Cheney: We only waterboarded two or three people
Former Vice President Dick Cheney continued his media book tour on Tuesday morning, appearing on The Today Show to still support the decisions made in the Bush White House.
Cheney, promoting his book In My Time, was asked by co-host Matt Lauer about the possible scenario of Iran waterboarding a supposed American spy.
“Would it be okay for the Iranian government to waterboard that American citizen?”
“Well, we probably would object to it,” Cheney said.
Lauer pressed: “On the grounds that it’s torture?”
“On the grounds that we have obligations towards our citizens, and we do everything to protect our citizens,” Cheney replied.
When Lauer continued to inquire if Cheney was being hypocritical in his thinking, the controversial figure did not back down from his sentiments.
“First of all, these were not American citizens,” he said, “Secondly, it was people like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who were a handful, 2 or 3, that actually got waterboarded. Third, we had good reason to believe they had information that we could only get from them and that they knew more than anyone else.”
Lauer, though hesitant himself to say waterboarding, continued in his questioning on the matter. “You know though that if you were to conduct a poll in this country right now and ask people, ‘Is waterboarding torture?’ I think the vast majority of people would say it is. ”
Cheney replied: “And I would argue Matt that it’s important for us not to get caught up in the notion that you can only have popular methods of interrogation if you want to run an effective counter-terrorism program.”
“The fact is, it worked,” he added. “We learned valuable, valuable information in that process, and we kept the country safe for over 7 years.”
When asked about Osama bin Laden being killed under President Obama’s watch, Cheney did give the current President credit. However, Cheney also stated, “It all started under Bush.”
The former Vice President also expressed how he is still bothered by President Bush’s decision to not pardon Scooter Libby, the former Vice President’s Chief of Staff who outed the identify of ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame.
“Scooter was treated unfairly,” he said. “I really think he was badly treated. He deserved a pardon. The President disagreed, he got to make the decision, and it’s one we still disagree with.”
WATCH: Video from NBC, which aired on August 30, 2011.