Liz Cheney’s Non-Denial #2: Daddy Suggested–But CIA Refused to Execute–Waterboarding

A few weeks ago, Liz "BabyDick" Cheney took the the airwaves to defend her Daddy’s torture regime. But she very pointedly and repeatedly refused to deny a charge Norah O’Donnell challenged her to deny: that PapaDick was the "prime mover" of torture.

Check: According to his daughter, PapaDick Cheney was the prime mover on the torture policy.

Yesterday, BabyDick was refusing to deny allegations again. This time, that PapaDick had ordered up torture of an Iraqi so he would "reveal" ties between Iraq and al Qaeda.

STEPHANOPOLOUS: There were some reports this week that the Vice President’s Office, back in 2003, in April 2003, I believe, sent some sort of word, to Iraq, that a detainee in custody should be waterboarded in order to get information, to establish whether there’s a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda or more information on weapons of mass destruction.


You’ve explained one part of it, I just want to ask you to explain another part of it. The report though that the vice president’s office did ask specifically to have information about Iraq-al Qaeda connections presented to this detainee, do you deny that?

LIZ CHENEY: I think that it’s important for us to have all the facts out. And and, the first and most important fact is that the vice president has been absolutely clear that he supported this program, this was an important program, it saved American lives. Now, the way this policy worked internally was once the policy was determined and decided, the CIA, you know, made the judgments about how each individual detainee would be treated. And the Vice President would not substitute his own judgment for the professional judgment of the CIA. [my emphasis]

More generally, BabyDick’s non-denial makes four points:

  • Two CIA officials said waterboarding was not used (with Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but BabyDick doesn’t note that) to establish such a link
  • The people claimed to be waterboarded are not any of the three on whom waterboarding was used
  • Lawrence Wilkerson’s story should not be trusted because he has made a cottage industry of attacking Cheney
  • CIA made the final decision on torture

But see what she doesn’t deny? That Cheney suggested–but CIA refused–to waterboard Muhammed Khudayr al-Dulaymi. Look at precisely what the Daily Beast reported.

In his new book, Hide and Seek: The Search for Truth in Iraq, and in an interview with The Daily Beast, Duelfer says he heard from “some in Washington at very senior levels (not in the CIA),” who thought Khudayr’s interrogation had been “too gentle” and suggested another route, one that they believed has proven effective elsewhere. “They asked if enhanced measures, such as waterboarding, should be used,” Duelfer writes. “The executive authorities addressing those measures made clear that such techniques could legally be applied only to terrorism cases, and our debriefings were not as yet terrorism-related. The debriefings were just debriefings, even for this creature.”

Duelfer will not disclose who in Washington had proposed the use of waterboarding, saying only: “The language I can use is what has been cleared.” In fact, two senior U.S. intelligence officials at the time tell The Daily Beast that the suggestion to waterboard came from the Office of Vice President Cheney. Cheney, of course, has vehemently defended waterboarding and other harsh techniques, insisting they elicited valuable intelligence and saved lives.


But, Duelfer says, Khudayr in fact repeatedly denied knowing the location of WMD or links between Saddam’s regime and al Qaeda and was not subjected to any enhanced interrogation. Duelfer says the idea that he would have known of such links was “ludicrous". [my empahsis]

Robert Windrem makes it very clear: OVP asked, but CIA refused, to waterboard Khudayr. So when BabyDick responds to Stephanopolous’ question of whether or not her Daddy asked to waterboard Khudayr by saying that the CIA "made the judgments about how each individual detainee would be treated," she’s not denying in the least that PapaDick asked for the torture. Only that–after CIA weighed whether it wanted to violate OLC restrictions of waterboarding to al Qaeda, not Iraqis, and decided they didn’t want to take up PapaDick’s suggestion–Khudayr was not waterboarded.

Check: According to his daughter, PapaDick was asking to have Khudayr waterboarded (but the CIA refused to go along). 

