Panel on Cheney and the CIA Debate

Panel on Cheney and the CIA Debate

By Special Report With Bret Baier - August 31, 2009


FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: I think it is an outrageous political act that will do great damage long-term to our capacity to be able to have people take on difficult jobs, make difficult decisions without having to worry about what the next administration is going to say.

WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY ROBERT GIBBS: This is the same song and dance we've heard since literally the first day of our administration. So I don't have a lot to say.


BAIER: Well, the "FOX News Sunday" interview with former Vice President Cheney made a lot of news, but was not too well received at the White House.

We're back with the panel for a little bit of reaction for this interview and the White House response.

Let's start with Steve.

HAYES: Well, I thought what you just saw was Dick Cheney very, very animated for Dick Cheney. He clearly is fired up about this issue.

I think one of the things that was most interesting that he talked about yesterday was the effectiveness of the techniques. And we have seen, I think, a shift in public opinion, certainly a leap in public opinion, about whether these techniques were effective, because of the inspector general's report, which I think is fascinating.

You have got a report that the left wing held up to be this devastating critique of these techniques, and in fact, we learned, I think inescapably have to conclude that the techniques were effective.

There was an interesting story the night before the Cheney interview in The Washington Post about just how effective these techniques were. So I thought he made that case again on Sunday morning and made some news doing so.

WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know about the effectiveness, because in the same Washington Post story, Khalid Sheik Mohammed says to the Red Cross that he lied to the people who were torturing him just to get them to stop torturing him. And that's what we know from that kind of technique.

But without a doubt, after he was subjected to this treatment, the repeated waterboardings, he started to sing more so than he had ever done before.

I don't think there is any question that this is about politics. I think Vice President Cheney is right there when he says, look, Justice Department officials looked into this previously and decided not to prosecute.

The difficulty is at the moment he you have got congressional committees now launching their own investigation, and I think that puts added pressure onto Obama administration.

KRAUTHAMMER: I think there really has been a shift in public opinion, and I think the I.G. report has reflected that quite strongly.

Look, the liberal position was inherently implausible. The position was enhanced interrogation - torture, if you like - doesn't work. Intuitively everybody knows that everybody has a breaking point.

Then you get I.G. report, which tells you in black and white that Khalid Sheik Mohammed said nothing of interest or importance until he was subjected to the simulated drowning and the sleep deprivation. And then he became a professor on Al Qaeda with a chalkboard. And that happened to several others.

And then people have to say, liberals have to say it's a coincidence that he didn't say anything before and spoke after. It's coincidence that there were no attacks in eight years. Cheney is winning on this because it is intuitively and empirically obvious that these techniques have worked and saved many American lives.

BAIER: Well, Steve, what about the Vice President Cheney factor? We saw of course those dueling speeches on that day a few months ago. Is Vice President Cheney now becoming the most effective critic of president Obama?

HAYES: Well, I certainly think he is. I mean, you see how people respond and react, and particularly he drives the left wing in this country nuts.

But look, it helps to have the facts on your side. And on this issue, I think the facts are actually fairly clear: This works. It has worked before, and we have now seen evidence in the inspector general report of just how effective the techniques were.

KRAUTHAMMER: Remember when we had the dueling speeches?

BAIER: Juan, any final words?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think that you have a situation here where Vice President Cheney's legacy is a man who says he protected America over that eight-year period. And he feels President Obama is undermining that legacy by saying that he can do it without breaking the law, without torturing people.

That would put the vice president's legacy in some question, and I think Vice President Cheney is trying to protect that political legacy against President Obama.

So I see this as highly political. I don't think there is any question about that, if that's his point.

BAIER: All right, Charles, ten seconds.

KRAUTHAMMER: That's because the Bush-Cheney administration dispersed and dismantled and weakened Al Qaeda to a point we might be able to afford the soft treatment of the Obama administration and get away with it.

BAIER: I think that was nine, nicely done.


The Incredible Shrinking President
William Murchison · November 18, 2014
Why China Is Cooperating on Climate Change
Steve Chapman · November 16, 2014
Obama's Beijing Surprise
David Ignatius · November 14, 2014
Our Gathering Storm
Michael Gerson · November 14, 2014

Special Report With Bret Baier

Author Archive

Follow Real Clear Politics

Latest On Twitter