Former US vice president Dick Cheney has defended the CIA's brutal interrogation techniques against prisoners.
His statement comes days after a Senate report exposed the extent of the use of torture by US agents during the George W Bush presidency.
Mr Cheney, a former oil CEO who was second in command during the Bush administration, said he would happily give the order again for such actions “in a minute” and insisted they did not amount to torture.
“Torture to me is an American citizen on his cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the [World Trade Center] on 9/11,” Mr Cheney told US new channel NBC’s Meet The Press programme.
“There’s this notion that there’s moral equivalence between what the terrorists did and what we do and that’s absolutely not true. We were very careful to stop short of torture … I’d do it again in a minute.”
The landmark investigation last week by the United States Senate found that torture meted out by US forces was completely ineffective in obtaining reliable intelligence in the fight against terrorism.
CIA torture report: Who knew what?
CIA torture report: Who knew what?
1/6 GEORGE W BUSH
FORMER US PRESIDENT President Bush has stated in his autobiography that he discussed the programme, including the use of enhanced techniques, with then CIA director George Tenet in 2002, prior to application of the techniques on Abu Zubaydah, and personally approved them. A memoir by the former Acting CIA General Counsel John Rizzo disputes this.
2/6 JOHN BRENNAN
FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR AND NOW DIRECTOR, CIA Among those who were sent an update on 26 July 2002, in which CIA officers were said to be involved in “sound disorientation techniques,” “sense of time deprivation,” limited light, cold temperatures”, and sleep deprivation. The plan was circulated to senior CIA officers.
3/6 CONDOLEEZZA RICE
FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER On 31 July, 2002, she said that, in balancing the application of the CIA’s interrogation techniques against the possible loss of American lives, she would not object to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques if the Attorney General determined them to be legal.
4/6 GEORGE J TENET
FORMER DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE, CIA In late January 2003, in response to the death of CIA detainee Gul Rahman and the use of a gun and a drill in the CIA interrogations, DCI Tenet signed the first formal interrogation and confinement guidelines for the programme.
5/6 DONALD RUMSFELD
FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENCE Donald Rumsfeld was made aware of the CIA interrogation programme prior to recertification of the covert action for the first time in a 25-minute briefing on 16 September, 2003. It was Condoleezza Rice who ordered his briefing.
6/6 COLIN POWELL
FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE A CIA email dated 31 July, 2003 states: “The [White House] is extremely concerned [Secretary of State] Powell would blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what’s been going on.” He was formally briefed for the first time on 16 September that year.
The former vice president said he did not believe the report, however.
“It worked,” he maintained. “It absolutely worked.”
Earlier this week Mr Cheney took to the FOX News television station to denounce the 6000-page classified document, which he admitted he had not yet read.
The report was “full of crap”, he said, denying that the president had been unaware of the operations of the CIA.
“[The president] was in fact an integral part of the program," he said. "He had to approve it before we moved forward with it. He knew everything he needed to know and wanted to know about the program."Reuse content