Democrat Pelosi says Cheney set tone for CIA interrogation practices

WASHINGTON Sun Apr 6, 2014 1:01pm EDT

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks to the press after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, April 1, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks to the press after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, April 1, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney "set a tone" for the interrogation and detention programs conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Pelosi said she believed Cheney, an influential figure in U.S. security policy under former President George W. Bush, was proud of the CIA's actions during the Republican administration.

"I do believe that during the Bush-Cheney administration, that Vice President Cheney set a tone and an attitude for the CIA," Pelosi said on CNN's "State of the Union" program.

"Many people in the CIA are so patriotic, they protect our country in a way to avoid conflict and violence," she said, adding the agency's "attitude" came from Cheney. "I think he's proud of it."

Pelosi's comments came after the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee voted last week to declassify and release portions of a report on an investigation into the CIA's detention and interrogation practices after the September 11 attacks, which critics say amounted to torture.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democratic chairwoman of the panel, said the report exposes brutality and chronicles "a stain on our history that must never be allowed to happen again".

Congressional and intelligence sources have said the report strongly condemns now-abandoned techniques such as water boarding, or simulated drowning, and concludes they did not produce significant counter-terrorism breakthroughs.

It is expected to be weeks or more before any of the document is cleared for release.

Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, responding to Pelosi, warned against politicizing the report ahead of November's midterm elections and said it was not "the Holy Grail".

"That politicizes this in a way that's horribly counterproductive and likely to lead people to the wrong conclusions," he said on CNN.

He said he had "real misgivings" about the investigation, which some Republicans have criticized as partisan.

(Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Jim Loney and Stephen Powell)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (42)
tatman wrote:
it is time to arrest and prosecute the war criminals dick cheney, donald rumsfeld and george w. bush. under their guidance, the cia tortured detainees, a blatant violation of the geneva conventions. this action, in addition to the fraudulent claims of weapons of mass destruction held by saddam hussein, ushered in an era of american-sponsored global deceit, and cost the lives of tens of thousands of u.s. soldiers, and near half a million iraqi civilians.

america has forever lost the trust and confidence of the world, and is quickly being reduced in global prestige and influence due to this massive violation of honesty and illegal behavior.

until those responsible are held to justice, america’s dark stain of distrust will continue to grow, and we will further be relegated to a footnote in world policies, having isolated ourselves from the rest of the global community.

Apr 06, 2014 1:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
RMax304823 wrote:
I see your point. The day after 9/11 European newspapers ran with headlines like, “Today We Are All Americans.” A few years later they were spitting on us and the definition of “rogue nation” was being changed.

When Pelosi accuses Cheney of “setting the tone” what she’s referring to is what organizational theorists call “command pressure.” You do what will keep the boss happy, and you know what that is even if he’s only said so indirectly. In the first term especially, Cheney was in command of foreign affairs, as a representative of the Project for a New American Century.

But the DOJ decided early on that there would be no prosecutions for war crimes or anything like it. Part of the responsibility for our global reputation now lies with Obama. He received the Nobel Peace Prize because the committee was so happy to see Bush/Cheney leave office.

But Obama’s foreign policy has been moderately aggressive. The al Qaeda of 2001 no longer exists and questions have been raised about the generous use of drone strikes etc. by the CIA (not the military). Feinstein and others are struggling to rein in the intelligence community, as they should.

The arrest of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld is probably justified. They could legally be charged with murder at the state level. But we’re already in turmoil due largely to the antics of the TP and their billionaire backers.

We must all know exactly how such a move would be interpreted by the delusional right and their proxies in office. The first (or second, or third) step in the imposition of a leftist dictatorship cow-towing to the forces of the New World Order. Who knows what would follow? Some nuts are already advocating secession and armed revolt.

Cheney and the rest are already held in contempt by the rest of the world, except for about 20% of Americans. The disruption of arrest and prosecution probably wouldn’t be worth it. Let them stagnate.

Apr 06, 2014 2:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

Are we going to bring in Bill Clinton and his administration too? He used the same intelligence Bush used and claimed that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction before bombing Iraq in 1998. Until those responsible are held to justice, America’s dark stain of distrust will continue to grow…

Apr 06, 2014 3:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.