Former Vice President Dick Cheney Friday called a Justice Department probe into alleged abusive interrogation techniques by CIA agents as an "outrageous political act" that is sure to weaken national security and endanger lives.
In an excerpt from an interview to be aired this weekend on “Fox News Sunday,” Cheney said the investigation would do long term damage to the country's ability to protect itself.
On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced he had named assistant U.S. attorney John Durham to review the CIA interrogations of detainees at secret sites overseas to determine whether any laws were broken.
The move represented a flip-flop from the much-stated position of President Barack Obama, who has said repeatedly that he did not want to launch investigations that could demoralize our intelligence services at a time when the country is fighting two foreign wars. Already, reports indicate that Director of Intelligence Leon Panetta was angry and may ultimately resign over the investigation, which he had vigorously fought against.
"We had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from al Qaeda. The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, 'How did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?'" Cheney said.
"Instead, they're out there now threatening to disbar the lawyers who gave us the legal opinions -- threatening contrary to what the president originally said. They're going to go out and investigate the CIA personnel who carried out those investigations," Cheney added.
Durham is tasked with looking at data obtained about enhanced interrogation techniques to determine whether criminal acts were committed. The data are the same previously reviewed by career prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia, where the CIA is headquartered. The data led to one arrest and conviction.
Cheney has for months has demanded the CIA release materials to show the effectiveness of harsh tactics in enabling interrogators to get information used to thwart planned attacks.
This week, the CIA's inspector general released a declassified report on the use of enhanced interrogation tactics. The report said that CIA agents got valuable information but critics insist the results did not justify the methods.
GOP lawmakers with expertise in intelligence issues have told Newsmax that the probe is likely to descend into a partisan witch hunt to placate Obama’s liberal base, which has pushed for an investigation into the CIA’s conduct during the war on terror for several years.
“This operation that he has announced really goes back and plows ground that has already been covered by the Department of Justice,” Sen. Kit Bond, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Newsmax.TV. The CIA inspector general's report "was turned over to the Department of Justice. They brought one criminal prosecution. The rest of the actions they figured did not have enough basis for criminal prosecution and the agency itself took disciplinary action.
“So I don’t know what he hopes to prove other than to satisfy the president’s left-wing agenda. He’s going to do everything he can to tar the reputation of the people who protected us after 9/11.”
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