Dick Cheney refuses to call CIA's brutal interrogation techniques 'torture'

Dylan Stableford

Former Vice President Dick Cheney refuses to call the enhanced interrogation techniques detailed in last week's Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA's brutal handling of prisoners "torture."

“We were very careful to stop short of torture,” Cheney said on "Meet the Press" Sunday. The Senate has seen fit to label their report torture.  But we worked hard to stay short of that definition."

"All of the techniques that were authorized by the president were, in effect, blessed by the Justice Department opinion that we could go forward with those without, in fact, committing torture,” the former vice president continued.

Cheney said he defines torture as "an American citizen on a cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York City on 9/11."

"Meet The Press" host Chuck Todd asked if the "involuntary rectal feeding" detailed in the Senate Intelligence Committee's report met the legal definition of "torture."

“That does not meet the definition of what was used in the program,” Cheney said. “What was done here apparently certainly was not one of the techniques that was approved. I believe it was done for medical reasons."

"It wasn’t torture in terms of it wasn’t part of the program," he said.

Cheney called the committee's 520-page report "seriously flawed."

"They didn't talk to anybody who knew anything about the program," he said. "They didn't talk to anybody within the program. The best guide for what in fact happened is the one that was produced by the three CIA directors and deputy directors of the CIA when this program was undertaken.”

Whatever the label, Cheney said, the interrogation program "worked. It absolutely did work."

He was asked if he was bothered by the fact that 25 percent of the detainees turned out to be innocent.

"I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective ... to get the guys who did 9/11, and it is to avoid another attack against the United States," Cheney said. "We've avoided another mass casualty attack against the United States. And we did capture Bin Laden. We did capture an awful lot of the senior guys at al-Qaida who were responsible for that attack on 9/11. I'd do it again in a minute."

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