Former US Vice President Dick Cheney has defended the US’ now-banned programme that tortured al-Qaeda suspects, describing the CIA operatives who ran it as heroes.
“I’m perfectly comfortable that they should be praised, they should be decorated,” former President George W Bush’s right-hand man told NBC television’s “Meet the Press” programme on Sunday, adding, “I’d do it again in a minute.”
His remarks came days after the US Senate released a long-awaited investigation into enhanced interrogation techniques employed by the CIA to question terror suspects post 9/11.
In excruciating detail, the report described crude torture methods including waterboarding, hanging people for hours from their wrists and locking them in tiny coffin-shaped boxes.
The report questioned the effectiveness of such techniques, which it determined were actually counterproductive for getting actionable intelligence. The report said the methods used were “brutal”.
Cheney strongly disagreed with the findings of the report.
“It worked. It absolutely worked,” he said on Sunday.
The remarks echo comments made last week by the former vice president defending the interrogation programme and blasting the 500-page Senate report as “terrible” and “full of crap”.
The report released on Tuesday said the CIA’s interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects – including beatings, “rectal rehydration” and sleep deprivation – was far more brutal than acknowledged and did not produce useful intelligence.
It also concluded that the CIA deliberately misled Congress and the White House about the value of the intelligence its interrogators were gathering.