72 replies
  1. emptywheel says:

    Thanks again to phred, who coined the PapaDick/BabyDick monikers. I’m loving them more and more as BabyDick continues to ply her non-denials.

    • BooRadley says:

      Great job phred, wiping liquids off monitor.

      My recollection from Plame is that nicknames are so key to driving the narrative. As Plamegate unfolded, new readers knew we were catching on when we figured out that tweety and lemonhead were the same person….

  2. demi says:

    I watched part of it, but she just creeps me out. Her response to Katrina about people inside the Beltway didn’t make sense. Weren’t she and her dad insiders then? Seems like Below The Belt way.

  3. wavpeac says:

    They are really good. He was “responsible” and stepped back and let the CIA decide on that one. What a good leader he was to defer to the experts. It’s so perfect the way they handle these questions and the media. It’s a life time of psychopathology that makes him and his crew so good at these non denials. He has had the experience of many years to perfect his lack of accountability.


  4. dmac says:

    i/m not well-versed in the categories of government documents–i’m wondering..

    how does babydick/dickette legally know, specifically, what was said/done? i know she was at the state department in the iraq wing, info to follow, but the things she is referring to i find hard to believe she had access to—which would have been cia/office of vp top secret memos. and if they aren’t publicly released, how can daddydick be telling her about them and/or how is it legal for her to have had access to them?

    article about The Evolution of Presidential War Powers by BABYdick, 1988 thesis

    • perris says:

      how does babydick/dickette legally know, specifically, what was said/done?

      dmac, that is a great question

      since the ex vp can no longer make believe he has pixie dust, did he use pixie dust on his daughter to give her top secret briefings?

      • dmac says:


        after she was rehired in 2005 she was second-in-line middle-eastern diplomat, even then, she would not have been privy to those specific cia past memos/briefings.

        and i’m finding it interesting that in defending themselves they may be breaking more laws in doin git.

      • sojourner says:

        Of course, I don’t know the Cheney family or anything, but I can just imagine that there have been intimate little family gatherings. After dinner table talk turns to current events, and invariably there are discussions about torture. I am sure BigDick confides a lot in BabyDick — she obviously believes in him. MamaDick is probably cleaning up the dinner mess…

        One sure has to wonder what she knows and why she knows it. Is she being groomed to step into BigDick’s shoes?

  5. dmac says:

    from wiki–her position during the time at hand, my bold, then she was promoted

    Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs

    In 2002, Cheney was appointed to the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs,[4] a pre-existing vacant post with an “economic portfolio,” which is a mandate to promote investment in the region. Amid reports, including a New York Times editorial by Paul Krugman, saying that the job was created especially for her, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that she had come recommended by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.[5][6] The Times of London reported that Cheney’s appointment was “the most intriguing sign that America is getting serious about Middle East reform” and that the appointment was “a measure of the seriousness with which the administration was taking Middle East programmes for literacy, education, and reform.”[7] The appointment followed publicized policy divisions between the Vice President’s office and the State Department on Middle East policy. In that position, she was given control of the Middle East Partnership Initiative, designed to “foster increased democracy and economic progress in a troubled region.” The program spent $29 million in 2002, increased to $129 million in the following year. Cheney’s task was to channel money to pre-screened groups, some of which were not identified publicly for fear of retaliations from extant governments they sought to undermine. For the budget year 2004, the project sought $145 million. [8][9]


  6. tjbs says:

    “Now, the way this policy worked internally was once the policy was determined and decided, the CIA, you know, made the judgments about how each individual detainee would be treated. And the Vice President would not substitute his own judgment for the professional judgment of the CIA.”

    Using the above quote ,then there would never be any reason for any White House Officials to have had any excuse to have viewed the tapes or actual live feeds from the Cheney Torture / Treason Chambers, now would there?

