Former Vice President Dick Cheney made no apologies for enhanced interrogation techniques and believes the U.S. should “not discontinue” them.
Speaking on the confirmation hearing of Gina Haspel to become CIA director, Cheney defended the now-banned, post-9/11 interrogation practices used under former President George W. Bush’s administration.
“If it were my call, I would not discontinue those programs,” he told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo on Thursday. “I’d have them active and ready to go, and I’d go back and study them and learn.”
“I think the techniques we used were not torture. A lot of people try to call it that, but it wasn’t deemed torture at the time,” he said. “People want to go back and try to rewrite history, but if it were my call, I’d do it again.”
Cheney said the methods were in line with the ‘fundamental statues and agreements that were in place” at the time and said, “it worked.”
Haspel faced intense grilling from the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday, as the 33-year CIA veteran was subjected to aggressive questioning from Democrats about the interrogation techniques. Former CIA officer and CNN commentator Phil Mudd defended Haspel, his friend and colleague, on the air Wednesday declaring he was “pissed off” at Senate Democrats and their “collective amnesia” as they vowed to oppose Trump‘s pick to lead the CIA.
Cheney agreed that the acting CIA director is perfect for the job.
“I think she’d be a great CIA director,” Cheney said. “I think she’s done a great job in terms of the career she’s built, and the people I know at the agency are very enthusiastic about having one of their own, so to speak, in the driver’s seat at the CIA.”
But he is still a very vocal defender of the interrogation techniques that Democrats are focused on.
“The agency is in a difficult position. The Congress has acted, they have changed the law and the agency has to and will operate by that statute,” Cheney said.
“There are a lot of Monday morning quarterbacks in the terrorism business,” he added, noting that people may have different opinions if they had to make those decisions 17 years ago. “You tell me that the only method we have is please, please, pretty please, tell us what you know? Well I don’t buy that.”
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