Cheneys warning of another 9/11 in the offing angers DemocratsFebruary 6th, 2009 - 5:03 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Feb.6 (ANI): Former Vice President Dick Cheneys warnings about the risks of closing Guantanamo Bay prison and changing other Bush-era policies, has angered Democrats and some top counter-terrorism experts, who said Cheney was reviving the same scare tactics voters had rejected in electing Barack Obama.
Cheney made his comments in an interview this week with Politico in which he unyieldingly defended the detention facility and coercive interrogations of terrorism suspects and warned that changing course would invite another mass-casualty terror attack potentially worse than the ones on Sept. 11.
Many experts, even those who disagree sharply on most issues with Cheney, concur that a large-scale unconventional attack remains the most dangerous national security threat, if not necessarily the most likely. Obama himself has warned of such a catastrophic attack.
But Cheneys comments revived a debate that will long outlast the presidential campaign over what are the best tactics to prevent another attack, and whether the U.S. is more or less safe with Guantanamo open, by using harsh interrogation techniques and other controversial steps that Mr. Obama has taken steps to terminate.
Its ludicrous to think that the way Cheney articulated is the only salvation for the U.S. against the threat of Al Qaeda terrorism, said Roger Cressey, who served as a counter-terrorism official at the National Security Council during the Clinton and Bush administrations.
For every positive that came out of the Bush policies, there have been many more negatives, he added.
James Carafano, a homeland security expert at the Heritage Foundation, argued that Cheney was right to emphasize the dangers of future attacks. He argued that keeping in place many of the most controversial elements of the Bush administrations counter-terrorist tactics was vital to prevent future attacks.
Obamas argument is that such tactics make the country less safe by inciting anti-U.S. feeling among Arabs and Muslims.
Obama has been careful about how far he goes in dismantling Bush terror policies.
While he has issued an executive order banning harsh interrogation techniques, the order leaves open the possibility of the CIA employing such methods on prisoners captured in the future. And while he has called for a plan to close Guantanamo within a year, he has not committed himself to any steps that would require release of the 14 so-called high value Al Qaeda detainees.
In his interview, Cheney implied that the new administration was scrapping all the Bush methods.
The White House had no comment on the Cheney interview, according to Ben Chang, a spokesman at the National Security Council.
Other Democrats were, however, outraged at Cheneys assertions that the new administration will backtrack on protecting Americans.
Its time to retire the fear card, said Representative Jane Harman, a California Democrat.
Im sure that [Cheney] feels that he operated correctly during his years in the vice presidency. I get that. But I think there was a huge cost to the approach he took, she added. (ANI)
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