Cheney shrugs off CIA-torture investigation

The former vice president called US Attorney General Eric Holder's probe on detainee treatment a "political act" and said "it will depend on the circumstances" whether he would cooperate if asked.

US Attorney General Eric J. Holder, Jr. and his prosecutors are likely to start knocking on a lot of doors in Washington, since announcing last Monday an official investigation into the alleged abuse of detainees held by the Central Intelligence Agency.

But they won’t find a welcome mat if they come around to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

In a Fox News television interview six days after Mr. Holder’s announcement, Mr. Cheney suggested that he might not cooperate with the Attorney General, The Washington Post reported.

Asked whether he would talk to John Durham, the veteran prosecutor appointed by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to examine allegations that the CIA abused Sept. 11 terror suspects, Cheney said: "It will depend on the circumstances and what I think their activities are really involved in.

During the interview, Cheney dismissed the need for cooperation with prosecutors, reports Reuters.

"I'm very proud of what we did in terms of defending the nation for the past eight years, successfully," Cheney said in a recorded interview. "And it won't take a prosecutor to find out what I think. I've already expressed those views."

Cheney has accused Mr. Holder of making the investigation a “political act.”

But some observers think Cheney’s reaction is equally political. Yael T. Abouhalkah, a columnist for the Kansas City Star, writes:

Cheney is playing to the conservative crowd, but he also appears to be saying he will decide whether he's above the law or not.
"It will depend on the circumstances and what I think their activities are really involved in. I've been very outspoken in my views on this matter.”
Yes, he has been. But that doesn't mean the former vice president will look very good to many Americans if he refuses to cooperate -- especially given his hands-on treatment of terrorist investigations while he served in the Bush administration.

Cheney may not be willing to cooperate, but security analysts say many within the CIA want the record to come out, reports the Public Record:

They want the dirty laundry aired and the people responsible punished,” [Col. Lawrence] Wilkerson, [former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff]. “One or two are worried about countries such as Poland and Morocco where secret prisons were located and [torture was] condoned, but no so much for future intelligence reasons as for what may happen to the leaders who condoned the prisons now that the citizens of those countries have been made aware.
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