This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 21, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And joining me tonight with more is Vice President Cheney's daughter, Liz Cheney. Liz, great to see you again. Thanks for being with us.
LIZ CHENEY, DICK CHENEY'S DAUGHTER: Great to be here, Sean. Thank you so much.
HANNITY: Appreciate it. First of all, when you compare the two, what was your observation?
L. CHENEY: Well, you know, I felt a little bit like the president was sort of saying on the one hand this and on the other hand that, and there was a lot of talk in the president's speech about sort of trying to find middle ground and areas where conservatives are angry and areas where liberals are angry. And I was really struck by that. Because it seems to me that that set a political tactic. And Bill Clinton's third way or triangulation. But when you're dealing with national security, you can't have a third way. You've got to keep the country safe 100 percent of the time.
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HANNITY: I was kind of impressed when your dad said, thanks for the invitation, I'm a private citizen. I don't have any elections to win or lose. No favors to seek.
L. CHENEY: Yeah.
HANNITY: And I got this impression, when I was with your dad recently, that he is passionate, he thinks this country is headed in the wrong direction, and that we are making a big mistake. Am I misreading that?
L. CHENEY: No, you're absolutely right. He certainly did not plan, when he left office, to be doing this. And I think he thought he'd be spending a lot more time fishing and with the grandkids. But I think as we watched in those very first days and week after President Obama came into office, when he released the legal memos that laid out for the terrorists the techniques that we use to question them, then when he suggested in the Oval Office he would be open to the prosecution of former Bush administration officials, including those who weren't political appointees potentially, really made my dad realize that this was just fundamentally wrong, and he had to speak out.
HANNITY: And we mentioned 28 times — they keep going back to the past administration, the past administration. You know, but your father said this to me when I interviewed him, and he reiterated this point today, that the public was given less than half the truth.
L. CHENEY: Right.
HANNITY: The released memos were carefully redacted to leave out references to what our government learned through the methods in question. And he also pointed out waterboarding — which we talk so much about — was used on three people, including the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
L. CHENEY: Right. Yeah. Well, and the president didn't respond on this issue of the memos. I mean, well, gosh, he's going to the National Archives. I'm happy to provide them with the room office of the number he wants to go to, if he wants to declassify the memos while he was there. But he didn't, in his speech at all, explain to the American people why it is he feels that he can just assert that these techniques didn't work, that they in fact didn't gain valuable information without releasing that to the American people for them to judge.
HANNITY: One of the things that really impressed me today is I thought your dad was like a prosecuting attorney and just laying out a strong case, piece by piece by piece. But he very vividly outlined what we have now forgotten, because we've been safe for seven and a half years, and that is the attacks on 9/11.
L. CHENEY: Yeah.
HANNITY: His job and his role as vice president and the state that the country was in after those attacks, and that we needed information.
L. CHENEY: Right. No, it's absolutely the case and it's important. People have forgotten this very easily, unfortunately. And I think that when you read the president's speech, you watch the president's speech, he has a September 10 mentality. And one of the most moving messages I got today out of the many hundreds that I received was from a family member of a 9/11 victim, saying, "Thank you for reminding the country. Thank you for reminding the White House." You know, this wasn't a mess, as President Obama described it. This was an attack on the homeland.
HANNITY: And I thought that was an incredible reminder for people today, and he also went through the history of the 9/11 report, the Khobar Towers, the USS Cole, the embassy bombings in East Africa and the first Trade Center attack. So they didn't have the luxury to go about their daily lives any longer.
L. CHENEY: Right.
HANNITY: Because he was in the position — his charge was to keep the country safe. It certainly put context and texture into every decision that they made for me.
L. CHENEY: Yeah.
HANNITY: And even though I supported the policies then and I support them now and I believe they were the right thing to do.
L. CHENEY: And I think the other thing he did was to point out now nefarious really this argument that we somehow violated American values is. The president has become very fond of saying we lost our way or we violated the values that made us great. But nowhere does it say in the Constitution that you've got to sacrifice American lives, you know, rather than put terrorists through some tough questioning. And that is the choice that had to be made.
HANNITY: Isn't that the fundamental issue that I think needs to be highlighted, is that if we did not have enhanced interrogations, then the choices — and he pointed out Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was saying, "I'll see you in New York with our lawyer." So, in other words, there's a possibility that he has information about future attacks, and why — we're in these contortions about whether or not it's morally responsible to release it. Why won't the Obama administration let the American people decide for themselves whether or not it was worthy and release those documents that your dad called for on this very program?
L. CHENEY: You know, you are absolutely right. My judgment here is that the Obama administration has become very accustomed to not being challenged and very accustomed to sort of saying trust us, we know what's right. And in this instance, they've been challenged. My dad has stood up and said, no, wait a minute, that's not right, it's not accurate, it's not fair. The American people ought to have a chance to judge. So I hope they certainly will release those memos.
HANNITY: I'm not confident that they will. But I will say this. It seems to me — and I think I know your dad. I've interviewed him a lot over the years. I think I agree with you. He'd rather be fishing and hunting. Why do you think he's so compelled to go out there? Is it that he really fears that America is making a big mistake?
L. CHENEY: Yes.
HANNITY: That they are on the wrong path and that he feels a moral obligation to do it? Is that a fair assessment?
L. CHENEY: One hundred percent. And I think when you look at the whole range of decisions, today the president said we're going to be bringing terrorists from Guantanamo to the United States. DNI Blair has previously said that U.S. taxpayers will actually have to support the re-entry of some of those terrorists into American cities. It is just an abomination what's going on, and I think that's why my dad feels so strongly he's got to speak out.
HANNITY: I for one, am glad he is.
L. CHENEY: Thank you.
HANNITY: This is an important debate for the country to have. Let people decide whether or not this is good for the country, but they need all the information.
L. CHENEY: Absolutely.
HANNITY: Liz, great to see you. Appreciate you being with us.
L. CHENEY: Great to be here, thanks, Sean.
HANNITY: Thank you. Don't forget, we want to know who you think had the stronger national security policy, President Obama or former Vice President Dick Cheney. You can log on to The Great American Blog at foxnews.com/hannity. Tell us what you think.
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