Commentary: Cheney needs to get off the warpath

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is not one to stand on the informal precedent that former presidents and vice presidents don't criticize those who succeeded them. In an interview that aired Sunday on Fox News, Cheney blasted the decision of Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a preliminary review of Central Intelligence Agency interrogators who might have gone beyond the parameters of techniques of questioning terrorism suspects approved by the Bush administration's Justice Department.

Cheney called that action "an outrageous political act" and said it could be a threat to national security.

From the outset of his administration, President Barack Obama has continually emphasized the need to look forward. And he has moved carefully with regard to interrogation techniques, though he ordered, with the support of his 2008 opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain, that the United States will not engage in the use of torture. He appointed Leon Panetta, a former congressman, to head the CIA, fully expecting that Panetta would defend the agency and stand up for its agents, which he has done.

Holder, however, is the nation's top law enforcement official, and it would be irresponsible of him, faced with allegations about alleged excesses in interrogations, to just look the other way.

That seems to be what Cheney is suggesting he should do. A preliminary review of the type Holder authorized is hardly an indictment of the CIA. It is just what the attorney general has said it is.

It is, to put it mildly, disturbing that the former vice president has continued his attacks on the administration and has invoked national security as the reason. Does Cheney actually believe that Obama does not care as much about the security of this country as did he and President George W. Bush? Does he think the president would put Americans in danger intentionally?

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