Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday continued his verbal attack against President Obama, saying that the country is more vulnerable to a potential terrorist attack since the Obama administration took power.
Mr. Cheney said that administration’s dismantling of many of the policies and protections instituted by President George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — including the planned closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba and halting controversial prisoner interrogation techniques — have made the country more vulnerable to future attacks.
“That’s my belief,” Mr. Cheney said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I think to the extent that those [Bush-era] policies were responsible for saving lives, that the administration is now trying to cancel those policies … means in the future we’re not going to have the same safeguards we’ve had for the last eight years.”
The former vice president defended controversial interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, saying that it had been an effective tool in extracting useful information from suspected terrorists such as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is accused of helping carry out the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks Washington and New York.
“He did not cooperate fully in terms of interrogations until after waterboarding,” Mr. Cheney said. “Once we went through that process, he produced vast quantities of invaluable information about al Qaida.”
Mr. Obama in January banned the practice on prisoners by U.S. interrogators.
Mr. Cheney said he believes it’s his duty to speak out against the Obama administration “because I think the issues that are at stake here are so important.”
Mr. Cheney also took a shot at former Bush administration Secretary of State Colin Powell, saying that the conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh is a more loyal Republican than the former Army commander.
“If I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I’d go with Rush Limbaugh,” Mr. Cheney said.
Mr. Powell recently said that Republicans need to more move to the center politically and that Mr. Limbaugh’s polarizing far-right rhetoric hurts the party’s image.
Mr. Limbaugh retaliated by accusing Mr. Powell of being “just another liberal” and that he should become a Democrat.
“I think my take on it was Colin had already left the party,” Mr. Cheney said. “I didn’t know he was still a Republican.”
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
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