Former Vice President Dick Cheney speaks on America's national security policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington on May 21, 2009. Cheney said that waterboarding and the Guantanamo Bay prison were essential for keeping America safe. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) | License Photo
WASHINGTON, April 6 (UPI) -- During an exclusive interview on CNN today, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader, D-Calif., said during the Bush-Cheney administration, "Vice President Cheney set a tone and an attitude for the CIA."
"Many people in the CIA are so patriotic, they protect our country in a way to avoid conflict, violence, etc. But the attitude that was there came from Dick Cheney. That's what I believe," Pelosi told CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley. "I think he's proud of it."
Pelosi was referring to a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report critical of the CIA's use of "enhanced interrogation" after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Last Thursday, after the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify the executive summary and conclusions of its report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program and the Republican minority's dissenting report, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate's Intelligence Committee, read a statement:
"The purpose of this review was to uncover the facts behind this secret program, and the results were shocking. The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation. It chronicles a stain on our history that must never again be allowed to happen.
“The report also points to major problems with CIA’s management of this program and its interactions with the White House, other parts of the executive branch and Congress. This is also deeply troubling and shows why oversight of intelligence agencies in a democratic nation is so important.
“The release of this summary and conclusions in the near future shows that this nation admits its errors, as painful as they may be, and seeks to learn from them. It is now abundantly clear that, in an effort to prevent further terrorist attacks after 9/11 and bring those responsible to justice, the CIA made serious mistakes that haunt us to this day. We are acknowledging those mistakes, and we have a continuing responsibility to make sure nothing like this ever occurs again."
Liz Cheney, the former vice president’s daughter who held several positions in the U.S. State Department during the George W. Bush administration, said as a panelist on Fox News Sunday:
"I think it is very sad to see Sen. Feinstein do what she is doing. From what we have seen from the press reports about this report was that it was entirely written by Democratic staffers, as General Hayden (former Director of the National Security Agency and director of the CIA) said, no one spoke to a single CIA official who was involved in the program and some press reports said the staffers relied on the accounts of terrorist themselves and took what they said at face value in terms of descriptions of what occurred in the program.
"This is a program that will be debated clearly for decades in this county and I think it is fine to have that debate.
“But, if you’re going to say that we should not have conducted the enhanced interrogation program, if you’re going to say that we shouldn’t have waterboarded three terrorists, then you’ve got to say that you’re willing to accept the consequences of that.
“You’ve got to be willing to say how many American lives would you have been willing to put at risk because you didn’t want to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee initiated the study of CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program in March 2009. Committee staff received more than 6 million pages of materials, the overwhelming majority of which came from the CIA, but also included documents from the Departments of State, Justice and Defense. Committee staff reviewed CIA operational cables, memoranda, internal communications, photographs, financial documents, intelligence analysis, transcripts and summaries of interviews conducted by the CIA inspector general while the program was ongoing and other records for the study, Feinstein said.
[Sen. Dianne Feinstein statement]