    And if any had seen the tapes, as Officials entrusted with preserving the constitution , they were duty bound to stop the misapplication and misinterpretation of their lawful orders,when they saw what was unquestionably the torture shown on the tapes. Did they make a paper request referring this to the Justice Department as soon as anyone saw the tapes? Condi, Rummy, Ashcroft, Alberto, dick or george? Wouldn’t this be a WAR Crime ?
    Just wondering alight these keys.

  7. hwmnbn says:

    Haven’t these two Dicks lawyered up yet? It seems this reckless media blitz is fraught with perils and legal consequences.

    My guess is they are so confident in the MSM’s malleability and the Obama admininistration’s reluctance to prosecute that they have no fear.

    • perris says:

      My guess is they are so confident in the MSM’s malleability and the Obama admininistration’s reluctance to prosecute that they have no fear.


      this is the same problem nancy created when she took abortion off the table, you must have the threat of prosecution otherwise they just continue their depravity

    • tjbs says:

      Dick could be holding an ace up his sleeve.

      He’s King of the World if we’re hit again from within or without. It’s also the knockout punch to The President’s face (ie. Tillman ) and any legacy or plans. It would have to be a Nuclear end times last hand, one would guess.

  8. BearCountry says:

    I know that this is slightly OT, but I have not seen a good explanation anywhere. pelosi is accused of consenting to the tortures that were being done by the cia, because after being briefed (at whatever level) she did not speak out or try to stop the torture from happening. Yet, as I understand it, if she gave any indication that she knew what was being done and opposed it, she could have been prosecuted for exposing state secrets. It seems that the only path that she and any other legislator could follow was to be briefed and shut up, which means that they could always be said to be complicit. Is there anything that they (she) could have done?

    • BooRadley says:

      I think you nailed all the salient points. PapaDick knew she’d be in deep sh*t with the left if her silence ever got out. Speaking out left her exposed on state secrets and being a traitor in the eyes of Rush.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Yet, as I understand it, if she gave any indication that she knew what was being done and opposed it, she could have been prosecuted for exposing state secrets. It seems that the only path that she and any other legislator could follow was to be briefed and shut up, which means that they could always be said to be complicit.

      You are correct.

      (FWIW, on a far, tinier scale, I’ve been in this situation. Anything with ‘Confidential’ stamped on it, or involving litigation, you’d better keep your damn mouth shut or you could end up in jail/prison yourself.)

      In other words, it was a trap.
      And just to underscore how sinister this trap is, look at the fact that Pelosi was briefed the very week that Judith Miller was placing the Bush-Cheney neocon falsehoods in her NYT front page articles. Then look at the speeches Cheney and Bush were giving within 2 weeks of that date of Sept 4, 2002 when Nancy was ‘trapped’ by being briefed.

      Now that Nancy Pelosi is trying to extricate herself — by being TRANSPARENT and accusing the CIA of selling her out — watch how the shit is hitting the fan.

      This is a key fight, and if you judge by what I’ve seen in the public foodfight the Cheneybots think they’re winning and they HAVE to keep throwing sand in the eyes of the media and everyone else as fast as they can.

      See also dmac @8 on just a few of Liz Cheney’s deeper motives for throwing sand in as many eyes, as fast as she can. Has ANY member of the press asked her to ACCOUNT for WTF happened with even that single year’s $129 million?! Not.

      Add in the fact that Wolfie’s Libyan mistress was given a hefty payroll job to ‘assist’ LittleDick at Dept of State. Yet the MSM let her on so they can look ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’? This is loony-tunes.

  9. hwmnbn says:

    BTW Marcy, congratz on the article. Your excellent work is expanding into other venues. You may be outgrowing your DFH status. *sigh*

    I’d be surprised if other “investigative reporters” aren’t double checking your posts to see if their info concurs with your meticulous narrative.

    • drational says:

      I’d be surprised if other “investigative reporters” aren’t double checking your posts to see if their info concurs with your meticulous narrative.

      Considering her previous post on the WaPo (and NY Times, and AP) stenography, our estimable MSM “investigative reporters” are either too lazy or paid too well to do anything resembling fact checking of the ubiquitous Dick narrative.

