John McCain
John McCain defended the Obama administration Monday against claims made by Dick Cheney. Image: Editor/Flickr/CC by

Former vice-president Dick Cheney and his daughter demanded an apology from the Obama administration on a CNN program over the weekend. The Cheneys claim that a recent drone strike that killed al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki invalidates comments the president made, criticizing the Bush administration for its use of “enhanced interrogation.” The White House rejected the demand. Arizona senator John McCain defended the administration in a separate CNN program Monday.

Obama speech from 2009

Cheney and his daughter Liz appeared on the CNN program “State of the Union” over the weekend. The former vice president and his daughter told host Candy Crowley that the successful assassination of the terrorist leader proved that a speech Mr. Obama gave in 2009 was hypocritical and overly critical. In that speech in Cairo, Egypt, the president criticized certain interrogation practices of the Bush administration, calling them “torture.”

‘Robust action’

Cheney said on the program:

“The thing I am waiting for is for the administration to go back and correct something they said two years ago, when they criticized us for ‘overreacting’ to the events of 9/11. They in effect said we had walked away from our ideals, taking policy contrary to our ideals when we had enhanced interrogation techniques. They have clearly moved in the direction of taking robust action when they feel it is justified. In this case, it was.”

‘He owes an apology’

Ms. Cheney echoed her father’s sentiments.

“He slandered the nation,” she said, “and I think he owes an apology to the American people. Those are the policies that kept us safe.”

White House responds

The White House responded in a press briefing, saying “We certainly don’t owe an apology.” White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the president continues to assert that the U.S. “does not torture,” but that ideal does not negate the need to fight terrorism around the world.

“That was one of the first things this president did when he took office, and I don’t think anyone can dispute that this president and this administration have been very successful in going after the sworn enemies of the United States, the terrorists who have been plotting to attack the United States,” Carney said. “You can do both.”

McCain defends administration

John McCain seemed to support the administration’s assertion Monday. He praised the White House for killing Awlaki, and for its aversion to the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques, i.e. torture,” as McCain put it.

McCain said on CNN’s “American Morning”:

“It is very obvious that one of the great recruitment tools that our enemy has is the fact that we tortured people, which is not in keeping with the standards of the treatment of prisoners. We never got useful information as a result of torture, but we sure got a lot of angry citizens around the world, and deservedly so,” he said.


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