McClatchy Report on Cheney Speech Sounds Like DNC Talking Points Memo

Would anybody at the ailing McClatchy Newspapers care to point out to us even the slightest hint of neutrality in the reporting of two correspondents for that chain, Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel, on former Vice President Dick Cheney's speech yesterday about terrorism? You sort of get the idea where these two are coming from just by reading the title of their report: "Cheney's speech contained omissions, misstatements." And in case you still haven't figured out their biases, Landay and Strobel hammer it home again in the first paragraph:

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney's defense Thursday of the Bush administration's policies for interrogating suspected terrorists contained omissions, exaggerations and misstatements.

The rest of the report sounds like it came straight from a DNC talking points memo as written by Lawrence O'Donnell. In fact you could almost hear them echoing O'Donnell's unhinged scream in the background which you can see in bold:

Cheney said that the Bush administration "moved decisively against the terrorists in their hideouts and their sanctuaries, and committed to using every asset to take down their networks."

The former vice president didn't point out that Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenant, Ayman al Zawahri , remain at large nearly eight years after 9-11 and that the Bush administration began diverting U.S. forces, intelligence assets, time and money to planning an invasion of Iraq before it finished the war in Afghanistan against al Qaida and the Taliban .


 "This was as sleazy a presentation by a vice president as we've had since Spiro Agnew! This was an absolute abomination!"


 ... Cheney denied that there was any connection between the Bush administration's interrogation policies and the abuse of detainee at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, which he blamed on "a few sadistic guards . . . in violation of American law, military regulations and simple decency."

However, a bipartisan Senate Armed Services Committee report in December traced the abuses at Abu Ghraib to the approval of the techniques by senior Bush administration officials, including former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld .


 "He cannot, ever, frame the other side's position honestly! What you saw with Obama earlier was Obama describes the other side's position fairly!"


...Cheney said that "only detainees of the highest intelligence value" were subjected to the harsh interrogation techniques, and he cited Khalid Sheikh Mohammad , the alleged mastermind of the 9-11 attacks.

He didn't mention Abu Zubaydah, the first senior al Qaida operative to be captured after 9-11. Former FBI special agent Ali Soufan told a Senate subcommittee last week that his interrogation of Zubaydah using traditional methods elicited crucial information, including Mohammed's alleged role in 9-11.


 "This is the kind of sleazy arguing that this guy does in these speeches! It is just ridiculous! It is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who's listening to him!"


...Cheney said that "the key to any strategy is accurate intelligence," but the Bush administration ignored warnings from experts in the CIA , the Defense Intelligence Agency , the State Department , the Department of Energy and other agencies, and used false or exaggerated intelligence supplied by Iraqi exile groups and others to help make its case for the 2003 invasion.  

...Cheney accused Obama of "the selective release" of documents on Bush administration detainee policies, charging that Obama withheld records that Cheney claimed prove that information gained from the harsh interrogation methods prevented terrorist attacks.

"I've formally asked that (the information) be declassified so the American people can see the intelligence we obtained," Cheney said. "Last week, that request was formally rejected."

However, the decision to withhold the documents was announced by the CIA , which said that it was obliged to do so by a 2003 executive order issued by former President George W. Bush prohibiting the release of materials that are the subject of lawsuits.


"He beat the CIA like a pinata for year after year until all of a sudden he's going to be their champion!"


...Cheney said that only "ruthless enemies of this country" were detained by U.S. operatives overseas and taken to secret U.S. prisons.

A 2008 McClatchy investigation, however, found that the vast majority of Guantanamo detainees captured in 2001 and 2002 in Afghanistan and Pakistan were innocent citizens or low-level fighters of little intelligence value who were turned over to American officials for money or because of personal or political rivalries.

 ...Cheney said that, in assessing the security environment after 9-11, the Bush team had to take into account "dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists."

Cheney didn't explicitly repeat the contention he made repeatedly in office: that Saddam cooperated with al Qaida , a linkage that U.S. intelligence officials and numerous official inquiries have rebutted repeatedly.

The late Iraqi dictator's association with terrorists vacillated and was mostly aimed at quashing opponents and critics at home and abroad.


"This guy just has to lie from beginning to end through his setup of his opposition's position in order to advance any of his ideas at all, none of which have any proof to them at all!"


So did this sound like an unbiased report or a couple of political hacks taking partisan shots at Cheney? Oh, and when will Lawrence O'Donnell begin working as a reporter for McClatchy?

McClatchy Newspapers Jonathan Landay Warren STrobel

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