EXCLUSIVE: Dick Cheney Critical of Biden, Obama National Security Policies

The former vice president acknowledged that the debate over whether to treat threats to national security as criminal or wartime acts was waged within the Bush administration, too.

"We had a major shootout over how this was going to be handled between the Justice Department that advocated that approach and the rest of us that wanted to treat it as an act of war," he said.

Cheney said he disagrees with Obama administration's decision not to use so-called enhanced interrogation techniques and said he argued for them within the administration during the Bush years.

"I was a big supporter of waterboarding," Cheney said. "I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques. ... I think you ought to have all of those capabilities on the table."

Cheney, who said he has not seen former President George W. Bush since they left office over one year ago, may be the previous administration's most outspoken member.

He added that he was "deeply offended" by attempts to investigate and prosecute the Bush administration and CIA officials who helped construct and justify their counterterrorism policy.

"I thought it was important for some senior person in the administration to stand up and defend those people who'd done what we asked them to do," he said.

Cheney Undecided on Palin for President

When asked about former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska's presidential qualifications, Cheney said, "I haven't made a decision yet on who I'm going to support.

"I think all of the prospective candidates out there have got a lot of work to do if in fact they are going to persuade a majority of Americans that they are ready to take on the world's toughest job," Cheney said.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll released this week found 71 percent say "no" when asked if Palin is qualified to serve as president. Among Republicans polled, approximately 52 percent think she's not qualified to be commander in chief.

Cheney took issue with Palin's suggestion that President Obama could help himself politically if he declared war on Iran.

"I don't think a president can make a judgment like that on the basis of politics," Cheney said. "The stakes are too high, the consequences too significant to be treating those as simple political calculations. When you begin to talk about war, talk about crossing international borders, you talk about committing American men and women to combat, that takes place on a plane clear above any political consideration."

In an interview last week on "Fox News Sunday," Palin said that if Obama "toughen[ed] up" and "secured our nation," people might think differently about him.

"Say he decided to declare war on Iran or decide to really come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do," Palin said. "[I]f he decided to toughen up ... I think people would perhaps shift their thinking a little bit and decide, 'Well, maybe he's tougher than we think he's, than he is today.'"

Gays in the Military: Reconsider 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' Cheney Says

Cheney said he thinks it's time to "reconsider" the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military.

"Twenty years ago, the military were strong advocates of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' when I was secretary of defense," Cheney said. "I think things have changed significantly since then."

Cheney served as the secretary of defense from 1989 to 1993 in the first Bush administration.

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