Cheney lied repeatedly in speech on closing Guantanamo, paper says

John Byrne
Raw Story
Friday, May 22, 2009

American newspapers don’t use the word “lied” as a matter of form — preferring the more innocuous “false statements,” which is supposed to be less biased. But a McClatchy newspaperarticle Friday says myriad elements of Cheney’s terrorism speech Thursday were tantamount to lies — positing that the former Vice President was guilty of “omissions, exaggerations and misstatements.”

Most significant, notes McClatchy’s Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay, are comments Cheney made about how valuable intelligence that was collected during “harsh interrogations” actually was.

He quoted the Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair , as saying that the information gave U.S. officials a “deeper understanding of the al Qaida organization that was attacking this country.”

In a statement April 21 , however, Blair said the information “was valuable in some instances” but that “there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is that these techniques hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.”

A top-secret 2004 CIA inspector general’s investigation found no conclusive proof that information gained from aggressive interrogations helped thwart any “specific imminent attacks,” according to one of four top-secret Bush-era memos that the Justice Department released last month.

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Cheney lied repeatedly in speech on closing Guantanamo, paper says 335x205 graph128c aj

FBI Director Mueller Robert Muller told Vanity Fair magazine in December that he didn’t think that the techniques disrupted any attacks.

Here’s a rundown of the other “omissions, misstatements and exaggerations” Cheney apparently made:

* Cheney said Obama’s move to release Bush memos on torture was “flatly contrary” to national security.

– Fact: National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair “strongly supported” Obama’s decision to release the memos and said “we do not need these techniques to keep America safe.”

* Cheney claimed that the Bush team “moved decisively against the terrorists in their hideouts and their sanctuaries, and committed to using every asset to take down their networks.”

– Fact: Osama Bin Laden and his chief lieutenant, Ayman al Zawahri , remain at large. Moreover, the US diverted critical military resources from Afghanistan to Iraq, where al Qaeda was not in force until the US invaded.

* Cheney asserted there was no connection between Bush administration torture and detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib.

– Fact: The Senate Armed Services Committee found in December that Abu Ghraib abuses were linked to approval of Bush administration techniques.

* Cheney said “only detainees of the highest intelligence value” were subjected to torture.

– Fact: Cheney ignored Abu Zubaydah.

* Cheney said “the key to any strategy is accurate intelligence.”

– Fact: The Bush administration used bogus intelligence as a pretense for invading Iraq — including a forgery that purportedly linked Saddam Hussein to an attempt to purchase uranium from Niger.

* Cheney ignored the recently “suicided” al Qaida operative Ali Mohamed al Fakheri, who provided bogus intelligence about Iraq’s links to al Qaeda.

* Cheney said Obama selectively released documents on Bush detainee policies.

– Fact: A decision to withhold documents Cheney requested for declassification was made by the CIA under a standing order from President George W. Bush..

* Cheney claimed that only “ruthless enemies of this country” were detained by US agents and sent to secret prisons and Guantanamo.

– Fact: “A 2008 McClatchy investigation, however, found that the vast majority of Guantanamo detainees captured in 2001 and 2002 in Afghanistan and Pakistan were innocent citizens or low-level fighters of little intelligence value who were turned over to American officials for money or because of personal or political rivalries.”

More of Cheney’s falsifications, omissions and misstatements can be read here.

Also of note? Erstwhile President George W. Bush said he didn’t watch either Vice President Cheney or President Barack Obama’s speech.

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