“WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that President Barack Obama’s overturning of Bush administration terrorism-fighting initiatives are making Americans less safe. In noting the sixth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Cheney said nearly all the Republican administration’s goals there had been met.”
“Obama has suspended military trials for suspected terrorists and announced he will close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as overseas sites where the CIA has held some detainees. The president also ordered CIA interrogators to abide by the U.S. Army Field Manual’s regulations for treatment of detainees and denounced waterboarding, part of the Bush program of enhanced interrogation, as torture.”
“Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” if he thought Obama has made Americans less safe with those actions, Cheney replied, “I do.”
“I think those programs were absolutely essential to the success we enjoyed of being able to collect the intelligence that let us defeat all further attempts to launch attacks against the United States since 9/11,” Cheney said.”
“I think that’s a great success story. It was done legally. It was done in accordance with our constitutional practices and principles,” he said. “President Obama campaigned against it all across the country. And now he is making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack.”
“Some Democratic lawmakers and other administration critics have denounced those and other Bush programs, such as warrantless surveillance, as counterproductive and illegal. In defending these policies established by President George W. Bush following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Cheney said he had seen a report itemizing specific attacks that had been stopped because of the intelligence gathered through those programs.
“It’s still classified. I can’t give you the details of it without violating classification, but I can say there were a great many of them,” he said.”
“Cheney said the March 2003 invasion of Iraq has led to democratic elections and a constitution as well as the defeat of al-Qaida in Iraq and Iran’s efforts to influence events in Iraq.”
“We have succeeded in creating in the heart of the Middle East a democratically governed Iraq, and that is a big deal, and it is, in fact, what we set out to do,” he said.
Asked if he was declaring “mission accomplished” — those words graced a banner aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln that heralded Bush’s overly optimistic declaration on May 1, 2003, that major combat operations had ended in Iraq — Cheney replied: “I wouldn’t use that, just because it triggers reactions that we don’t need.”
He added: “But I would ask people — and the press, too — to take an honest look at the circumstances in Iraq today and how far we’ve come.”