Former Vice President Dick Cheney said the U.S. should restart its enhanced interrogation techniques — often considered torture — after the issue was thrust to the forefront during Gina Haspel’s confirmation fight to become CIA director.
“If it were my call, I would not discontinue those programs,” he said in an interview that aired Thursday morning on Fox Business. “I’d have them active and ready to go, and I’d go back and study them and learn.”
Cheney has long defended the post-9/11 tactics even as the national climate shifted over the years. Congress has since banned them.
“I think the techniques we used were not torture. A lot of people try to call it that, but it wasn’t deemed torture at the time,” he told Maria Bartiromo. “People want to go back and try to rewrite history, but if it were my call, I’d do it again.”
Haspel, the acting director, faced a barrage of Democratic questions on the morality of techniques like waterboarding at her Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing Wednesday. She oversaw a secret CIA facility in Thailand where two suspected terrorists were subject to them — one on her watch — in 2002 and later pushed for the destruction of tapes of the interrogations.
“I think she’d be a great CIA director,” Cheney said. “I think she’s done a great job in terms of the career she’s built, and the people I know at the agency are very enthusiastic about having one of their own, so to speak, in the driver’s seat at the CIA.”
Haspel faces what’s expected to be a razor-thin confirmation vote in the Senate. Her odds looked better Wednesday afternoon when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced his support — but Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) threw a wrench in the works when he said Wednesday night that he would oppose her.