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

Former vice president says Bush-era policies deserve more credit.

ByABC News
February 12, 2010, 3:29 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2010— -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney, in an exclusive appearance on ABC News' "This Week," offered a sharp critique of the Obama administration's handling of national security and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying any achievements over the past year largely stemmed from policies implemented under President George W. Bush.

"If [the administration is] going to take credit for [Iraq's success], fair enough ... but it ought to come with a healthy dose of 'Thank you, George Bush' up front and a recognition that some of their early recommendations with respect to prosecuting that war were just dead wrong," Cheney told ABC News' Jonathan Karl.

Earlier Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Cheney "either is misinformed or he is misinforming" about what policies have been most effective in combating terrorists.

Biden has also suggested that Iraq may end up being one of the Obama administration's greatest successes.

"Obama and Biden campaigned from one end of the country to the other for two years criticizing our Iraq policy," Cheney said. "If they had had their way, if we'd followed the policies they'd pursued from the outset or advocated from the outset, Saddam Hussein would still be in power in Baghdad today."

On Afghanistan, Cheney said he is a "complete supporter" of President Obama's decision to send more troops to the region and praised the selection of Gen. Stanley McChrystal to head the effort.

But the former vice president repeated his rebuke of the administration's handling of suspected terrorists, including would-be Christmas Day bomber Umar Abdulmutallab.

Following the attempted attack on Dec. 25, Abdulmuttallab was interrogated for 50 minutes, read his Miranda rights and has been arraigned in U.S. federal court. The Obama administration also has promised to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, try several high-profile suspected terrorists in U.S. federal courts and repatriate others abroad.

Cheney said the Mirandizing and detention of convicted shoe-bomber Richard Reid by law enforcement officials in December 2001 was appropriate at the time because military commissions were not yet operational.

"We hadn't had all the Supreme Court decisions handed down about what we could and couldn't do with the commissions," he said.

Reid was arraigned in U.S. federal court but never faced a trial because he pleaded guilty.

"I do see repeatedly examples that there are key members in the administration -- like Eric Holder, for example, the attorney general -- that still insist upon thinking of terror attacks against the United States as criminal acts of war," Cheney said.