    • timtimes says:

      I’d be surprised if the SCUM (so called unbiased media) weren’t fine combing Marcy’s stuff like exuberant Christian apologists offering explanations for all the wrath of their so called loving God.

      Papa Dick and Baby Dick both seem like exceptional pricks.

      Can we get on with the war crimes trials already?


  10. plutonicus says:

    Dick was absolutely certain that there were WMD’s and a Saddam connection with Al Qaeda, so why did he need to toture? If he was sure, he must have had evidence, right?

    • perris says:

      no, he was absolutely sure there were NO wmd’s, they were told by everyone

      our satalites can count the hair on your arm, they knew there were no wmd’s

      the war was about the sick fraternity’s fetish, the maniacle plans of the pnac

      he was absolutely certain there were no wmd’s and when the inspectors began making that public, that’s when they attacked

      • plutonicus says:

        I heartily agree, perris. Just posing a question I’d like to see the dick have to answer.

  11. MNgranny says:

    Bingo. That is what I think Cheney et al are doing. Setting Obama up to have risked America. And it seems plausible that we are not immune from more hits. And Cheney’s words will be spouted as gospel (well, he already thinks he is godlike) to all media.

    They are hoping on another hit to redeem themselves.

    • plutonicus says:

      I agree. Terrorist attacks against his country are Cheney’s greatest asset. They create the fear that he misuses for personal and partisan political gain.

  12. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Papa Doc in Haiti his son Baby Doc and now Dick and Baby Dick I wonder if Doonesbury will do some cartoons on Dick and Baby Dick like he did for the Doc’s.
    The Doc’s as I recall turned that one character into a Zombie in the comic strip.
    Somehow with the GOP it all comes back to Zombies.

  13. ezdidit says:

    Shiny objects will not defer the timely issue of arrest warrants. And Congress will have none of it, neither through ‘truth commissions,’ nor any further hearings.
    Sen Sheldon Whitehouse will have had his fill of things like “no bar to crushing the testicles of children or infants” within two weeks. The place for these facts is Federal court. (see, also, “Torture News Roundup: Cheney’s Screwed”).

  14. fatster says:

    Boumediene update.

    Algerian Held at Guantanamo Transferred to France (Update1)
    By Justin Blum
    May 15

    (Bloomberg) –” Lakhdar Boumediene, an Algerian who had been held at the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was set free in France today, about six months after a U.S. judge ordered his release.
    . . .
    “In November, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington ordered the release of five Algerian men, including Boumediene, saying the government failed to prove its claim that they were enemy combatants.”…..refer=home

    • ThingsComeUndone says:

      The Doc’s were third world Dictators in Haiti with absolute power who tortured people but Baby Doc was forced into exile.
      Cheney did try his best to take away our rights, torture people and turn us into a third world country.
      Who knows if the economy gets worse he still might do it.

    • Adie says:

      I fail to catch your wisdom. Why give dick that much esteemsteam-fodder? So what if he’s full of hot air. What have the lofty Cro Magnon ever done to you to deserve such a slight?
      Dick pales in their shadow.

  15. Muzzy says:

    Why would she give a non-denial denial about Dick requesting that waterboarding be used on an Iraqi detainee ?

    I can think of my own reasons why, but what is/are hers?

    -Dick was asking for torture to be implemented in a way that was not covered by the OLC fig leaf memos?

    -Admitting such would peg him as the origin of the ongoing effort to engineer an Iraq/al Qaeda link used to sell the war with torture-derived false pretenses ?

    What would be her main motivation for the dodge ?

    • radiofreewill says:

      Imvho, more than anything else, she’s his daughter, and she – along with her Mom and some purchased hack ‘journalists’ – are trying to literally save him from the Gallows.

      Nobody else is out here defending him – just his family and a few bought-and-payed-for media outlets.

      However, imvho, that’s what We should expect from a Coward who got five deferments while his Drafted Peers went off to fight and die in Vietnam.

