Is The Most Forceful Advocate For Probing Torture … Dick Cheney?

May 11, 2009 8:22 a.m.

This goes way beyond strange bedfellows. But it looks like Dick Cheney has emerged as the single most forceful proponent of a full investigation of the Bush administration’s torture policies.

In an interview on CBS’s Face The Nation yesterday, the ex-veep claimed, as he has before, that the Obama administration’s rejection of torture has made us less safe. But he also went further ever in repeatedly arguing — contra congressional Republicans — that we need to look back at the details of the torture program before moving forward.Here’s what Cheney told Bob Schieffer:

When you get rid of enhanced interrogation techniques, for example, or the terrorist surveillance program, you reduce the intelligence flow to the intelligence community upon which we based those policies that were so successful.

So I think before they do that sort of thing, it’s important to sit down and find out what did we learn?

Cheney also reminded Schieffer that last month he had requested that the National Archives release several CIA memos which, he has said, will show that torture was effective.

“Release the memos,” he said yesterday. “And we can look and see for yourself what was produced.” He continued: “If we’re going to have this debate, it ought to be a complete debate, and those memos ought to be out there for people to look at and journalists like yourself to evaluate in terms of what we were able to accomplish with these policies.”

Cheney even told Schieffer that he’d “talk to” congressional investigators about the program, adding: ” I wouldn’t be out here today if I didn’t feel comfortable talking about what we’re doing publicly.”

Here’s video of that exchange, and a bit more:

Of course, the investigation Cheney appears to want to see would have a very different focus from the one that, say, Johnathan Turley is looking for. While torture opponents want a probe to look at exactly who ordered and approved the harsh techniques, with a view to possible prosecutions, the former VP instead seems to want concentrate on the question of torture’s effectiveness — and seems interested only in evidence that would bolster his case that has helped save lives.

Still, it’s hard to look at either question without getting into the other. Which is why the clear consequence of Cheney’s position is to lend support to those calling for a full accounting of what happened.

So how about this for a head-turning new slogan for torture opponents? “Listen To Dick Cheney: Investigate Torture.”

Support The TPM Journalism Fund
  • Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
  • Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: