Dick Cheney’s actions and advice as vice president were ‘not healthy,’ Vice President-elect Joe Biden told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an interview Sunday Dec. 21.
‘I think the recommendations, the advice that he has given to President Bush,’ Biden said, ‘has been not healthy for our foreign policy, not healthy for our national security, and it has not been consistent with our Constitution.’
Biden referred to the Vice President’s positions on the so-called unitary executive, Cheney’s refusal to change his views on the Iraq war, and his refusal to back the general consensus that the US prison camp at Guantanamo ought to be closed.
The unitary executive concept, Biden charged, ’caused this administration in adopting that notion to overstep its constitutional bounds, but at a minimum to weaken our standing in the world and weaken our security.’
Biden also rejected Cheney’s claim that as the new administration came to learn more about the available intelligence about terrorism, it would come more and more to share Cheney’s opinion about the tools they used in the so-called war on terror.
‘As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee,’ he countered, ‘unless they were lying to me all along, I knew the details of the threat. Secondly, I have been getting what they call that presidential briefing you get every morning from the intelligence community since the day we were elected. I have learned nothing thus far that would change my view.’
Biden also slammed the Bush administration’s policy on torture. ‘[T]o quote from a previous national security report put out by the intelligence community,’ he noted, ‘we have created, not dissuaded, more terrorists as a consequence of this policy.’
‘Nothing I’ve learned thus far has changed my fundamental view on the constitutional as well as the practical positions we should take relative to the issues of torture and others,’ he added.
A bipartisan Senate report published earlier this month specifically linked top Bush administration officials such as Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales to the formulation of an administration policy authorizing torture and creating a climate in the intelligence community allowing illegal methods of interrogation to be used.
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