Former Vice President Dick Cheney fiercely defended the CIA’s brutal, post-9/11 interrogation tactics on Sunday, days after the release of a controversial Senate report into the practices.
In a Meet the Press interview, Cheney, who has spoken in favor of the so-called enhanced interrogation program more than any other Bush administration official, said he has no qualms about seeing the order given again.
“I’d do it again in a minute,” he told NBC’s Chuck Todd.
The former Vice President was sharply critical of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report, which was concluded in 2012 and partially declassified last week. It found that the interrogation practices were not effective, while the CIA maintains their efficacy is “unknowable.”
“It worked,” Cheney maintained. “It absolutely worked.”
He drew a distinction between the report’s graphic description of “rectal feedings” and other tactics like waterboarding, which he maintained are not torture.
“What was done here was not one of the techniques approved,” Cheney said, adding that he believed it was carried out for medical reasons. At least five detainees were subjected to rectal rehydration or feeding, according to the report. “We made certain going forward we were not violating the law,” he continued.
Cheney said he was unconcerned by the report’s findings that more than two dozen detainees were found to be wrongfully held, including a mentally challenged man: “I’m more concerned with the bad guys that were released than the few that were innocent.”
He lauded the agency’s interrogators, who have come under renewed fire in the wake of the report’s release. “I’m perfectly comfortable that they should be praised,” he said. “They should be decorated.”
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