View Full Version : Cheney Speech Reportedly Refers To 9/11 25 Times

05-21-2009, 04:06 PM
Cheney speech reportedly refers to 9/11 25 times


Published: May 21, 2009

Former Vice President Dick Cheney continued his unprecedented attack on a young presidential administration Wednesday.

Even though Cheney’s predecessor, former Vice President Al Gore, waited a few years before hitting the Bush Administration, the media made sure to remind viewers that such instances were rare, and many hinted that he was wrong to do so, despite waiting. Meanwhile, Cheney, whose popularity ranks lower than most politicians past and present and who may conceivably face future charges for his role in countless alleged illegal acts and decisions, continues to garner tons of attention from the press.

Cheney’s speech at the American Enterprise Institute entitled “Keeping America Safe” - which began after President Obama’s speech ended though it was scheduled before - is garnering live coverage on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel.

At Washington Independent (http://washingtonindependent.com/44032/shorter-dick-cheney-911), David Weigel reports that the speech will refer to 9/11 25 times. The former administration faced a lot of criticism from the left for pulling the “9/11 card” out anytime it found itself in a jam.

Weigel writes, “Cheney talks about the run-up to 9/11, the events of 9/11, where he was on 9/11 (’I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities’), the aftermath of 9/11 (’We could count on almost universal support back then, because everyone understood the environment we were in’), the temporary patriotism of the media (’After 9/11, the Times had spent months publishing the pictures and the stories of everyone killed by al-Qaeda on 9/11′), the threat of a ‘9/11 with nuclear weapons,’ and how the administration prevented another 9/11. In all, he mentions ‘September 11′ or ‘9/11′ 25 times.”

Highlights from Cheney’s speech selected from transcript of prepared remarks (http://thepage.time.com/prepared-remarks-on-national-security-by-dick-cheney-at-the-aei/):
In the years since, I’ve heard occasional speculation that I’m a different man after 9/11. I wouldn’t say that. But I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.
The key to any strategy is accurate intelligence, and skilled professionals to get that information in time to use it. In seeking to guard this nation against the threat of catastrophic violence, our Administration gave intelligence officers the tools and lawful authority they needed to gain vital information. We didn’t invent that authority. It is drawn from Article Two of the Constitution. And it was given specificity by the Congress after 9/11, in a Joint Resolution authorizing “all necessary and appropriate force” to protect the American people.

Our government prevented attacks and saved lives through the Terrorist Surveillance Program, which let us intercept calls and track contacts between al-Qaeda operatives and persons inside the United States. The program was top secret, and for good reason, until the editors of the New York Times got it and put it on the front page. After 9/11, the Times had spent months publishing the pictures and the stories of everyone killed by al-Qaeda on 9/11. Now here was that same newspaper publishing secrets in a way that could only help al-Qaeda. It impressed the Pulitzer committee, but it damn sure didn’t serve the interests of our country, or the safety of our people.

In the years after 9/11, our government also understood that the safety of the country required collecting information known only to the worst of the terrorists. And in a few cases, that information could be gained only through tough interrogations.

In top secret meetings about enhanced interrogations, I made my own beliefs clear. I was and remain a strong proponent of our enhanced interrogation program. The interrogations were used on hardened terrorists after other efforts failed. They were legal, essential, justified, successful, and the right thing to do. The intelligence officers who questioned the terrorists can be proud of their work and proud of the results, because they prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people.

Our successors in office have their own views on all of these matters.
By presidential decision, last month we saw the selective release of documents relating to enhanced interrogations. This is held up as a bold exercise in open government, honoring the public’s right to know. We’re informed, as well, that there was much agonizing over this decision.

Yet somehow, when the soul-searching was done and the veil was lifted on the policies of the Bush administration, the public was given less than half the truth. The released memos were carefully redacted to leave out references to what our government learned through the methods in question. Other memos, laying out specific terrorist plots that were averted, apparently were not even considered for release. For reasons the administration has yet to explain, they believe the public has a right to know the method of the questions, but not the content of the answers.

Over on the left wing of the president’s party, there appears to be little curiosity in finding out what was learned from the terrorists. The kind of answers they’re after would be heard before a so-called “Truth Commission.” Some are even demanding that those who recommended and approved the interrogations be prosecuted, in effect treating political disagreements as a punishable offense, and political opponents as criminals. It’s hard to imagine a worse precedent, filled with more possibilities for trouble and abuse, than to have an incoming administration criminalize the policy decisions of its predecessors.

Apart from doing a serious injustice to intelligence operators and lawyers who deserve far better for their devoted service, the danger here is a loss of focus on national security, and what it requires. I would advise the administration to think very carefully about the course ahead. All the zeal that has been directed at interrogations is utterly misplaced. And staying on that path will only lead our government further away from its duty to protect the American people.
Maybe you’ve heard that when we captured KSM, he said he would talk as soon as he got to New York City and saw his lawyer. But like many critics of interrogations, he clearly misunderstood the business at hand. American personnel were not there to commence an elaborate legal proceeding, but to extract information from him before al-Qaeda could strike again and kill more of our people.

