Key Counterterrorism Adviser Slams Cheney

Key Counterterrorism Adviser Slams Cheney


John Brennan

On Meet The Press today, John Brennan (Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism) said the following when asked about Cheney’s comments:

“I’m very disappointed in the vice president’s comments,” Mr. Brennan said, describing himself as neither a Democrat nor a Republican. “Either the vice president is willfully mischaracterizing this president’s position both in terms of the language he uses and the actions he’s taken, or he’s ignorant of the facts.

“And in either case it doesn’t speak well of what the vice president is doing. The clear evidence is that this president has been very, very strong. In his inaugural address he said we’re at war with this international network of terrorists. We continue to say that we’re at war with al Qaeda.”

Mr. Brennan added that “partisan politics should be put aside when something as important to national security as the threat of terrorism . . . continues to haunt us. And we have to make sure that we stay focused on al Qaeda. And so that’s what I’m going to do in this job. I don’t care what Republicans or Democrats say out there. We need to continue to prosecute this war because al Qaeda the organization needs to be destroyed.”

Cheney doesn’t care what the facts are, he doesn’t care about the consequences of his words…he simply wants to harm Obama (and Dems) in the eyes of all conservatives and possibly even right leaning independent hawks. It’s shameful stuff, but there it is nonetheless.

My question: what will make Cheney stop?

  • Doomed

    Mr. Brennan added that “partisan politics should be put aside when something as important to national security as the threat of terrorism . . . continues to haunt us.

    All I have to say is here…here..

    And this.

  • Doomed

    I will continue to say what I’ve said before. You hear in this debate, you hear analogies, you hear references to, you see pictures about and depictions of individuals that are truly stunning, and you hear it all the time. People — imagine five years ago somebody comparing health care reform to 9/11. Imagine just a few years ago had somebody walked around with images of Hitler.

    Robert Gibbs…Press Secretary caught on camera by the way.

    This is called Alinskization of the debate. This is precisely why Cheney and the entire GOP is doing to Obama what the Democrats/left did to Bush/Cheney.

    I do not claim it right but there is an old saying….what goes around comes around and its now the Democrats turn to taste the fruits of their offspring.

  • Chris

    When hasn’t cheney been shameful?

    Doomed the difference is that Bush did a shittay job and promoted incompetence on all levels of the government. I have yet to see that happening with this administration. When the current admin deserves the criticism then I’ll be the first to give it. I already don’t like many of the things he has done.

  • shaun

    Cheney will stop when his pacemaker stops.

  • Paul

    Dick Cheney was a heartbeat away from being President and that was scary! Now he just likes to put it to Obama. Partisan politics, by both sides, is nothing new and the country suffers for it in the long run!

  • WHQ

    I’m curious to know if there’s any (relatively recent) historical precedent for a former vice president being so vocally critical of the administration in power at the time. It seems out of line to me, but I wasn’t always paying attention, and media have changed pretty radically in recent years. But still…

  • milo

    I feel weird defending Dick Cheney, but I think he is sincere in his beliefs and understands the effects of his words. He intentionally establishes a medieval far right position that creates a wider middle ground for Obama.

    By having Dick Cheney so far out there, Obama has more leeway to say he is a reasonable Democrat while still carrying on many Bush policies. And I think Dick Cheney knows this math and behaves accordingly.

  • Doomed

    The GOP has no leader but they need someone to stand up, speak out and bring the wrath of the left down on someone on the right.

    Palin and Dick Cheney are the only two pols willing to do that.

    They are taking the Alinsky Heat the Dems are throwing at the party in in the process the Democrats are alienating the moderates with these incessant attacks directed at Cheney who no longer matters and at Palin whom the left loves to hate but whom moderates are roughly split on.

    Its actually a good strategy by the Right. Keep the real leaders out of the light until the Dems have sufficiently hung themselves with their own ropes and then let the leaders emerge from the shadows.

  • Mike A.

    “….. in the process the Democrats are alienating the moderates with these incessant attacks directed at Cheney who no longer matters and at Palin whom the left loves to hate but whom moderates are roughly split on….”


  • Jacob


    Please reference where you learned that “moderates are roughly split on” Palin.

    Also, with all due respect: Alinsky, Alinsky, Alinsky, Alinsky, Alinsky, Alinsky. Does your pony have another trick?

    Thank you.

  • mw

    “My question: what will make Cheney stop? – JG

    Nothing. He is a private citizen with strong opinions and a book in the offing. Why shouldn’t he keep himself in the limelight? I think it is the wrong question.

    My question: Why does anyone care what he thinks?

    Even Bush stopped listening to Cheney for the last two years of his administration. If this President was not so thin skinned, so easily stung by criticism, and so willing to have his entire communication infrastructure go code red every time Cheney opens his mouth, I don’t think the media would be giving Cheney this kind of attention.

