Republican Senators hit the Sunday news show airwaves today to defend former Vice President Dick Cheney and the secret CIA domestic spying program. Senators Judd Gregg, Lamar Alexander, John Kyl, and John Cornyn all defended Cheney in some way, and they accused the Democrats of trying to use the story to provide political cover for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and President Obama.
Here is a video compilation of all of Cheney defenders from < a href= http://thinkprogress.org/2009/07/12/gop-cheney-congress/>Think Progress:
On CBS’ Face the Nation, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) tried to discredit the New York Times story while defending Cheney, “Well, I– I’m sure it will be. But I would just say that sometimes leaked stories from unnamed sources don’t turn out to be quite what they appear to be. Maybe they don’t know the full facts and– and so forth in these matters. Some of the Intelligence Committee people are pushing back on those stories. I don’t know what the facts are. But I believe that Vice President Cheney served his country with as much fidelity as he could possibly give to it. And he tried to serve us in an effective way. And I hope that nothing like this would impact on his outstanding record.”
Sen. John Cornyn said on Fox News Sunday, “This of course comes on the heels of a statement, unproven by the way, of Speaker Pelosi that the CIA had lied to her about enhanced interrogation techniques, and this looks to me suspiciously like an attempt to provide political cover to her and others.”
On CNN’s State of the Union Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) said, “The only way we’re going to get that information is through intelligence gathering. We have to have an extraordinarily robust and strong CIA, an extraordinarily and robust intelligence gathering organization. And this national attempt by some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to basically undermine the capacity to protect and develop intelligence is, I think, going to harm us in the long run.”
Also on CNN, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said, “Well, let’s — we don’t know whether it was appropriate. The CIA is in the secrecy business. And what I hear from the Democratic members of Congress is they want the CIA to tell more of them what’s going on. The best way to ruin a secrecy business is to tell –“
Nobody took their defense of Bush and Cheney quite as far as Sen. John Kyl (R-TX) who said on ABC’s This Week, “Look the president and the vice president are the two people who have responsibility ultimately for the national security of the country. It is not out of the ordinary for the vice president to be involved in an issue like this. What if it’s a top secret program? Of course he and the president would both be responsible for that. Let’s don’t jump to conclusions is what I’m saying.”
The Republicans want people to believe that it is no big deal that former vice president Dick Cheney was involved in covering up a massive CIA domestic spying program. In fact, they want to blame the Democrats, and claim that by investigating this story, Democrats will be somehow harming US national security.
It is stunning that Republicans continue to defend Cheney. If they were smart, they would call for a non-partisan investigation. By doing this Republicans could use the findings of a report to either defend Cheney or distance themselves from him, because despite what John Kyl wants to believe, it isn’t ok for the vice president to conceal secret domestic spying programs.
If this story is true, then Cheney abused his office like nothing we have seen since the days of Richard Nixon, who Cheney worked for. The Obama administration has expressed an underwhelming lack of desire to investigate the Bush administration, but as the evidence mounts, the administration may have no choice, but to explore the activities of Dick Cheney while he was vice president.