Former Vice President Dick Cheney is standing by his spirited defense of harsh interrogation techniques used against terrorist suspects during the George W. Bush administration.
Given another chance to authorize such methods, Cheney declared on NBC’s Meet the Press today: “I’d do it again in a minute.”
He denied that waterboarding was a form of torture and noted that several attorneys general had affirmed that.
“Torture is what the Al Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11,” Cheney said on NBC. “There is no comparison between that and what we did with respect to enhanced interrogation.”
“Cheney also disputed the notion that any American taken prisoner overseas by terrorists was now at greater risk of being subjected to techniques like those used by the CIA.
“‘He’s not likely to be waterboarded. He’s likely to have his head cut off,’ the former vice president said of a potential American taken hostage by a group like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. ‘I haven’t seen them waterboard anybody.'”
However, the Bush administration official who authored the legal justification for the enhanced interrogation program says that sleep deprivation, rectal feeding and other harsh treatment outlined in the Senate report might violate U.S. anti-torture laws.
“If these things happened as they’re described in the report … they were not supposed to be done,” John Yoo, who was a deputy assistant U.S. attorney general in the Office of the Legal Counsel in 2002, told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS. “And the people who did those are at risk legally because they were acting outside their orders.”