Cheney Lambasts CIA Probe, McCain Says Torture 'Harmed' Us

On Sunday, former Vice President Dick Cheney attacked Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to open a probe into allegations of CIA detainee abuse, saying it was a political move that would jeopardize national security. Meanwhile this Sunday, senators debated the effect of Sen. Edward Kennedy's passing on health care reform.

Cheney: Using Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Was a Good Policy

"It's clearly a political move; I mean, there's no other rationale for why they're doing this," Cheney argued on "Fox News Sunday." "The fact is the Justice Department has already reviewed the inspector general's report five years ago, and now they're dragging it back up again ... supposedly to try to find some evidence of wrongdoing by CIA personnel."

Cheney said this move would hurt U.S. national security, because of the effect it would have on CIA personnel's willingness to undergo risky future CIA missions.

"If they're now going to be subject to being investigated and prosecuted by the next administration, nobody's going to sign up for those kinds of missions. It's a very, very devastating, I think, effect that it has on morale inside the intelligence community."

Cheney also said the Obama administration should ask the former Bush-Cheney administration for advice on national security, instead of investigating its decisions.

"I guess the other thing that offends the hell out of me is we had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from al Qaida," he said. "The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, 'How did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?'"

McCain: Torturing Harmed Us

Cheney said he was aware of "enhanced interrogation techniques" used on detainees as a "general policy" and categorically defended their use.

"Those interrogations were involved in the arrest of nearly all of the al Qaida members that we were able to bring to justice. I think they were directly responsible for the fact that for eight years, we had no further mass casualty attacks against the United States. It was good policy. It was properly carried out. It worked very, very well," he said.

"We've gone for eight years without another attack. Now, how do you explain that? The critics don't have any solution for that."

GOP Senator John McCain agreed with the VP that a probe should not be launched at this point, and said he worried about the morale and effectiveness of the CIA, and about the investigation "getting out of control" and "harming our ability to carry on the struggle" with radical Islamic extremism. But he also said torturing harmed the U.S.

"I think torturing harmed us," McCain said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "I have a number of anecdotes that could substantiate that. And I think it harmed our image in the world, but for us now to go back, I think, would be a serious mistake. At the same time, we can assure the American people that it will never happen again," he said. McCain has been a vocal critic against detainee abuse, having been captured, detained and tortured during the Vietnam War.

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