Biden and Cheney Spar Over Anti-Terrorism Policies

February 15, 2010 - 6:26 AM
Former Vice President Dick Cheney says his successor, Joe Biden, is "dead wrong" about terrorist threats facing the United States. Biden says Cheney is "misinformed."
Dick Cheney

This photo released by ABC News shows former Vice President Dick Cheney being interviewed on ABC's “This Week” on Sunday Feb. 14, 2010. (AP Photo/ABC, Fred Watkins)

Washington (AP) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney says his successor, Joe Biden, is "dead wrong" about terrorist threats facing the United States. Biden says Cheney is "misinformed."
 
And the feud goes on.
 
Highly partisan public skirmishes between President Barack Obama's White House and Cheney have become standard fare. And the back-and-forth on the Sunday morning talk shows did not disappoint.
 
Biden struck first, declaring that Cheney's attacks on Obama's commitment to fighting al-Qaida ignored the facts.
 
"We've eliminated 12 of their top 20 people. We have taken out 100 of their associates," said Biden. "They are in fact not able to do anything remotely like they were in the past. They are on the run. I don't know where Dick Cheney has been. Look, it's one thing, again, to criticize. It's another thing to sort of rewrite history. What is he talking about?"
 
Cheney insisted Biden was "dead wrong" to assert that a fresh Sept. 11-style strike was unlikely, calling a nuclear or biological attack by al-Qaida "the biggest strategic threat the United States faces today."
 
Cheney then again took on Obama's decision to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
 
In doing so, the former vice president acknowledged he had been at odds with the majority of Bush administration officials on the decision to release prisoners from the military lockup to their home countries when cases against them were determined to be legally untenable.
 
"I didn't think that releasing anybody was the right thing to do, unless you had evidence that, you know, there was a mistake of some kind," Cheney said.
 
Cheney also acknowledged that the Bush administration was divided on whether terror suspects should be charged and tried in federal civilian courts or taken before military tribunals.
 
"We never clearly or totally resolved those issues. These are tough questions, no doubt about it," he said.
 
On Afghanistan and Obama's decision to increase U.S. forces in the 8-year-old war, Cheney gave Obama high marks. But he derided Biden for giving the Obama administration credit for winding down the war in Iraq without acknowledging the work of former President George W. Bush.
 
Biden, however, had said: "We built on the positive things that the Bush administration had initiated. And we have jettisoned those things that were negative."
 
The back and forth began with Biden on NBC's "Meet the Press," moved to ABC's "This Week" with Cheney and ended with Biden appearing live on CBS' "Face the Nation."
 
There Biden got in the last word. Declaring that Obama was acting on the precedents set in the Bush White House, Biden said of Cheney, "His fight seems to be with the last administration."