DICK CHENEY SPEECH GAPS: QUESTIONS THE PRESS AND CONGRESS SHOULD ASK HIM;
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB SPEECH AND ANSWERS LEAVE HUGE HOLES, SAYS EX-WHITE HOUSE AND CONGRESS SPOKESMAN BOB WEINER
(Washington, DC) - From the National Press Club banquet hall work area, following former Vice President Dick Cheney's speech and answers:
"The gaps and deferrals in Cheney's speech and responses are overwhelming. His speech today and his other recent appearances leave huge holes and questions about his role in waterboarding, torture, wiretapping, U.S. attorney-firing, and Iraq decisions including WMD," says ex-White House and Congress spokesman Bob Weiner.
"Here are questions the press and Congress should ask the former Vice President," said Weiner. Weiner attended Cheney's lunch speech, just concluded, at the National Press Club today, and is a Club member, national columnist, and radio analyst following his 20+ years as a spokesman for the Clinton White House and Congress including for Judiciary Chair John Conyers and Congressmen Charles Rangel, Claude Pepper, and Ed Koch. Weiner helped develop and prepare many congressional investigations. At the Press Club, Cheney said he'll be doing a book of "Memoirs ... to set the record straight." To do so, he needs to answer:
* "How is waterboarding not a crime when we've regularly and often prosecuted for it in the past and our courts have found the people who have done it guilty and given them prison sentences?
* "Did you visit CIA headquarters at Langley to urge intelligence personnel to focus on making the case that Iraq had WMD's?
* "Did you have meetings at the White House in which you urged White House and DOJ staff to make the case that waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation was not criminal?
* "Is there a bit of the Shakespearean 'methinks the lady doth protest too much' in all your recent TV appearances making the case that you were right about changing the definition of torture, allowing unauthorized wiretaps, and claiming everyone thought Iraq had WMD's? Should we assume all trails led to the Vice President?
* "Even though you have said most of the world's intelligence agencies also thought Iraq had WMD's, isn't that true only because they used to follow our lead, at least until we were so wrong about this?
* "Why did you focus on Iraq when the al Qaeda brain trust that attacked us wasn't mainly there but in Afghanistan?
* "Why are you changing the accepted protocol that the last president and vice president give a non-criticized year to the next one... and why is President Bush honoring this tradition while you are not?
* "Why do you say only three were waterboarded when over 100 deaths of young healthy males at Abu Ghraib had no autopsies according to your colleague former Vice President Gore-and aren't those deaths likely from forms of extreme interrogation?
* "Is it proper that the CIA destroyed the tapes of likely evidence of torture? And should a judge see the still photos as possible evidence of obstruction of justice and violation of both DOJ and congressional instructions not to destroy tapes?
* "You've said one in seven released Guantanamo detainees went back to fighting us, but how many would have done so without harsh interrogation?
* "Do you believe no al Qaeda was recruited by the propaganda value to them of our torturing their prior detainees?
* "If we didn't torture or waterboard captured German Nazis in World war Two, why do so for enemies now?
* "NPR reported that many Guantanamo prisoners were placed there because opponents were given money for supposedly exposing terrorists, and in the beginning as many as 90% were innocent and were there improperly for years, even the editors of the Afghanistan equivalent of The Onion. Can you say that the military is not keeping any innocent people in Guantanamo now?
* "Put the terror threat in perspective -- Do you think the 3000 killed by al Qaeda is more serious than the deaths and concentration camps during Nazi Germany's rampage? If not, what makes this so unprecedented that we would drastically reduce civil liberties from the American model to the world?"
Source: Robert Weiner Associates www.weinerpublic.com