Soros Says Cheney's Role in Approving CIA Interrogation Techniques Should Be Examined

April 27, 2009 - 4:44 PM
Entrepreneur and political activist George Soros told CNSNews.com that he thinks former Vice President Dick Cheney's role in approving enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA should be examined.
(CNSNews.com) - Entrepreneur and political activist George Soros told CNSNews.com that he thinks former Vice President Dick Cheney’s role in approving enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA should be examined by a presidential commission.

He also said President Barack Obama did the right thing in releasing memos produced by the Bush Justice Department that outlined the legal justification for techniques that some critics have called “torture.”
 
“Yes, I think it was very valuable,” Soros told CNSNews.com at The Bertelsmann Foundation conference held at the Newseum on April 23.
 
“It was very important to get the facts and this has now aroused a tremendous interest in getting all of the facts, and I hope that he will appoint a presidential commission, like the 9/11 commission, to establish the facts and to make recommendations how we can avoid violating our constitution in the future,” said Soros.
 

 
Soros, ranked the 29th richest man in the world by Forbes magazine, also said he personally suspects then-Vice President Cheney ordered the interrogation methods to be used before Justice Department lawyers approved their legality. 

When asked whether he thinks the Justice Department lawyers who wrote the memos should be prosecuted, Soros said, I think that should come after all of the facts have been established, and I think that certainly they bear a tremendous responsibility.
 
“I personally suspect--but would like to get to the facts--that actually Vice President Cheney has ordered these actions before the lawyers issued those opinions to justify it,” Soros told CNSNews.com.
 
When asked if he thinks the lawyers would need to be prosecuted if his suspicion turns out to be true, Soros said, They would be. But I think the responsibility lies higher up, and I think Vice President Cheney has acknowledged that he believes that these methods should be used, and so I think that what he has done should be examined.”
 
On Apr. 22, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, released a narrative – approved by Attorney General Eric Holder – which chronologically shows how and when the Justice Department produced the memos on the legality of the interrogation techniques, including waterboarding.
 
This narrative shows that the Justice Department advised the CIA on July 24, 2002, after the CIA had requested an opinion, that "enhanced" interrogation techniques including waterboarding were lawful, and that prior to this advice from the Justice Department, the CIA’s Office of General Counsel had in April, May and early July met with various administration officials, including the legal adviser to the National Security Council, the attorney general, the national security adviser, the deputy national security adviser, the counsel to the president, a deputy assistant attorney general from Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, and the head of the criminal division of the Justice Department--but not with Vice President Dick Cheney.
 
The Rockefeller narrative further shows that after a May 2002 briefing, “the CIA’s Office of General Counsel subsequently asked [the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department] to prepare an opinion about the legality of its proposed techniques.”
 
Former Vice President Cheney was not available for comment before this story was filed.
 
Below is a transcript of the interview with George Soros:
 
CNSNews.com: “Do you think President Obama made the right decision releasing the memos from the Bush administration outlining the ‘torture’ that was done to Khalid Sheik Muhammad and other terrorists?”
 
Soros: “Yes, I think it was very valuable, because it was very important to get the facts and this has now aroused a tremendous interest in getting all of the facts, and I hope that he will appoint a presidential commission, like the 9/11 commission, to establish the facts and to make recommendations about how we can avoid violating our constitution in the future.”
 
CNSNews.com: “Do you think the lawyers who wrote the memos should be prosecuted?”
 
Soros: “I think that should come after all of the facts have been established and I think that certainly they bear a tremendous responsibility. I personally suspect, but would like to get to the facts, that actually Vice President Cheney has ordered these actions before the lawyers issued those opinons to justify it.”
 
CNSNews.com: “So, you think if that’s the case, the lawyers may not have to be prosecuted, or they would be prosecuted?”
 
Soros: “They would be but I think the responsibility lies higher up, and I think Vice President Cheney has acknowledged that he believes that these methods should be used and so I think that what he has done should be examined.”