Transcript of Cheney Interview

CHENEY Well, this is a relationship that goes back some 37 years now, and there have been occasions too numerous to count when I received good advice from my bride about what I should and shouldn't say.

SAWYER You won't give us one?

CHENEY No, I won't give one.

SAWYER I guess we'll have to call her.

CHENEY All right.

SAWYER I want to ask one quick question about this. As you know, people are fascinated and they certainly understand the security precautions, but they are fascinated with this idea of you going into what is colloquially called the cave.

CHENEY The cave, yeah.

SAWYER Especially when the president said earlier this week the two of you had breakfast together, it was like everyone went —

CHENEY Oh my gosh.

SAWYER They were together in the same room.

CHENEY Right.

SAWYER I know this sounds like — like I don't know — Robin Leach or something, or one of those magazines, but we're just trying to get a visual sense of what it's like when you're there. Are there places to sleep? Are there — somebody said to me, "Does Mrs. Cheney come there?" I mean, people are imagining you in some —

CHENEY [Inaudible]

SAWYER Some Quonset hut someplace.

CHENEY Well, it's … first of all, the reason for it is, given the nature of the threat we're faced with now — it used to be that presidential security, the concern was over a nut with a gun, an individual act that was aimed at the president. Now we're faced with a situation where the government itself may be the target, the White House, as we think probably was the case on September the 11th. And in terms of our responsibility for the continuity of government, to ensure the succession of the presidency, we believe that we need to spend a certain amount of time not in the same location, at different locations. That's really what it's about. When the president's on the road, I'm usually in the White House. When he's in the White House, I'm usually at the place, sometimes it's traveling. Sometimes it's just what we describe as our nondisclosed secure location.

SAWYER And how should we imagine it? What should we —

CHENEY Well, you should think of it as a facility where there is a high degree of personal security, where there are good communications, where I'm able to go on and do my work. I always have my staff with me, a portion of it. We divide up the duties so they don't have to go all the time. They've got other responsibilities, families and so forth. But where I'm in constant touch with the White House, have several video conferences a day with my own staff, with NSC, or Connie Rice, Colin Powell, Don Rumsfeld, and with the president. We always begin every day with the same sequence of meetings. If we're both in the White House we do them together in the Oval Office. If we're separated, we do them over the video conference. So it's — it works very well. Everybody's adjusted to it.

SAWYER You just spend the night there comfortably?

CHENEY Sure, oh yeah. And the main purpose of it is again to make certain that we don't allow ourselves into a situation where we both could become a target. That doesn't mean we will always be apart, but it does mean that on those occasions when we do get together, we don't announce it. So it's more a matter of being unpredictable.

SAWYER And when will you know when to stop doing this, when it's OK to stop doing this?

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