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We're back now to continue our conversation with Vice President Dick Cheney.
I want to discuss the controversies that we've alluded to over.
National security over the last eight years.
First of all let's get to the big picture wasn't worth it.
Did the decisions that you -- -- placed on interrogation on detention.
On interrogation and surveillance.
Did today in fact save lives that you would maintain would not have been saved under the old rules.
Yes I believe that can you be specific.
-- I guess I directed to.
The intelligence agencies involved and I know specifically.
Attacks that were thwarted Segovia.
The -- -- Attack that was planned out of Heathrow and we're gonna.
Two the liquid bomb attacks hijacked six airliners and blow them up over -- American cities.
There has not been a single attack against the homeland against the United States and seven and a half years there have been attacks in Madrid Spain and London England -- Mumbai and in Bali Mombasa all over the globe and the -- still out there and still very real but the actions.
That we took them based on the presence decisions and based on some outstanding work by the intelligence.
Community and by the military has produced.
A safe seven and a half years I think the record speaks for itself.
But let's drill down into some of the specific.
Measures that you -- first of all -- the warrantless surveillance.
On a massive scale without telling the appropriate court without seeking legislation from congress.
Why not in the aftermath of 9/11 in the spirit of national unity get approval support bring in.
The other branches of government.
Want to tell you story.
About the terror surveillance program we did brief the congress and do what -- if you members we brought in the chairman and the ranking member.
My house and senate and brief them a number of times.
Until -- -- from late 01.
Up until oh -- when there was some additional controversy concern in the program.
At that point we brought in.
What I described as the big nine not only the Intel people but also speaker.
The majority and minority leaders in the house and senate.
And brought them into the situation room in the basement of the White House I presided over the meeting.
We briefed them on the program and what we achieved and -- it worked and asked them.
Should we continue the program they were unanimous.
Republican and Democrat like all agree absolutely essential to continue the program I -- said do we need to come to the congress and get additional legislative authorization.
To continue what we're doing absolutely not don't do it because it will.
To the enemy.
How it is were reading their mail.
That happened and we did consult we did keep them involved -- ultimately ended up having to go to the congress.
The New York Times decided they were gonna make the judge to review all of there are from.
Make all of this available.
Obviously when -- Reacted to -- specifically but it was.
Program that we briefed on repeatedly we did these briefings in my office I presided over them we went to their key people in the house and senate Intel committees and ultimately the entire leadership.
And sought their advice and counsel and they agree we should not come back the congress.
You also push to strip enemy combatants.
Of any ability to challenge their status in court and also.
-- deny them any protection under the Geneva conventions.
Even in the midst of -- war on terror is there something wrong with not allowing even a suspected terrorists to -- His quote day in court to have an independent review of the status of -- Case well did that there's several points there Chris took -- -- -- I think the but first of all you've got to remember that what we did after 9/11 was make a judgment.
That terrorist attacks we were faced with we're not law enforcement problem -- -- in fact of war there was war against the United States.
And therefore that we were justified in using -- -- available for us.
To fight that war and in a war you capture the enemy and you hold them to the horse over.
You don't captured German prisoners of war and then.
Put them on trial in World War II -- -- -- we had to deal with here but in terms of what kind of rights these folks had.
They were not covered by the Geneva conventions were unlawful combatants.
They were not have a Supreme Court we'll get to doubt -- -- to -- we're not just design decision we made it's time based on the present that was available.
They were not.
State -- that I was a party to the Geneva convention.
They did not to adhere to the laws of war.
They spent all their time trying to kill civilians -- it's cheap they're politically and since then Wear uniforms.
I mean by any definition that was available to some time.
The Geneva convention does not traditionally a -- My cousin Terry just here's my -- my Second Amendment -- -- -- -- just ask one question because I think it'll it'll bring that the that the point -- In the first big test case which was against Osama bin Laden's driver -- in palm dot.
Did the military jury in the -- military jury.
Ended up acquitting him all the major charges against him.
The government asked for thirty years to life.
The judge ended up deciding that he should that'd be released based on time served.
