Yesterday, Dick Cheney told a Fox audience that he wanted the CIA to release all the torture memos, including the ones, Cheney said, that “proved” torturing enhanced interrogations had stopped terrorist attacks and kept Americans safe. In fact, he declared that he had already “formally asked the CIA to take steps to declassify those memos…”
Except that, um… he didn’t [Yes, he did! See Update below.]
Did Dick Cheney really “formally” ask the CIA to release reams of intelligence allegedly showing that the torture program worked, as Cheney claimed last night on Fox News?
An intelligence source familiar with the situation says the answer is No.
“The agency has received no request from the former Vice President to release this information,” the source told me a few moments ago.
Last night, Cheney said he’d asked the CIA to release memos he had read containing all the intelligence that had been collected via torture. “I’ve now formally asked the CIA to take steps to declassify those memos so we can lay them out there and the American people have a chance to see what we obtained and what we learned and how good the intelligence was, as well as to see this debate over the legal opinions,” Cheney said.
According to the source, there are several ways this could happen: Cheney could lodge a Freedom of Information Request (which is hard to imagine a former Veep doing); he could contact CIA officials; or he could submit the request via the White House. Cheney said he’d made the request to the CIA.
The source, however, tells me that the CIA didn’t get any such request from Cheney. So barring the unlikely possibility that Cheney submitted his request to the Obama White House, it seems fair to assume for now that the only target of this request was the Fox News television audience.
And now, Cheney, through a spokesperson, “is refusing to say what he meant when he claimed to have made a ‘formal’ request for this info.”
Update: He made the request on March 31 via the National Archives.
Exit question: Why did the Cheney camp not say this to begin with?