Cheney Championed Interrogations Before Congress

Veep intervened when legislators got twitchy
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2009 4:18 AM CDT
Former Vice President Dick Cheney speaks at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington last month.   (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Dick Cheney personally led at least four briefings with senior House and Senate members about harsh interrogation techniques, reports the Washington Post. The former vice president's interventions took place at critical moments when Congress was threatening to investigate or even outlaw techniques, such as waterboarding, that are widely considered torture. Although Cheney was a vocal advocate for the Bush administration's policies in public, his role in defending the program to Congress was previously unknown.

CIA documents delivered to Congress last month make no mention of Cheney's role in lawmakers' briefings on so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. At one contentious 2005 meeting, Cheney and then-CIA head Porter Goss tried to persuade John McCain to withdraw a proposed anti-torture amendment. "His office was ground zero," said Sen. Lindsay Graham. "It was his office you dealt with at the end of the day." (Read more Dick Cheney stories.)