Former US V-P Dick Cheney says CIA torture probe 'deeply flawed', programme was justified

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged organiser of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, shortly after his capture in 2003 and an ABC World New Tonight handout photo of Abd al-Rashim al-Nashiri, al-Qaeda's chief of operations for the Gulf and a suspected mastermind o
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged organiser of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, shortly after his capture in 2003 and an ABC World New Tonight handout photo of Abd al-Rashim al-Nashiri, al-Qaeda's chief of operations for the Gulf and a suspected mastermind of the USS Cole bombing in Yemen, obtained on Nov 23 2002. -- PHOTO: AFP 

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Former United States vice-president Dick Cheney on Wednesday blasted the Senate report detailing torture of "war on terror" detainees, calling it "terrible" and "full of crap". Mr Cheney, who was vice-president under Mr George W. Bush when the brutal "enhanced interrogation techniques" were used, said the programme was entirely justified.

"We did exactly what needed to be done in order to catch those who were guilty on 9/11 and to prevent a further attack, and we were successful on both parts," he told Fox News.

The scathing 500-page report, released on Tuesday, said the Central Intelligence Agency's interrogation of Al-Qaeda suspects - including beatings, "rectal rehydration" and sleep deprivation - was far more brutal than acknowledged and did not produce useful intelligence.

The CIA deliberately misled Congress and the White House about the value of the intelligence its interrogators were gathering, the report concluded. Mr Cheney did not mince his words in rejecting that. "The report's full of crap, excuse me. I said hooey yesterday - let me use the real word," he thundered.

The investigation was "deeply flawed" and "didn't bother to interview key people involved in the programme," he said.

The report - whose damning findings provoked worldwide condemnation - also said that Mr Bush was only given details of the tactics in 2006, four years after the CIA began using them on terror suspects, and that he then "expressed discomfort".

Mr Cheney denied Mr Bush was kept out of the loop, saying the then president "was in fact an integral part of the programme and he had to approve it".

However, asked if Mr Bush knew the finer details of how specific interrogations were being conducted, Mr Cheney was more vague, saying: "We did discuss the techniques. There was no effort on our part to keep him from that."

Mr Cheney suggested that, when faced with a key suspect, like self-proclaimed Sept 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, interrogators had to be tough.

"What are we supposed to do - kiss him on both cheeks and say, 'Please, please, tell us what you know?' Of course not."