Former Vice President Dick Cheney harshly criticized President Barack Obama's policies concerning the Middle East and the National Security Agency during a private speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition spring meeting in Las Vegas.
"The bottom line is the United States' position in [the Middle East] is worse than at any time in my lifetime," Cheney was recorded saying during a closed-door meeting in a tape obtained by Mother Jones
"It's reached the point where Israel and Egypt, [the United Arab] Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan are closer to one another — imagine that! — than any of them is to us," Cheney said. "Nobody who's been our friend in the past any longer has any sense of trust in we'll keep our commitment, that we'll be there in a crisis when they need us. On the other hand, none of our adversaries need fear us."
Mother Jones also reported that Cheney defended the NSA's controversial phone and Internet surveillance program, saying the belief "that we have created in the National Security Agency this monster bureaucracy that's reading everybody's mail, listening to everybody's phone calls, infringing upon our civil liberties and civil rights. Hogwash."
Cheney said America's problem is that "we don't have a president who can stand up and defend the program," Mother Jones reported. "Nobody believes him — for good reason. Look what he did with healthcare."
Cheney also reflected on some of the potential 2016 presidential candidates, saying some sound too isolationist with regard to the Middle East.
"It's not taking over, by any means, but there is without question a body of thought now that's supported by many Republicans and some candidates that the United States can afford to turn its back on that part of the world," Cheney said, without referring to any specific potential candidates.
He added that anyone who remembers the 9/11 terrorist attacks knows "it makes absolutely no sense at all for us to contemplate that course of action," Mother Jones reported.
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