      Then, he placed Libby in the line of fire over Plame to avoid accountability.

      Now, this time, he’s arranged his family in front of him to avoid accountability for Torture.

      So, really, imvho, he’s still the Same Dick he’s always been – there’s No Honor in him.

  16. Adie says:

    Good Morn to you Marci, and all you pups.

    I feel safer with your at the helm, Marci. Your keen insight and drive to expose the truth is positively otherworldly, simply awesome.

    Congrats EW on your steady rise in recognition. They can’t ignore you any more.

    p.s., Dick is sick in heart, mind, intent, and deed. Sic’ em. Good grrrl!

  17. fatster says:

    A bit more on the Zelikow memos.

    Secret memo reveals Bush was given humane, legal alternative to harsh interrogation

Published: May 18, 2009 
Updated 2 hours ago

    “The Bush administration was given clear and unequivocal advice encouraging a detainee interrogation system that followed humane practices that adhered to US and international law, a previously secret memo reveals.
    A detailed memorandum authored by a counselor to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2005 also reveals that the Bush Administration was offered a comprehensive alternative to its use of torture techniques. The author, Rice deputy Philip Zelikow…..rrogation/

  18. fatster says:

    Ya don’t say:

    Poll: More Say It’s Likely That CIA Misled Pelosi About Torture

    “An interesting new Rasmussen poll finds that a plurality thinks it’s likely that Nancy Pelosi was right to say that the CIA misled her about the use of torture:
    . . .

    “So 43% say it’s “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that the CIA misled Pelosi about torture, versus 41% who say it’s “not very likely” or “not at all likely.”

    “Strikingly, this is almost completely at odds with the way the traditional news orgs have covered this dispute.”


  19. Kinmo says:

    And on the stupid teevee: abortion, abortion, abortion. They are really turning up the volume on the lunatic fringe. Trying to drown out the efforts to expose the truth about Cheeney and his cohorts. Good luck!

    EW, you are a gem. Let’s keep pushing the crazies to the back of the line where they belong. Keep the spot-light on the truth.

  20. Leen says:

    I thought Andrew Sullivan hit Cheney’s efforts to be everywhere all of the time the last several week on the Chris Matthews Show on Sunday. Cheney’s efforts to flip the debate

    Sullivan “this man is very afraid” “war crimes were committed”
    “war for human rights when you are abusing human rights”

    Also appreciated Sullivan saying “where are the conservatives” on torture

    Which Republicans were briefed about the torture at those briefings. Why the hell is the MSM not asking them on their programs?

  21. Mary says:

    Just another bit of context.

    Bushco/Cheneyco created a torture corps in the CIA. Add Rumsco/Haynesco and they also created a torture camp at GITMO, set up their own Camp Nama torture site, made Bagram a base of torture operations, and had Miller go over and “GITMO-ize” Abu Ghraib.

    But to that point, you were talking US institutions. The CIA, the US military. Although it was mostly so in name only, technically the Iraq Survey Group was a multinational (and at least a partially UK involved) entity. Getting the ISG to torture at Cheney’s orders would have been one more avenue to spread the complicity.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Mary, I wish that you could find a bit of time to turn your explanation of destabilizing Pakistan linking to torture of Saturday’s thread and post it on Oxdown as a diary.

      I think that it would be helpful to many of us.
      I’m fairly well informed, but had not connected some of the dots that you laid out. And it certainly undercuts the “Dick will get an advantage if the US is hit with another terror incident” foolishness. If the US is hit again, Dick Cheney ought to get a huge part of the blame and a lot more people need to understand why.

      Cheney may have thought that he was acting in our best interests; how undercutting years of military procedures (and having your own attorney, Addington, undercut uniformed military legal officers) is “patriotic” escapes me completely.

      The rules of war were ‘rewritten’ by Cheney over military objections. And look at the military result — more people need to understand the connections that you laid out so clearly.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Getting the ISG to torture at Cheney’s orders would have been one more avenue to spread the complicity.

