Former Vice President Dick Cheney has called the controversial Senate committee report on "enhanced interrogation techniques" both "hooey" and "full of crap" in interviews over the past week.
On Sunday, he added that it was a "crock" and said he'd authorize the same tactics again "in a minute" to prevent another 9/11-type attack.
Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Cheney disputed that the techniques, including waterboarding, were torture, as Senate Democrats and Republican Sen. John McCain maintain.
"Torture to me, Chuck, is an American citizen on his cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York City on 9/11," Cheney told "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd.
Cheney blasted the notion of "moral equivalence" between terrorism and American actions.
"The Senate has seen fit to label their report 'torture.' But we worked hard to stay short of that definition," Cheney said.
He reiterated a point made last week that the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel was consulted to avoid breaking any treaties.
"All of the techniques that were authorized by the president were, in effect, blessed by the Justice Department opinion that we could go forward with those without, in fact, committing torture."
Todd pressed Cheney on the reports of forced rectal feeding. Cheney said that did not fit the definition of techniques used in the program, and he said he believed it was done for medical reasons.
"The report is seriously flawed," he said, noting that the Intelligence Committee staff didn't talk to anybody who knew anything about the program or who was in the program. Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein has said that wasn't possible because of a federal investigation that was ongoing at the time.
Cheney said the best report on what was in the program is the one prepared by the three former CIA directors and deputy directors. It lays out in "very clear terms what we did and how we did it," Cheney said.
He noted that Col. Bud Day, Col. Leo Thorsness and Adm. Jeremiah Denton, who all spent time as prisoners of war in Vietnam, disagree with fellow former POW Sen. John McCain that waterboarding is torture.
Cheney steadfastly maintained that the EITs (enhanced interrogation techniques) worked, adding that even though some innocent people had them used against them, he is more concerned about the 30 percent of detainees who have been released and returned to the battlefield.
"I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective, and our objective is to get the guys who did 9/11, and it is to avoid another attack against the United States," Cheney said. "I'd do it again in a minute."
He disputed that Japanese soldiers where prosecuted for using waterboarding, saying that they were tried for far worse atrocities.
"It's a really cheap shot to even try to draw a parallel between the Japanese who were prosecuted for war crimes after World War II and what we did with waterboarding three individuals, all of whom were guilty and participated in the 9/11 attacks," he said.
Cheney also refused any suggestion by Todd that terrorists might use waterboarding on captured American soldiers.
"He's not likely to be waterboarded. He's likely to have his head cut off," Cheney said.
CIA officials involved in the EITs, "deserve our praise. They deserve to be decorated. They don't deserve to be harassed," Cheney said.
Going after them now puts current agents in fear that by doing their jobs "some politician's gonna come back and want a piece of your fanny," he said.
Cheney said no presidential pardon is needed for the CIA agents involved because no crime was committed.
"It's a crock. It's not true," he said of the Senate report.
And he disagrees with the report's conclusion that the EITs did not work.
"It worked. It absolutely did work," Cheney said.
The Justice Department, which spent years looking into the matter, says it lacks sufficient evidence to convict anyone and found no new information in the report. It also is far from clear that any international case could be brought.
Department officials said last week they will not revisit their 2012 decision to close the investigation, citing among other challenges the passage of time and the difficulty of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that crimes were committed, especially in light of government memos that gave interrogators extraordinary latitude.
"Our inquiry was limited to a determination of whether prosecutable offenses were committed. Importantly, our investigation was not intended to answer the broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct," the department said in a statement after the Senate report was released.
That conclusion followed a criminal investigation led by special prosecutor John Durham that begun in 2009 as an outgrowth of a probe into the destruction of videotapes of CIA interrogation tactics. The criminal inquiry came after the release of an internal CIA inspector general's report that said CIA interrogators once threatened to kill the children of a Sept. 11 suspect and suggested that another suspected terrorist would be forced to watch his mother being sexually assaulted.
Durham's mandate was expanded to look for potential crimes in the deaths of two detainees, including one who was shackled to a cold concrete wall in a secret CIA prison, while in custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. In closing the investigation, the department said it had examined the cases of roughly 100 detainees alleged to have been in U.S. custody, but did not find enough evidence to convict anyone.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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