Former Vice President Dick Cheney pulls no punches in his new memoir, focusing attacks on several members of the Bush administration including two Bush-era secretaries of state, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.
Cheney’s book “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,”
is scheduled for release next week, but a copy has been obtained by The New York Times.
And Cheney told NBC News that “there are going to be heads exploding all over Washington” after people read his book.
Cheney charges that Powell sought to undermine President Bush by privately expressing doubts about the Iraq war, and reveals that he took steps to have Powell removed from his post after Bush’s 2004 re-election.
“It was as though he thought the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government,” Cheney writes, adding that Powell’s resignation was “for the best.”
Cheney also chastises Powell’s successor Rice, saying she was naïve during her negotiations with North Korea over nuclear weapons.
In another passage involving Rice, Cheney discusses Bush’s claim about Iraq’s quest to obtain uranium in Niger, which was cited to support the decision to invade Iraq. Cheney says that unlike other presidential aides, he saw “no need to apologize for making that claim,” The Times reports.
Rice eventually came around to his view, Cheney writes: “She came into my office, sat down in the chair next to my desk and tearfully admitted I had been right.”
Cheney also levels criticism at George Tenet, who resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 “when the going got tough,” a move Cheney calls “unfair to the president.”
Other eyebrow-raising disclosures in Cheney’s book include:
Get Dick Cheney's New Book with Free Offer, Click Here Now.
- Cheney urged President Bush to bomb a suspected nuclear reactor site in Syria in 2007. He advised Bush to take "military action against the reactor," which Israel attacked a short time later. The president and his advisers turned down Cheney’s advice in favor of a diplomatic approach.
- Cheney had a secret resignation letter signed and stored in a safe for most of the Bush administration because of “the possibility that I might have a heart attack or a stroke that would be incapacitating,” he told NBC's Jamie Gangel. “There is no mechanism for getting rid of a vice president who can’t function.” Cheney says he signed the resignation letter in March 2001, about two months after taking office, and only Bush and one of the vice president's staff members knew the letter existed.
- Cheney did offer to resign several times before Bush’s re-election bid in 2004 for fear that he could harm the GOP ticket. Bush said he wanted Cheney to stay at his post.
- Cheney has no regrets regarding the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, on terrorist suspects. “I would strongly support using it again if we had a high value detainee and that was the only way we could get him to talk,” he told Gangel.
- Cheney commanded the government’s immediate response to the 9/11 attacks from a bunker beneath the White House while the president was away from Washington. “My past government experience had prepared me to manage the crisis during those first few hours on 9/11, but I knew that if I went out and spoke to the press, it would undermine the president,” Cheney discloses. “We were at war. Our commander in chief needed to be seen as in charge, strong, and resolute — as George W. Bush was.”
- The vice president saw his influence wane during Bush’s second term, and when the president decided to replace Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense, Cheney was not consulted.
- Cheney lauds Barack Obama for his support of a bank bailout bill when he was a U.S. senator before the 2008 election. But he disapproves of President Obama’s decision to withdraw the 33,000 additional troops he sent to Afghanistan in 2009, and says he has been “happy to note” that Obama has not followed through on his vow to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
- After undergoing heart surgery in 2010, Cheney was unconscious for several weeks. During that time, The Times reports, “he had a prolonged, vivid dream that he was living in an Italian villa, pacing the stone paths to get coffee and newspapers.”
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