Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday said the Obama administration should be debriefing CIA interrogators about keeping the country safe rather than trying to punish them for doing their jobs.
In an exclusive interview taped to air this weekend on "FOX News Sunday," Cheney called the Justice Department probe of interrogators an "outrageous political act" that will do long-term damage to the United States' capacity to protect the country.
"We had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from al Qaeda. The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, 'How did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?'" Cheney said.
"Instead, they're out there now threatening to disbar the lawyers who gave us the legal opinions -- threatening contrary to what the president originally said. They're going to go out and investigate the CIA personnel who carried out those investigations," Cheney added.
Last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he was appointing a special prosecutor to look at data obtained about enhanced interrogation techniques to determine whether criminal acts were committed. The data are the same previously reviewed by career prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia, where the CIA is headquartered. The data led to one arrest and conviction.
The former vice president for months has demanded the CIA release materials to show the effectiveness of harsh tactics in enabling interrogators to get information used to thwart planned attacks.
This week, the CIA's inspector general released a declassified report on the use of enhanced interrogation tactics. The report said that CIA agents got valuable information but critics insist the results did not justify the methods.
Watch the entire interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney on "FOX News Sunday," airing at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on FOX News Channel. Check local listings for "FOX News Sunday" airing on FOX networks.