    Both new and traditional media take their cues from the administration. Look at this blog. Justin did not write about Cheney’s comments. He wrote about administration staff responding to the comments. I didn’t write about Cheney’s comments. I wrote about an administration flack responding to his comments. If the administration is going to inflate Cheney’s nonsense to national importance, it is going to be covered.

    Cheney is laughing his ass off at their response (and that is a LOT of laughing).

  • Sabinal

    sorry, Doomed is right. Dems sure as heck didn’t mind dissing W, but suddenly it’s evil for an ex VP to criticize O? Grow a pair, won’t ya? I live in Virginia where Obama stands for One Big A– Mistake America is becoming the general belief. Are y’all gonna stand around and cry?

  • Jimmy the Dhimmi

    Does Mr. Brennan or President Obama believe that we are at war with radical Islam or just a single organization named “Al-Qaeda?”

    That is significant because Cheney has always addressed the war on terrorism as a broader war against ideological extremism coming from the Islamic world.

  • Frank Hagan

    WHQ – it is “tradition” for a retired President to refrain from criticizing the administration that succeeds his, but a former VP is free to do so (and usually does). Often, the VP is the lead in playing the role of “loyal opposition” in this country.

    See for one example of Al Gore criticizing President Bush in 2002. At one point, Gore went so far as to accuse President Bush of engaging in “a systematic effort to manipulate facts.” Pretty strong language.

    When we squelch dissent, either officially or by trying to shame those that would speak up, we violate our basic principles. We need dissenting voices to avoid the natural consolidation of power that threatens liberty.

  • Nick Benjamin


    My question: Why does anyone care what he thinks?

    Because caring about Cheney is good business. Cheney does everything controversially, which makes for good TV. Also really cheap TV because you get footage of him for free, and then you hire a couple political hacks to argue about it cheap. Justin isn’t doing TV, but the same concept applies. He’ll listen for five minutes, spend 15 minutes banging out a post, and then us kiddies will be busy for hours.

    Obama’s business is politics, and talking about Cheney is good politics for Obama because that guy is extremely unpopular. As far as moderates and liberals are concerned Cheney’s also got very little credibility on any issue. He’s known for being a hard-line Conservative, and maintaining that hard line even in the face of huge disasters like the first half of the Iraq War.

    Think about it. This last attack is absolutely hilarious. And now the public debate is an Obama-Cheney smackdown on whether Obama did enough to keep this Nigeria twit from castrating himself.

    It is impossible to win a war with an abstract concept. We give Reagan credit for beating Communism but he didn’t really. The biggest Communist country when he took office is still Communist. Roosevelt and Truman get credit for defeating Fascism, but when they left office Spain was still Fascist. Portugal too. What all those guys did was destroy the biggest ad most anti-American Fascist and Communist countries in the world.

    You can write beautiful rhetoric about our fight with Islamic Exrtremism or IslamoFascism all you want, the simple fact is we don’t have the power to kill every IslamoFascist in the world. We may not have the power to beat Al Qaeada — it’s a brand as much as an organization, so even if all it’s members died today tomorrow some jerk would raise the banner anew.

    Welcome to reality.

  • WHQ

    Frank, I think you may be misunderstanding my question, which may be my fault. I’m not suggesting that we should squelch dissent or wondering if a former vice president has ever made a harsh criticism of a standing administration.

    It’s the frequency and profile of Cheney’s harsh criticism that seems unusual. Maybe people just react more strongly to Cheney in the media, or maybe there’s just more media through which to react.

    But, using Gore as an example, I don’t remember him being so ubiquitous on TV ripping Bush.

  • Nick Benjamin

    I have to agree with WHQ.

    Cheney started a lot earlier then Gore did. Here’s a story from March:

    In March 2001 Gore was hiding on his Tennessee farm, growing a mountain man beard, and gaining weight.

    IMO it’s not a big deal. But it is a change.

  • kranky kritter

    I for one don’t recall another VP who was so committed to continuing his admin’s major policy debate(s) after leaving office. Cheney is raging against the dying of the light. At his age and with his health, his career as a real player is over, right?

    So he’s left to a sort of quixotic grumpy old man role, and it’s one that delivers eyeballs for the media, so he keeps getting press. If they make a movie of him, then it’s gotta be Frank Langella’s role, right?

    I think WHQ is right to wonder about frequency and profile. I mean, presumedly more ex-Ps and VPs continue doing talks and speeches and so on, as opposed to playing golf and wandering the beach at San Clemente with a metal detector.
    And if they do, and we don’t hear about it, then it must be because the media generally doesn’t deem it newsworthy.

    That said, my impression is similar to what I think WHQ was originally implying, that no other ex-vpe has been as big an asshole about such matters. I can easily envision Cheney spending much of his remaining days trying to ensure that his version of post-9/11 foreign policy is the one that gets into history books. It’d be a funny skit to see him up at 3 am re-writing wiki posts on terrorism while his wife gets up to pee and says “honey, are you coming to bed?”