Cheney calls for US to restart interrogation programs

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday the CIA should restart the controversial enhanced interrogation program used during the George W. Bush administration.

“If it were my call, I would not discontinue those programs. I'd have them active and ready to go,” Cheney said during an interview with Fox Business. “And I'd go back and study them and learn."

Cheney, a former secretary of Defense, has long defended the interrogation program that was launched after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. While critics denounce the techniques that were used as torture, Cheney says the program was necessary to keep the nation safe.

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“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.”

Following the capture of terrorist suspects like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind 9/11, Cheney said the only method to collect information couldn't just be “please tell us.”

“You tell me that the only method we have is 'please, please, pretty please, tell us what you know?' Well, I don’t buy that,” Cheney said.

The Senate outlawed the use of torture and other brutal interrogation techniques like waterboarding and “rectal feeding” in 2015.

The move followed a scathing, 6,700-page report released by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee that detailed the brutal treatment of prisoners in the CIA’s former interrogation programs. 

Cheney’s comment came during the Gina Haspel’s difficult confirmation process for CIA director.

“I think she’d be a great CIA director,” Cheney said of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE’s nominee. “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, who is currently the acting director, appeared before lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday to defend her past involvement in the interrogation program.

She vowed that she would not bring back the techniques, even though Trump has said in the past that "torture works" and he would bring willing to bring back waterboarding