Cheney Endorses CIA Interrogators Going ‘Beyond The Specific Legal Authorization’

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"Cheney Endorses CIA Interrogators Going ‘Beyond The Specific Legal Authorization’"

The recently released 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report on the Bush administration’s interrogation policies revealed a program that was poorly supervised and resulted in “unauthorized, improvised, inhumane and undocumented” tactics. This unauthorized coercion included menacing “a detainee with a handgun and a power drill,” staging a mock execution, saying that they were “going to kill your children,” and aggressive waterboarding.

Today on Fox News Sunday, Cheney said that he had no problem with these interrogation tactics — even though they went “beyond the specific legal authorization.” In fact, Cheney said these tactics were “absolutely essential” to keeping the United States safe:

WALLACE: Do you think what they did, now that you’ve heard about it, do you think what they did was wrong?

CHENEY: Chris, my sort of overwhelming view is that the enhanced interrogation techniques were absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives, in preventing further attacks against the United States, in giving us the intelligence we needed to go find al Qaeda, to find their camps, to find out how they were being financed. … It was good policy. It was properly carried out. it worked very, very well.

WALLACE: So even these cases where they went beyond the specific legal authorization, you’re okay with it.

CHENEY: I am.

Watch it:

There have been no documents supporting Cheney’s claim that torture was essential to saving American lives. Even CIA memos from 2004 and 2005, which Cheney claimed would back him up, have been released and have no evidence linking torture to valuable intelligence. In fact, these memos show that “non-abusive techniques actually helped elicit some of the most important information.”

Transcript:

WALLACE: The inspector general’s report, which was just released, from 2004 details some specific interrogations. Mock executions. One of the detainees threatened with a handgun, with an electric drill. Waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times. First of all, did you know that was going on?

CHENEY: I knew about the waterboarding, not specifically in any one particular case, but as a general policy we had approved. The fact of the matter is the Justice Department reviewed all those allegations several years ago. They looked at this question of whether someone had an electric drill in an interrogation session. It was never used on the individual, or that they brought in a weapon, never used on the individual. The judgment was made then that there wasn’t anything there that was improper or illegal with respect to –

WALLACE: Do you think what they did, now that you’ve heard about it, do you think what they did was wrong?

CHENEY: Chris, my sort of overwhelming view is that the enhanced interrogation techniques were absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives, in preventing further attacks against the United States, in 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 of 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. It was good policy. It was properly carried out. it worked very, very well.

WALLACE: So even these cases where they went beyond the specific legal authorization, you’re okay with it.

CHENEY: I am.

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