him from house arrest, thus making it likely that he would resume spreading nuclear technology - for a price - to totalitarian regimes as he had in the past, citing the cases of N. Korea, Iran and Libya. He said that under normal circumstances such a development would be of key interest to the CIA, but now that Obama/Holder had taken the prosecutorial route who would step forward to conduct the kind of investigation that might result in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to either rogue regimes or non-state terrorist entities without first hiring a phalanx of lawyers to defend them against possible retaliation by the DOJ or the administration itself?