'This Week' Transcript: Former Vice President Dick Cheney

We never clearly or totally resolved those issues. These are tough questions, no doubt about it. You want my opinion, my view of what ought to happen, I think we have to treat it as a -- as a war. This is a strategic threat to the United States. I think that's why we were successful for seven-and-a-half years in avoiding a further major attack against the United States.

And I do get very nervous and very upset when that's the dominant approach, as it was sometimes in the Bush administration or certainly would appear to be at times in the new Obama administration.

KARL: Did you more often win or lose those battles, especially as you got to the second term?

CHENEY: Well, I suppose it depends on which battle you're talking about. I won some; I lost some. I can't...

(CROSSTALK)

KARL: ... waterboarding, clearly, what was your...

CHENEY: I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques that...

KARL: And you opposed the administration's actions of doing away with waterboarding?

CHENEY: Yes.

KARL: I'd like to ask you about the big terror case now, which is the KSM trial. The administration very much wants to see the mastermind of 9/11 tried in civilian courts here in the United States. New York has obviously objected.

Do you think that's going to happen? Do you think this will be a civilian trial? Or are they not going to be able to do it?

CHENEY: It looks to me like they're going to have great difficulty doing it in New York. I mean, even the mayor's come out against it now. I think trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York's a big -- big mistake. It gives him a huge platform to promulgate his -- his particular brand of propaganda around the world.

I think he ought to be at Guantanamo. I think he ought to be tried at Guantanamo in front of a military commission. They've got difficulties now, because my guess is they don't want to send him back to Guantanamo, because that would validate, if you will, the value of Guantanamo. They're trying to close it, clearly haven't been able to get it done.

But my guess is, in the end, he'll end up being tried in front of a military commission on a military facility some place.

KARL: So you think Guantanamo will be open when this president leaves office?

CHENEY: I wouldn't be surprised. It's a valuable facility. There's a reason why we set it up. It makes good sense. There's obviously great reluctance on Capitol Hill to appropriate the funds to close it down. I think -- I think Guantanamo is going to be there for quite a while.

KARL: And one other point -- I just want to read also from a previous interview that you gave -- one of your points about Guantanamo is, if you release the hard-core Al Qaida terrorists, you said, that are held at Guantanamo, I think they go back into the business of trying to kill more Americans and mount further mass casualty attacks. If you turn them loose and they go kill more Americans, who's responsible for that?

And it's a real concern. We've heard from the president's homeland security adviser, John Brennan, saying that at minimum 10 percent of the more than 500 that have been released from Guantanamo have gone back into the fight.

But Brennan also wrote this. He said, "I want to underscore the fact that all of these cases relate to detainees released during the previous administration and under the prior detainee review process."

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