WASHINGTON — A defiant former Vice President Dick Cheney doubled-down on his defense of the extreme interrogation techniques used by the CIA on detainees in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Sunday, saying, “I would do it again in a minute.”
Critics of the interrogation tactics — detailed in a recently released controversial Senate report — contend they should be considered torture and regretted. But Cheney said there is no “moral equivalence” between the terrorists’ actions and the CIA’s interrogation techniques.
“With respect to trying to define that as torture, I come back to the proposition torture was what the al Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11,” Cheney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “There’s no comparison between that and what we did with the respect to enhanced interrogation.”
The former vice president also dispelled the report’s findings that then-President George W. Bush was unaware of the techniques taking place, saying that Bush authorized the tactics, and the report detailing otherwise is a “lie.”
“We got the authorization from the President and authorization from the Justice Department to go forward with the program,” Cheney said. “It worked.”
Cheney also said he believed the involuntary rectal feeding and hydration tactic revealed in the report was not, in his mind, considered torture, but rather a medical procedure, despite medical experts denouncing the tactic as ineffective and not medically justified.
“That does not meet the definition of what was used in the program,” Cheney said.
Cheney called the report “seriously flawed,” contending that the analysis was conducted in a partisan fashion and was released without speaking to anyone who knew anything about the program.
“It was based on, done only by, Democratic staff,” Cheney told CNN on Sunday. “It’s very, very poor piece of work. It should not be used to judge the agency or the program.”
By Sara Fischer