Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chris Wallace’s unenhanced interrogation of Dick Cheney

Headline of the Day (London Sunday Times): “Blowpipes Thwart Borneo’s Biofuel Kings.”

Speaking of things that shoot poison darts, the transcript of Dick Cheney’s interview on Fox, mentioned in a previous post, is now out.

He complained about the Justice Dept’s new investigation of CIA torture of prisoners. This has been, he said, “completely reviewed by the Justice Department in years past,” but is now being reviewed by “a political appointee” – it’s unclear whether he means the attorney general or the prosecutor, but either way he’s comparing the “political appointees” in Obama’s Justice Dept with the likes of Gonzales and Yoo, who were... wait for it... “professionals.” “The matter’s been dealt with the way you would expect it to be dealt with by professionals.” Actually, a cover-up is pretty much how most of us have come to expect professionals to deal with something embarrassing and nasty.

AND IF THERE’S ONE THING CHENEY HATES, IT’S TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE PRECEDENTS: Cheney says that the investigation is “a terrible, terrible precedent.” He worries that, “if they are now going to be subject to being investigated and prosecuted by the next administration, nobody’s going to sign up for those kinds of missions.” Where will we get the torturers of the future?

NO OTHER RATIONALE: The investigation is “clearly a political move. I mean, there’s no other rationale for why they’re doing this”. In Cheney’s world, everyone is just as Machiavellian as he is.

WHAT OFFENDS THE HELL OUT OF HIM: “I guess the other thing that offends the hell out of me, frankly, Chris, is we had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from Al Qaeda. The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, how did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?”

On prisoners being threatened with an electric drill: “It was never used on the individual”. So that’s okay then.

He gave an example of how this investigation is destroying the CIA’s ability to keep us from a fiery nuclear holocaust: “ Just today, for example, the courts in Pakistan have ruled that A. Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistan nuclear weapon man who provided assistance to the Iranians, the North Koreans, the Libyans, has now been released from custody.” Technically, house arrest. “It is very, very important we find out and know long term what he is up to. He is, so far, the worst proliferator of nuclear technology in recent history. Now we have got agents and people out at the agency who ought to be on that case and worried about it, but they are going to have to spend time hiring lawyers at their own expense in order to defend themselves against the possibility of charges.” Really, the guy with the drill was going to be investigating A. Q. Khan?

He says he’s perfectly happy being back in private life: “Over the years, you know, I’ve sacrificed a lot in order to be able to do those things I’ve done in the public sector.” Goats, chickens, babies...

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