Cheney Declares (In Secret) That NSA Surveillance Could Have Prevented 9-11 and Calls NSA Abuses “Hogwash”

250px-46_Dick_Cheney_3x4A secret recording has surfaced of Vice President Dick Cheney speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition where he held forth on various subjects — assuming that the session was closed to the public and press. Cheney appears to be intent on, again, revising history to get people to embrace a security state. You may recall how Cheney (who is often cited as a potential defendant in a torture prosecution) publicly assuring the nation that the Bush torture program produced valuable intelligence. That assertion has been previously dismissed by experts and insiders. However, as we discussed recently, the forthcoming Senate Report goes into great deal to show that not only is that assertion untrue but that the CIA actively sought to hide the fact that the torture program produced insignificant intelligence (and that detainees were tortured despite their cooperation in conventional interrogations). Cheney is now fighting to defend the massive surveillance of citizens — again dismissing even the concessions of intelligence officials about abuses and violations under the program. Cheney told a rapturous crowd that all such accounts were “hogwash.” He further pumped the crowd with support for an attack on Iran to add yet another war to our current international conflicts.

In his March 29th remarks, Cheney insisted that suggestions “That we have created in the National Security Agency this monster bureaucracy that’s reading everybody’s mail, listening to everybody’s phone calls, infringing upon our civil liberties and civil rights β€” hogwash.” He then adds the assertion that, if we had only embraced massive surveillance previously, “It probably would’ve allowed us to stop 9/11.”

It is a signature moment for Cheney. Once again, when confronted with the creation of a security state and mass surveillance, he plays the 9-11 card. There has never been any suggestion that the program would have prevented 9-11. More importantly, Cheney seems to be forgetting the findings of virtually every investigation of 9-11 that the CIA and FBI could have prevented the attacks with existing powers. Intelligence officials failed to share information and use existing powers to prevent the attack despite various indications that the attack was coming. Of course those findings do not play as well for expanding the powers and budgets of those very same agencies. Instead, citizens are asked to embrace torture, kill lists, and massive surveillance if they want to avoid an attack.

For many outside of this country, the very fact that Cheney has not been prosecuted for his role in the torture program is a consistent reminder of the failure of the country to fulfilled its obligations under existing treaties, as reflected by the recent U.N. report (only the latest such UN criticism). Cheney is a fascinating study of how some citizens and leaders seem to have an overwhelming inclination toward authoritarian power (not just to wield it but to be subject to it). It could not be more disconnected with the views and values of the Framers who deeply distrusted government powers and foreign entanglements. Even in the face of reports and statements from intelligence officials to the contrary, Cheney continues to deny reality in support of near absolute powers in the president. It is hard to tell if he truly believes these accounts or simply seeks to sustain a rivaling narrative. Either way, it increasingly appears so disconnected from reality as to be doublespeak, or even delusional, for Cheney.

Source: Yahoo

212 thoughts on “Cheney Declares (In Secret) That NSA Surveillance Could Have Prevented 9-11 and Calls NSA Abuses “Hogwash””

  1. Uh…I thought I said I liked coming to this blog because not everyone here is a lawyer. As a trial attorney I like to see how laymen/women view certain issues.

  2. Annie, Not that many actual members of the bar here but some CLE’s are open to the public.

  3. Oh no. Bad spelling should be encouraged. It shows the poster isn’t wasting too much time at work goofing off on the inter-webs.

  4. Seamus,

    Apparently right now it seems to be under control…..whereas the party to the second part not fully understanding that the party of the first part was an intended beneficiary of the part of the second part…..then the unintended beneficiary of the third part decided that they should be a party of the second part….. you know how it goes….

  5. I just saw how many posts were on this story. I revisited it hoping to see something interesting in the comments. Disappointed. I used to participate in these conversations a lot more often. I think the good professor is trying his best. Maybe there should be a CLE requirement before people are allowed to post. But then, part of the fun of this site is discussing legal issues with non-lawyers. And where else could one get his daily Schadenfreude from reading all the typos that the professor allows to exist like free range chickens in his posts. So sad.

