News & Politics

Liz Cheney's Non-Denial of Her Father's Role in Authorizing Torture

Cheney claims her father would never ‘substitute his own judgment’ for the CIA’s.

Last month, after President Obama released Bush-era legal memos authorizing torture, McClatchy’s Jonathan Landay reported that former Vice President Dick Cheney “applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime.” Earlier this week, former NBC News investigative producer Robert Windrem reported for The Daily Beast that in 2003, “Cheney’s office suggested waterboarding an Iraqi prisoner, a former intelligence official for Saddam Hussein, who was suspected to have knowledge of a Saddam-al Qaeda connection.”

On ABC’s This Week today, Cheney’s daughter, Liz Cheney, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, responded to the allegations by pointing to a report yesterday in which intelligence officials “denied that the questioning on Iraq had included waterboarding.” Asked, however, if she denied that Cheney’s office asked “to have information about Iraq-al Qaeda connections presented” to the Iraqi detainee, Cheney did not outright deny it:

STEPHANOPOLOUS: You’ve explained one part of it, I just want to ask you to explain another part of it. The report though that the vice president’s office did ask specifically to have information about Iraq-al Qaeda connections presented to this detainee, do you deny that?

CHENEY: I think that it’s important for us to have all the facts out. And and, the first and most important fact is that the vice president has been absolutely clear that he supported this program, this was an important program, it saved American lives. Now, the way this policy worked internally was once the policy was determined and decided, the CIA, you know, made the judgments about how each individual detainee would be treated. And the Vice President would not substitute his own judgment for the professional judgment of the CIA.

Faiz Shakir is the Research Director at the Center for American Progress and serves as Editor of and The Progress Report.
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