Cheney to ABC News: “I’m Guilty”

Sensational, out-of-context headline? I’m guilty. Here’s how Vice President Cheney came to utter the words, “I’m guilty” during his “first exit interview,” conducted by ABC News’s Jonathan Karl (transcript here):

KARL: What do you say to those who say you’ve changed? I mean, you’ve seen friends go across, say, I don’t know Dick Cheney any more. They’ve really known you just about as long as anybody in this town. What do you say to that?

CHENEY: Well, I , the way I think of it is in terms of whether or not I changed, I think a prime motivation for me and much of what I’ve done was 9/11. And being here on 9/11, going through that experience…[H]ave I changed? Well, not in the sense that I’ve gone through some fundamental psychological transition here but I have been since that day focused very much on what we needed to do to defend the nation and I think the policies we’ve recommended, the programs that we’ve undertaken have been good program. I think those have been sound decisions and if that’s what they mean by saying I’ve changed, I’m guilty.

Cheney believes waterboarding was an appropriate tactic to use on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. And, about “that shoe flying” incident, Cheney “thought the president handled it rather well… had some good moves the way he ducked and avoided the shoe” and doesn’t “attribute any special significance to it.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.