POLITICS

Cheney: I'm Defending "Little Guys" Against Torture Investigations

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is speaking out against possible investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the harsh interrogation techniques employed by the CIA.

"This is the first time that I can recall that we've had an administration come in, take power, and then suggest using the power of the government against their predecessors, from a legal standpoint," Cheney said in an interview Monday. "Criminal prosecution of lawyers in the Justice Department whose opinions they disagreed with on an important issue. Criminal prosecutions. When was the last time that happened?"

Cheney, who thinks the CIA should release specific memos that show how interrogations allegedly helped bring important information to light, says he wants to avoid a repeat of the Iran-Contra investigations, in which senior officials ducked responsibility, pinning it on more junior-level staffers.

Cheney told the Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes that he thinks it is important to speak out when "President Obama is wrong on important issues facing the nation."

I went through the Iran-contra hearings and watched the way administration officials ran for cover and left the little guys out to dry. And I was bound and determined that wasn't going to happen this time. I think to George Tenet's credit--I don't agree with George on a lot of stuff--but I think he was of the same view and that's why we had all of these requests coming through for policy guidance and for legal opinions. And this time around I'll do my damndest to defend anybody out there--be they in the agency carrying out the orders or the lawyers who wrote the opinions. I don't know whether anybody else will, but I sure as hell will.

HT to Think Progress, which points out that the Bush officials being implicated are not low-level staffers.

The Bush officials implicated in approving torture were hardly "little" -- they were the senior-most Bush administration officials, such as David Addington, Jay Bybee, and Alberto Gonzales.

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