Don’t worry/do worry, the sudden burst of free time isn’t making Dick Cheney soft.
In an exclusive interview with Politico, the former vice president says he fears that the Obama team doesn’t know what it takes to defend the United States:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned that there is a “high probability” that terrorists will attempt a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack in coming years, and said he fears the Obama administration’s policies will make it more likely the attempt will succeed. …
“When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,” Cheney said.
Protecting the country’s security is “a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business,” he said. “These are evil people. And we’re not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek.” …
So is Cheney unhinged, dead on or both?
His standing in this public debate is beset by contradictions. Cheney for years has had intimate access to the sort of highly classified national security intelligence that Obama and his teams are only recently seeing.
But many of the top Democratic legal and national security players have long viewed Cheney as a man who became unhinged by his fears, responsible for major misjudgments in Iraq and Afghanistan, willing to bend or break legal precedents and constitutional principles to advance his aims. Polls show he is one of the most unpopular people in national life.
Not that there was any doubt..
In the interview, Cheney revealed no doubts about his own course — and many about the new administration’s.
“If it hadn’t been for what we did — with respect to the terrorist surveillance program, or enhanced interrogation techniques for high-value detainees, the Patriot Act, and so forth — then we would have been attacked again,” he said. “Those policies we put in place, in my opinion, were absolutely crucial to getting us through the last seven-plus years without a major-casualty attack on the U.S.”
Cheney said “the ultimate threat to the country” is “a 9/11-type event where the terrorists are armed with something much more dangerous than an airline ticket and a box cutter – a nuclear weapon or a biological agent of some kind” that is deployed in the middle of an American city.
“That’s the one that would involve the deaths of perhaps hundreds of thousands of people, and the one you have to spend a hell of a lot of time guarding against,” he said.