      CheneyBot 101: Spread Complicity

  22. Leen says:

    I would really like to witness Baby Dick testify under oath.
    “once the policy was determined and decided”

    Trying to bring the focus to who “basically” authorized the program.

    Daddy Dick or 43?

    Cheney Bush “bacially” authorized the program.

    Stephanopolous was damn good at reigning her in. He actually threw some solid challenges. Tough for folks to stop the Baby Dick’s verbal freight train. Baby Dick rolled right over Laura O’Donnell during that interview a while back. Not so much with Stephanopoulous

  23. manys says:

    I can’t help but think that The Dick Show is all about keeping attention away from Bush. Can you imagine the trajectory of this story if W was asked these questions?

    • plutonicus says:

      I don’t think the Dick Show is about anybody but Dick. That’s why he fingered W. He’d toss his daughter to save his own worthless ass.

  24. lurkinlil says:

    sojourner May 18th, 2009 at 9:19 am

    One sure has to wonder what she knows and why she knows it. Is she being groomed to step into BigDick’s shoes?sh*t?

    fixed it for ya.

  25. lewisclark says:

    You know what’s pathetically funny? The fact that Cheney’s daughter is out on the TV circuit pushing this bullshit means there must have been a conversation down in the bunker between father and daughter that went something like:

    “Uh, LIz, I’ve asked you here because daddy needs your help. Y’see, we’ve done some internal polling and uh, well, it seems that 87% of television viewers feel a (quote) ‘distinct wave of anxiety and nausea’ (unquote) anytime my face appears on the screen. Also, 54% feel strongly that I’m the spawn of Nosferatu, King of the Un-Dead, and er, almost 46% of Americans say they would personally pay up to $50 on pay per view to see me water-boarded. In other words I’d like you to go out there and use that natural, telegenic charm of yours to tell my side of the story. Muhh.”

  26. DeadLast says:

    One thing that bothers me is how did babyDick get to be such an authority on a top secret, need to know, basis progam? She talks as if she were privy all the way along. Was this casual dinner conversation at an undisclosed location?

  27. DKGreen says:

    I still don’t understand what business she has to talk about this. She was not a member of the administration and should have no first-hand knowledge of this. If she even has second-hand knowledge of this, as of yet still classified, material, then Dick Cheney is revealing state secrets. I thought that was still a no-no. Am I wrong about this??

  28. financialtools1 says:

    This morning on ( as well as in ) , the ex-Senator and ex-Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham said that he was briefed by a CIA operative , Moskowitz, in September 2002 like Speaker Pelosi and he was told that there was no torture, no waterboarding, and more : he was informed that the CIA had briefed him 3 times, so he check with his notes and saw that he had not been briefed, he told the CIA and was told : Sorry, we made a mistake…. so this is the second Congress member saying that the CIA in the 2002 and 2003 period was not talking torture, not talking waterboarding, and the question that no one in the media is asking is ; WHO IS CIA OPERATIVE MOSKOWITZ ? WHO IS THIS GUY ? WHERE IS HE ? WHY WAS HE BRIEFING CONGRESS MEMBERS AT THE HART BUILDING INSTEAD THEN AT THE WHITE HOUSE ? …..MOSKOWITZ IS THE KEY…so of course, since he is a friend of Eliot Abrams, Ira Fleischer and Mehlman, the Media will not say a word, right? what a criminal shame !…..=104196363

    the answers are also in the wife of Dick Cheney, she is a fanatic supporter of AIPAC and the Israeli Intelligence, she was the link and the fuel …

  29. Leen says:

    Laura Flanders hits it out of the park.
    Torturer in Chief: Media Pick Pelosi over Cheney?

    Beltway journalists seem finally to have a found a torture story they like. Mind you, not the one about the Bush/Cheney White House possibly okaying drowning to extract “information” to justify an Iraq attack — not that story. The story the Beltway bulldogs have decided to get stuck into is a story about Democrats.


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