Cheney says Obama’s policies ‘raise the risk’ of U.S. terror attack

The Obama administration has endangered Americans and opened the country to further attack by reversing Bush administration anti-terrorism policies such as harsh interrogations of suspects, former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday.

Cheney told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the Bush administration’s “alternative” interrogation techniques were “absolutely essential” to preventing further assaults like the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. Critics said those techniques amounted to the torture of prisoners in American custody. “President Obama campaigned against it all across the country, and now he is making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack,” Cheney said. Since taking office in January, Obama has announced plans to close the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to halt the military trials of suspected terrorists there, and to make CIA officers follow the Army field manual’s rules on interrogations.

‘State of the Union’

John King’s interview with Dick Cheney will be re-broadcast.
Sunday, noon and 8 p.m. ET

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During Sunday’s wide-ranging interview, Cheney also defended the Bush administration’s economic record, arguing he and former President Bush handled multiple crises as best they could. Watch Cheney tout Bush administration » “Stuff happens, and an administration has to be able to respond to that and we did,” Cheney told CNN’s “State of the Union.” The Bush administration took office with a budget surplus and left with deep deficits and higher unemployment.

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But Cheney said the administration had to grapple with the September 11, 2001 al Qaeda attacks and the resulting war in Afghanistan, as well as the disaster of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. He also defended the invasion of Iraq, which the administration launched in 2003. Obama has begun to wind down the widely unpopular war, but Cheney said: “We’ve accomplished nearly everything we set out to do.”