Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday the rectal feeding and hydration described in a Senate report on harsh CIA tactics was carried out on suspected terrorists for “medical reasons” and did not constitute torture.
“In my mind, I’ve told you what meets the definition of torture: what 19 guys armed with airplane tickets and box cutters did on 9/11,” a defiant Cheney said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “What was done here was certainly not one of the techniques that was approved [by the White House].
“I believe it was done for medical reasons,” he said.
Cheney was vice president under George W. Bush at the time the CIA carried out the techniques. He called the so-called CIA “torture” report prepared and released by the Senate Intelligence Committee last week “seriously flawed."
“They didn’t talk to anybody who knew anything about the program. They didn't talk to anybody within the program,” Cheney said. “The best guide for what in fact happened is the one that's the report that was produced by the three CIA directors and deputy directors of the CIA when this program was undertaken.”
When host Chuck Todd presented Cheney with descriptions of questionable techniques, including handcuffing prisoners to bars over their head for 22 straight hours or placing them in a confinement box, the former vice president repeatedly turned the conversation back to 9/11.
“Torture is what the al Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11," he said.
Asked whether President Obama should issue a blanket pardon to CIA agents involved, Cheney scoffed at the suggestion.
“There’s no pardon needed. No crime was committed,” he said.