Let Us Talk

June 15, 2009

Is Dick Cheney Now Anti-American?

In an interview with Jane Mayer for The New Yorker magazine, CIA Director Leon Panetta generated some media attention for saying that “it’s almost as if he is wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point.”

Cheney has repeatedly criticized the Obama Administration’s approach to terrorism and Panetta was responding to a speech the former vice president made at the American Enterprise Institute, where he accused the Administration of making the United States less safe for ordering the closure of the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, halting enhanced interrogations of suspected terrorists and reversing other Bush administration initiatives he says helped to prevent attacks on the U.S.

Panetta’s exact statement was, “I think he smells some blood in the water on the national-security issue. It’s almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point. I think that’s dangerous politics.”

Vice President Joe Biden was asked during an appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if he agreed.  The VP said that “he wouldn’t question the motive behind Cheney’s criticism. He said, “I think Dick Cheney’s judgment about how to secure America is faulty. I think our judgment is correct.”

Complete New Yorker article:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/22/090622fa_fact_mayer

May 14, 2009

No (Declassified) Memos For DICK Cheney

A few weeks ago former vice president Cheney challenged President Obama to declassify two memos that he said he believes shows that the Central Intelligence Agency had reversed acts of terrorism thanks to information collected from interrogations which included waterboarding.

Said Cheney, “The memos do exist. I have seen them. I had them in my files at one time. Now everything is part of the National Archives. I’m sure the agency (CIA) has copies of those materials.”

“If we’re going to have this debate, it ought to be a complete debate. Those memos ought to be out there for people to look at and journalists like yourself to evaluate in terms of what we were able to accomplish.”

Cheney has made it clear that part of his motivation is to defend against possible legal action against Bush officials who authorized or carried out the controversial interrogation policies.

Unfortunately for Dick Cheney he has to continue his ‘I must defend myself tour’ because those memos will not be released. 

A letter dated May 7, 2009, from the CIA’s Information and Privacy Coordinator, Delores M. Nelson, rejected Cheney’s request because the documents he has requested are involved in a Freedom of Information Act court battle.

“In researching the information in question, we have discovered that it is currently the subject of pending FOIA litigation (Bloche v. Department of Defense, Amnesty International v. Central Intelligence Agency). Therefore, the document is excluded from Mandatory Declassification Review,” Nelson wrote in the letter to the National Archives, the agency responsible for handling Cheney’s request.

Cheney spokeswoman Lucy Tutwiler has said, “Vice President Cheney is preparing his appeal to the decision.”

It’s unlikely this matter will dissuade Cheney from criticizing Obama for eliminating the program that he said amounted to torture, though some Republicans are worried about the suddenly high profile of the not so popular former VP.

Cheney has also said he is seeking the documents to help with his memoirs.

April 23, 2009

Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney Irrevocably Linked To Water-boarding

waterboarding  A Senate Intelligence Committee document has revealed that when Condoleezza Rice was Bush’s National Security Adviser she personally verbally approved the CIA’s request to use water-boarding to subject alleged al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah to water-boarding in July 2002.  This is the earliest known decision by a Bush administration official to approve use of water-boarding. 

The report gives a detailed timeline of how the CIA’s violent “enhanced interrogation” techniques was conceived and approved at the highest levels in the Bush White House.  The timeline also shows that Rice played a greater role than she admitted last fall in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

While there have long been suspicions that the White House was involved in the decision, the actions have until now been blamed on the CIA and unnamed officials at the Pentagon.

The report describes a meeting between Dick Cheney, then-CIA Director George Tenet and Dr. Rice in July 2002. The Secretary of State “advised that the CIA could proceed with its proposed interrogation” of alleged al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah, the report said.

In 2003, the CIA briefed Dr. Rice, Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft — the then Attorney General — on the use of water-boarding and other methods including week-long sleep deprivation, forced nudity and the use of stress positions. The Senate report says that officials “reaffirmed that the CIA program was lawful and reflected administration policy”.

CIA memos released by President Obama’s administration last week revealed that Mr. Zubaydah was water-boarded at least 83 times in the course of one month and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad who claimed to have planned the September 11 attacks was water-boarded183 times in one month.

Experts have said that water-boarding is so horrific that even the most hardened terrorists have not been able to stand it for more than a minute without begging to talk.

(more…)

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