    1. seamus – why can’t we can pontificate on the legal problems of the day? Lawyers only get it right (on average) half the time in our adversarial system. Why deprive us of the same opportunity to be wrong. The difference is, we do not charge our clients to be wrong or right.

  6. Raff,

    While I understand the need for growth…. There is also the need for making sure weeds don’t grow in the cracks…. There has always been a healthy exchange of ideals on this site….. Some I agree with, some I don’t…. And if I don’t understand I have never had a problem asking someone to explain what they are saying….. You are aware, here of late it was impossible to have a rational conversation…. And I take exception when you the guest bloggers are singled out…. I am glad that Jonathan is being a little more proactive…. It should cut down on the diminishing dialogue exchanged between rational folks….

  7. BFM, We are a cocky lot. But, the reality is even if we were quiet and humble, other countries would resent us. Hell, we got a lot of people here who resent wealth, be it individual, corporate, or nation.

  8. “Obama does not believe in American exceptionalism, which is just sad. Every country should believe in its exceptionalism. ”

    As I see it the problem with the concept of exceptionalism is that some seem to presume that exceptionalism makes us privileged or entitled to special treatment.

    I think perhaps it was Nixon who remarked that it was a good thing this country consumed more than 30% of the worlds energy.

    Now energy consumption has brought many in this country a life style with many advantages.

    But I think it is becoming clear that many aspects about the US are simply unsustainable. It seems undeniable to me that many facts regarding the relation of the US to the rest of the world will change over the next several decades. Special treatment for US citizens, for example in international law, is unacceptable to many others in the world. Even the special place of US currency in international trade is questionable.

    As exceptional as we may be, the fact is that we are also citizens in a world with many others. It seems to me that the idea that we are exceptional leads to a model of individual and national behavior that tends to provoke problems rather than solutions to common problems.

    The question is then how do we simultaneously maintain an attitude that we demand more from ourselves while understanding that we are entitled to, and likely to receive, no special consideration?

  9. Let me preface my comment, as I always do on this topic, I BELIEVE TORTURE IS WRONG. However, I am not convinced it cannot be effective, The only way will ever know for sure would be a double blind study, which would be a travesty. What I do not abide is people like Feinstein, who is duplicitous by nature, trying to rewrite history. She knows, most people are not opposed to torture. She also knows, when we’re hit again those numbers of people approving torture will go up. Just take the principled stand that, no matter it’s effectiveness, it is wrong and we shall not do it!

  10. “We have moved on at this site. I have banned a few people and deleted dozens of comments. I do not like to do it. We value each and every voice on this site. I just ask you not to bore readers with personal attacks or revisionist posts. We get it. You don’t like each other or the policies of the blog.”

    Sometimes “getting it” is merely the consequence of hubris. Farewell JT, you coulda done me better….but I don’t mind. Obscurity has its rewards, just as fame has its curses.

  11. “I have no problem with people criticizing me or my disinclination to ban people. However, the rather transparent effort to again start a fight over prior conflicts is bizarre β€” as is repeating posting on a site that some say that no longer support.”


    In congratulation for your 21 million visitors and your Fox celebrity. Sometimes winning is in how we, not others define it. πŸ™‚

  12. Raff,

    What I said was respectfully put and said out of concern for the forum. True, it was said in response to a provocation. However, it isn’t a secret that I think self-defense is a human right (be it physical, verbal or otherwise) that is older than any written law. While as a matter of American jurisprudence, self-defense has largely been left to states to incorporate to various degrees from the common law, some cases (like District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago) indicate that SCOTUS considers reasonable self-defense a fundamental right Constitutionally speaking.

    To punish for self-defense is unjust when the response is proportionate. That is why it is allowed as an affirmative defense.

  13. AY,
    you and the rest of our commenters are the reasons why this blog is still a good place to hang out and learn a few things. We are not perfect, and there are disagreements, but it is still a wonderful site to read and participate in. Sure, we miss our old friends and respect their concerns agree with many of them, but we can still discuss interesting and important issues respectfully, and in good faith, and maybe make new friends at the same time. However, we can only do that if everyone discusses the issues respectfully. And I do mean everyone. Just one man’s opinion.

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