Live

Watch CBSN Live

Cheney on CIA's brutal interrogations: "I would do it again in a minute"

Former Vice President Dick Cheney offered no apologies for the CIA's controversial post-9/11 interrogation tactics in an interview on Sunday, saying he "would do it again in a minute."

Cheney, who played a key role in the devising Bush administration's response the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, was reacting to a report released this week the Senate Intelligence Committee that labeled the CIA's techniques torture and concluded they did not yield any valuable information that could not have been gathered through other means.

During an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Cheney panned the report, which was spearheaded by Democrats on the intelligence panel, as "seriously flawed."

The Senate's CIA report: "Interrogation" vs. "Torture"
What's next for CIA after controversial Senate torture report

"They didn't talk to anybody who knew anything about the program," he said. "They didn't talk to anybody within the program."

The former vice president rejected a comparison between the CIA's tactics and the 2001 terror attack, which killed almost 3,000 Americans.

"Torture is what the al Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11," he said. "There is no comparison between that and what we did with respect to enhanced interrogation."

Cheney said the CIA "very carefully avoided" torturing detainees during interrogations.

"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," he said.

But on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," John Yoo, a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General lawyer who helped write the memos from which the CIA drew the legal justification for its enhanced interrogation program, said the CIA may have gone too far.

"If these things happened as they're described in the report ... they were not supposed to be done. And the people who did those are at risk legally because they were acting outside their orders," Yoo said. For years, he has defended the memos he wrote on the subject and said the intelligence gleaned from the interrogations of detainees helped prevent another attack on the U.S.

NBC News' Chuck Todd specifically pressed Cheney on the CIA's use of a practice known as "rectal hydration," asking the former vice president whether he considered that torture.

Cheney acknowledged that practice was employed, but he added, "I believe it was done for medical reasons." That claim was rejected earlier this week by Intelligence Committee chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, who cited a statement from a group called Physicians for Human Rights that said there is "no clinical indication to use rectal rehydration and feeding over oral or intravenous administration of fluids and nutrients."

Cheney said he was not particularly concerned about the prospect that some of the suspects being detained might be innocent.

"I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective," he said, "and our objective is to get the guys who did 9/11 and it is to avoid another attack against the United States."

He also disputed a claim in the Senate report that the CIA misled former President George W. Bush about the agency's interrogation practices.

"This man knew what we were doing," Cheney said. "He authorized it. He approved it."

View CBS News In