In public discussion of these matters, there has been a strange and sometimes willful attempt to conflate what happened at Abu Ghraib prison with the top secret program of enhanced interrogations. At Abu Ghraib, a few sadistic prison guards abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulations, and simple decency. For the harm they did, to Iraqi prisoners and to America’s cause, they deserved and received Army justice. And it takes a deeply unfair cast of mind to equate the disgraces of Abu Ghraib with the lawful, skillful, and entirely honorable work of CIA personnel trained to deal with a few malevolent men.
I might add that people who consistently distort the truth in this way are in no position to lecture anyone about “values.” Intelligence officers of the United States were not trying to rough up some terrorists simply to avenge the dead of 9/11. We know the difference in this country between justice and vengeance. Intelligence officers were not trying to get terrorists to confess to past killings; they were trying to prevent future killings. From the beginning of the program, there was only one focused and all-important purpose. We sought, and we in fact obtained, specific information on terrorist plans.

Those are the basic facts on enhanced interrogations. And to call this a program of torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who have saved American lives, and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims. What’s more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation methods in the future is unwise in the extreme. It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness, and would make the American people less safe.

05-21-2009, 09:08 PM
But I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.

Of course, since you didn't arrive in the bunker until 9:58am, you missed the entire coordinated, devastating attack, right Dick?

05-21-2009, 09:13 PM

05-21-2009, 09:27 PM
That's a good question. Unless he meant he was watching the TVs from the corridor.

05-21-2009, 09:45 PM
Cheney’s speech false to fact and reason
Olbermann: Former vice president made delusional claims about national security



Finally tonight, as promised, a Special Comment about Mr. Cheney's speech. Neurotic. Paranoid. False to fact and false to reason. Forever self-rationalizing. His inner rage at his own impotence and failure dripping from every word and as irrational, as separated from the real world, as dishonest, as insane, as any terrorist.

The former vice president has today humiliated himself beyond redemption.

The delusional claims he has made this day could be proved by documentation and first-hand testimony to be the literal truth, and still he himself would be wrong, because the America he sought to impose upon the world and upon its own citizens, the dark hateful place of Dick Cheney's own soul, the place he to this hour defends and to this day prefers, is a repudiation of all that our ancestors, all that for which our brave troops of 200 years ago and two minutes ago, have sacrificed and fought.

I do have to congratulate you, Sir. No man living or dead could have passed the buck more often than you did in 35 minutes this morning. It's not your fault we water-boarded people, you said. It isn't torture, you said, even though it is based on 111 years of American military prosecutions. It was in the Constitution that you could do it, even if our laws told you, you could not. It was in

It produced invaluable information, you said, even though the first-hand witnesses, the interrogators of these beasts, said the information preceded the torture and ended when it began. It was authorized, you said, by careful legal opinion, even though the legal opinions were dictated by you and your cronies, and, oh by the way, the torture began before the legal opinions were even written. It was authorized, you said, and you imply even if it really wasn't, it was done to "only detainees of the highest intelligence value."

It was more necessary, you said, because of the revelation of another program by the real villains, the New York Times, even though that revelation was possible because the program was detailed on the front page of the website of a defense department sub-contractor. It was all the fault of your predecessors, you said, who tried to treat terror as a "law enforcement problem," before you came to office and rode to the rescue... after you totally ignored terrorism for the first 20 percent of your first term and the worst attack on this nation in its history unfolded on your ^watch.

"9/11 caused everyone to take a serious second look at threats that had been gathering for awhile," you said today, "and enemies whose plans were getting bolder and more sophisticated." Gee, thanks for being motivated, by the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans, to go so far as to "take a serious second look." And thank you, Sir, for admitting, obviously inadvertently, that you did not take a serious first look in the seven months and 23 days between your inauguration and 9/11.

For that attack, Sir, you are culpable, morally, ethically. At best you were guilty of malfeasance and eternally-lasting stupidity. At worst, Sir, in the deaths of 9/11, you are negligent. The circular logic, and the self-righteous sophistry, falls from a copy of Mr. Cheney's speech like bugs from a book on a moldy shelf. He still believes in "dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists." He still assumes everyone we captured is guilty without charge or trial, but that to prosecute law-breaking by government officials is "to have an incoming administration criminalize the policy decisions of its predecessors."

And most sleazy of all, while calling the CIA torturers "honorable," he insists the grunts at Abu Ghraib were "a few sadistic prison guards (who) abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulations, and simple decency" even though — and maybe he doesn't know we know this — even though there is documentary proof that those guards were acting on orders originating in the office of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.

It is, in short, madness.Madness, Sir. Mr. Cheney, your speech was almost entirely about you. There are only five or six other people even mentioned, and only two quoted at any length. And why would you have quoted, as you did, the man who said this. "I know that this program saved lives. I know we've disrupted plots. I know this program alone is worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us."