"That's all well and good. That's a plus that he's learned in that regard. But I still worry that until you've been there," he said, referring to being in power on a day like 9/11, "It certainly stimulated in me and, I think, the President I worked for, an absolute commitment that that's never going to happen again on our watch. And that we'll do whatever we have to do in order to prevent it. And I hope President Obama is to that point now where he has that same basic attitude."
"But we might never find out until there's actually another attack," he said, according to text excerpts.
Here's video of part of his remarks. Transcript below.
Jamie Gangel: You said you believe President Obama has made America less safe. That he's actually raised the risk of attack. Do you still feel that way?
Dick Cheney:Well, when I made that comment, I was concerned that the counterterrorism policies that we'd put in place after 9/11 that had kept the nation safe for over seven years were being sort of rapidly discarded. Or he was going to attempt to discard them. Things like the enhanced interrogation techniques or the terror surveillance program.
They'd been vital from our perspective in terms of learning basic fundamental intelligence about al Qaeda, about how they operated, who they were, where we could find them. And we were able to put in place a successful policy that did prevent any further major attacks against the United States over all those years. And he campaigned against all of that.
As I say, I think he's found it necessary to be more sympathetic to the kinds of things we did. They've gotten active, for example, with the drone program, using Predator and the Reaper to launch strikes against identified terrorist targets in the various places in the world.
That's all well and good. That's a plus that he's learned in that regard. But I still worry that until you've been there -- clearly a day I'll never forget-- 9/11-- I mean most Americans will always remember where they were on that day. But to sit in the Presidential bunker under the White House as al Qaeda launches hijacked aircraft and hits New York, hits Washington and kills 3,000 Americans, that's something I'll never forget.
And-- it requires you to-- certainly stimulated in me and I think the President I worked for an absolute commitment that that's never going to happen again on our watch. And that we'll do whatever we have to do in order to prevent it. And I hope President Obama is to that point now where he has that same basic attitude. But we might never find out until there's actually another attack.
He obviously has been through the fires of becoming President and having to make decisions and live with the consequences.
I think he's-- in terms of a lot of the terrorism policies-- the early talk, for example, about prosecuting people in the CIA who've been carrying out our policies-- all of that's fallen by the wayside. I think he's learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate. So I think he's learned from experience. And part of that experience was the Democrats having a terrible showing last election.