With protestors greeting him upon arrival, former Vice President Dick Cheney addressed an audience at the American Enterprise Institute Friday morning as part of the think tank’s 10th anniversary commemoration of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Cheney, who is also promoting his new book, “In My Time,” answered questions from The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes on Iraq, Sept. 11 and the American response to it, including issues surrounding enhanced interrogation techniques and waterboarding.
“The notion that somehow the United States was torturing anybody is not true,” said Cheney. “Three people were waterboarded and the one who was subjected most often to that was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and it produced phenomenal results for us.”
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times.
Even so, Cheney argued that waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques are not paramount to torture because U.S. troops experience them.
“All of them were used in training for a lot of our own specialists in the military. So there wasn’t any technique that we used on any al-Qaeda individual that hadn’t been used on our own troops first, just to give you some idea whether or not we were torturing the people we captured,” Cheney said.
In addition, Cheney said the administration had received consensus that the program should continue from the nine congressional leaders with knowledge of the program, including then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Cheney was asked to reflect on whether he ever had an emotional response to Sept. 11 as Bush and Rice reportedly had. “Not really,” said Cheney with a grin.
“It wasn’t that it wasn’t a deeply moving event,” said Cheney. “The training just sort of kicked in, in terms of what we had to do that morning and into the next day.” He added, “I was focused very much on what we were going to do.”
Cheney was asked whether or not he had changed after Sept. 11.
“I don’t know how I could have done my job if I hadn’t,” Cheney said.