The question basically is this even the government can get things wrong sometimes.
So what the question is therefore don't.
-- harm done whomever have a right to have some independent person -- insight this person is being held based on legitimate evidence or not being -- -- Remember that situation and we had hundreds of people that were.
Held at Guantanamo.
The majority of them have been released and they released more released based upon reviews of their cases and determinations that were made that.
That there was no longer need to hold them because there were no longer -- -- they no longer had an intelligence.
They -- all guaranteed and then your review their case at Guantanamo.
And when you do get ultimately the trials they'll be tried by military commissions that will have representation.
The military commissions is exactly the way in World War II.
That we treated those handful of individuals that.
Like for example -- Germans have a tour soon landed on Long Island or captured.
-- tried by military commission.
And subsequently executed and those commissions were upheld the Supreme Court decision after the war.
-- we follow that same basic fundamental precedent here.
Let me ask you about Supreme Court in the last two years I think you'd agree the Supreme Court has sharply.
Under -- the powers of the executive branch it is I think that's an -- Well it is sad that all detainees have a right to challenge their status.
It's that you had to go to congress to get approval of military commissions and it said that in fact.
Even enemy combatants had protections under the Geneva conventions.
Bruce Fein legal conservative scholar.
Worked in the Reagan Justice Department said the following.
The irony with the Cheney crowd pushing the envelope on presidential power is that the president has now ended up with lesser powers -- he would have -- If they had made less extravagant but -- are -- clients.
Did you overreach did you end up making the presidency.
Weaker not stronger I don't believe so I think again -- come back the proposition.
Then when we made judgments for example about military commissions we followed precedent we can't exactly what was -- by FDR and World War II.
Subsequently upheld on the Supreme Court decision but the court -- and what do you make of that what the court -- -- up or change.
The court changed its mind obviously and and he evolved over time and there were different set of judges now so does that mean you're wrong.
Now I don't think we're wrong we have to follow whatever the yeah.
The court determined sometimes -- court makes bad decisions.
Or decisions we disagree with us out of that decision I think it was I think -- We did go and get to the congressional authorization from the congress for the military commissions.
But I do you know I think that frankly the basic decisions and Maine was was wrong it's their authority they vote was five to four.
It was different than the one that and prevailed after World War II that was available to us at the time that we put all in this together but I -- in terms of undermining the presidency.
No I don't think so I think reasonable people can disagree you make decisions -- -- your ability to work with the other branches of government.
If the court makes a judgment or -- and then we comply with the the ruling of the Supreme Court.
In Stephen Hayes -- biography of -- he says that if I had have the -- to ask you back in 2007.
You would have told me that you strongly disagreed with President Bush's decision to fire Donald Rumsfeld the secretary of defense the -- I obviously I did disagree with the decision was my decision to make.
President doesn't always take my advice I will say that I think.
Bob gates has done a good job as secretary of defense I've worked closely with him I've known him a long time.
We work together.
Many many times over the years and so -- engaged in a fine job that I was I was a Rumsfeld and I helped.
Recruiting and I thought -- -- the job force it.
Just to follow up when you look at how badly the occupation was handled.
And in 2006 what a mess Iraq was how much things have improved under Bob gates and General Petraeus.
Who was President Bush right -- world.
Well you'd have to give the president credit for the surge as well to them.
Some some good decisions are made but I'm not one of those who believes nothing good happen in Iraq prior -- 2007.
I think the fact that we were able to go in as effectively as we did it take down that Saddam regime that we were able to kill his son's capture him bringing to trial.
That we had three national elections that the Iraqis were the constitution -- bearing -- today that they've got a government that we just signed historic agreement with the status of forces agreement all of those things happen including the death of Abu Musab.
All of those things happened.
Through the end of 06 cell.
Do what many people wanna do what you say everything was bad for a seven only good after 07 I don't think that's fair and I don't think the president -- -- that analysis nor do I think Bob gates would.
vice president we have to take a final break here but when we come back I'm going to ask Dick Cheney.
About Iran about Osama bin Laden and Nevada how -- and Washington have changed.
Over the last forty.
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