Huffpost Politics

Biden: Cheney's Policies Have Created More Terrorists

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Joe Biden discussed his predecessor, Dick Cheney, in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopolous. The current Vice President had said recently that Biden and Obama would come to appreciate the ways the Bush administration changed the White House.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You mentioned earlier you want to restore balance in the job of vice president. And during the campaign, you called your predecessor, Vice President Cheney, probably the most dangerous vice president ever.

He was pretty defiant, though, this week in interviews with ABC, with Jonathan Karl. And he said, "Those who have accused the administration of condoning torture or violating the Constitution with the terrorist surveillance program don't know what they're talking about."

BIDEN: Well, I still -- I don't agree with the vice president.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It sounded like you were going to say you still stand by your characterization.

BIDEN: I -- I -- look, I think the recommendations, the advice that he has given to President Bush -- and maybe advice the president already had decided on before he got it -- I'm not making that judgment -- has been not healthy for our foreign policy, not healthy for our national security, and it has not been consistent with our Constitution, in my view.

His notion of a unitary executive, meaning that, in time of war, essentially all power, you know, goes to the executive, I think is dead wrong. I think it was mistaken. I think that it caused this administration in adopting that notion to overstep its constitutional bounds, but at a minimum to weaken our standing the world and weaken our security. I stand by that, that judgment.

And he also went on to say that he still thinks we should have gone into Iraq, knowing exactly what we knew and the way we did, as I -- I heard the interview. He also stands by the fact that we still should keep Guantanamo Bay open and so on. So -- so we have fundamentally different view.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He says, the more you learn about threats, as you -- as you see the intelligence, the more you're going to come around to the Bush administration's point of view on their counterterrorist policies.

BIDEN: I'll make two responses to that. One, as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, unless they were lying to me all along, I knew the details of the threat. I was one of those four people that had access to all that information, excuse me, one of those eight people the -- that had access to that information.

Secondly, I have been getting what they call that presidential briefing you get every morning from the intelligence community since the day we have been -- since the day we were elected, not sworn in.

I have learned nothing thus far that would change my view...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Nothing?

BIDEN: Nothing thus far that would change my fundamental view that Guantanamo should close, number one, that, number two, the way in which we have conducted our policy, in terms of both surveillance as well as the detainees, has hurt our reputation around the world.

And to quote from a previous national security report put out by the -- the intelligence community, we have -- we have created, not dissuaded, more terrorists as a consequence of this policy.

Nothing I've learned thus far has changed my fundamental view on the constitutional as well as the practical positions we should take relative to the issues of torture and others.