Kristina Wong, The Hill
Former Vice President Dick Cheney issued a pre-emptive strike against a soon-to-be-released Senate report on the CIA’s Bush-era enhanced interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists, describing the findings as “just a crock.”
The Senate intelligence committee is expected on Tuesday to release a summary of a report criticizing those techniques as torture, and alleging that the CIA misled lawmakers about the value of the practices in obtaining information.
“What I keep hearing out there is they portray this as a rogue operation and the agency was way out of bounds and then they lied about it,” Cheney told The New York Times in a telephone interview.
“I think that’s all a bunch of hooey. The program was authorized. The agency did not want to proceed without authorization, and it was also reviewed legally by the Justice Department before they undertook the program,” he said.
The reported conclusion in the report that the CIA misled the White House “is just a crock,” he said.
Cheney, who has championed those techniques used after the Sept. 11 attacks, called them “absolutely, totally justified,” and rejects that they amounted to torture.
“They deserve a lot of praise,” he said of the CIA. “As far as I’m concerned, they ought to be decorated, not criticized.”
The program, which saw suspected terrorists waterboarded, was “the right thing to do, and if I had to do it over again, I would do it,” Cheney said. “When we had that program in place, we kept the country safe from any more mass casualty attacks, which was our objective.”
He suggested that Democrats on the committee, who undertook the years-long investigation into the CIA program, were trying to rewrite history.