Dick Cheney gave an interview to Politico in which he warned of the ongoing danger of terrorist attack and criticized the Obama administration for relaxing its guard:
“If it hadn’t been for what we did — with respect to the terrorist surveillance program, or enhanced interrogation techniques for high-value detainees, the Patriot Act, and so forth — then we would have been attacked again,” he said. “Those policies we put in place, in my opinion, were absolutely crucial to getting us through the last seven-plus years without a major-casualty attack on the U.S.”
Cheney said “the ultimate threat to the country” is “a 9/11-type event where the terrorists are armed with something much more dangerous than an airline ticket and a box cutter – a nuclear weapon or a biological agent of some kind” that is deployed in the middle of an American city.
“That’s the one that would involve the deaths of perhaps hundreds of thousands of people, and the one you have to spend a hell of a lot of time guarding against,” he said.
“I think there’s a high probability of such an attempt. Whether or not they can pull it off depends whether or not we keep in place policies that have allowed us to defeat all further attempts, since 9/11, to launch mass-casualty attacks against the United States.”
Cheney defended the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay especially vigorously. On the Obama administration’s approach to foreign affairs, he said:
But he said he worried that “instead of sitting down and carefully evaluating the policies,” Obama officials are unwisely following “campaign rhetoric” and preparing to release terrorism suspects or afford them legal protections granted to more conventional defendants in crime cases.
The choice, he alleged, reflects a naive mindset among the new team in Washington: “The United States needs to be not so much loved as it needs to be respected. Sometimes, that requires us to take actions that generate controversy. I’m not at all sure that that’s what the Obama administration believes.”
Cheney also commented on the current political scene:
“You have Daschle with his tax problem. You have [Treasury Secretary Tim] Geithner with his tax problem. You have Charlie Rangel, who’s chairman of the Ways and Means Committee — doesn’t understand the tax code. You have Chris Dodd, who got special — alleged special terms” on a mortgage.
“If I look at that from our standpoint,” Cheney said, “I’d start to worry about it if I were a Democrat. There’s nothing more dangerous, politically, than hypocrisy. At some point, here, we’re going to get critical mass.”
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