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Cheney Misled GOP Leaders, New Book Says

POSTED: 08:02 AM ET, 09/16/2008 by The Editors

A GOP congressional leader who was wavering on giving President Bush authority to wage war in late 2002 said Vice President Cheney misled him by saying that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had direct personal ties to al-Qaeda terrorists and was making rapid progress toward a suitcase nuclear weapon.

That's one of the revelations in the new book, "Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency," by The Post's Barton Gellman.

Another is the inside story about how Cheney managed the process that led to his selection as vice president. Gellman reveals that Cheney did not fill out his own questionnaire for potential running mates; that ostensible top contenders for the ticket were not actually interviewed by Cheney or Bush; that the heart surgeon who vouched for Cheney's health never met him or reviewed his medical records; and that longtime counselor Dan Bartlett warned Bush "we're getting our asses kicked in the media" because the campaign knew so little about Cheney's record.

Two former Republican governors, Frank Keating of Oklahoma and John Engler of Michigan, accuse Cheney of leaking closely held information from Keating's questionnaire in order to damage his bid for a cabinet post. "Dick Cheney coming into my life has been like a black cloud," Keating tells Gellman.

The Post published excerpts of the new book in Sunday's and Monday's editions. It expands on a Pulitzer Prize-winning series Gellman wrote with former Post investigative reporter Jo Becker in 2007.

"Angler" is based on hundreds of previously unpublished interviews with present and former Cheney advisers, senior officials in federal agencies, diplomats, judges, military officers, senators and members of Congress. Among those who spoke on the record to Gellman are Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley, White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and his predecessor Andrew H. Card Jr., senior presidential advisers Dan Bartlett and Karl Rove, and numerous high ranking Justice Department alumni, including John Ashcroft and James B. Comey. Cheney and President Bush declined to be interviewed.

Some of the book's most significant news describes a three-month conflict between the Justice Department and the vice president's office over warrantless domestic surveillance. In addition to the excerpts published in the Post, Gellman's account of that program includes a scene in which the top White House national security lawyer begins hearing rumors of "the vice president's special program." John B. Bellinger III, who had not been informed of the operation, confronted Cheney's counsel, David S. Addington.

"I'm not going to tell you whether there is or isn't such a program," Addington replied, glowering. "But if there were such a program, you'd better go tell your little friends at the FBI and the CIA to keep their mouths shut."

Cheney's accusations about Saddam Hussein, described by former House Majority Leader Richard Armey, came in a highly classified one-on-one briefing in Room H-208, the vice president's hideaway office in the Capitol Building. The threat Cheney described went far beyond public statements that have been criticized for relying on "cherry-picked" intelligence of unknown reliability. There was no intelligence to support the vice president's private assertions, Gellman reports, and they "crossed so far beyond the known universe of fact that they were simply without foundation."
Armey had spoken out against the coming war, and his opposition gave cover to Democrats who feared the political costs of appearing to be weak. Armey reversed his position after Cheney told him, he said, that the threat from Iraq was actually "more imminent than we want to portray to the public at large."

Cheney said, according to Armey, that Iraq's "ability to miniaturize weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear," had been "substantially refined since the first Gulf War," and would soon result in "packages that could be moved even by ground personnel." Cheney linked that threat to Saddam's alleged personal ties to al Qaeda, Armey said, explaining that "we now know they have the ability to develop these weapons in a very portable fashion, and they have a delivery system in their relationship with organizations such as al Qaeda."

"Did Dick Cheney ... purposely tell me things he knew to be untrue?" Armey said. "I seriously feel that may be the case...Had I known or believed then what I believe now, I would have publicly opposed [the war] resolution right to the bitter end, and I believe I might have stopped it from happening."

Gellman writes that Cheney was never the shadow president alleged by critics. He describes a trajectory of power in which the vice president began the first term with "a brief so wide-ranging and autonomous that he was the nearest thing we have had to a deputy president." But after the near-meltdown at the Justice Department in March 2004, Bush "came to see disadvantages in the arrangement, and over time it changed."

Even when Cheney lost some of his influence, Gellman reports, he remained effective at slow-rolling initiatives he did not like. One senior foreign policy adviser, Aaron Friedberg, described the tactics as "rope a dope."

"Angler" recounts a meeting in the Situation Room in which the frustrated president, jamming a finger toward Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, demanded the start of long-delayed criminal proceedings against terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo Bay. "We are going to have a trial," Bush said, "and the proceedings are going to start by the end of January" 2004. Cheney and Rumsfeld failed to turn up for three consecutive meetings called by Rice to carry out the president's command.

On their third no-show--a month after Bush's deadline expired--CIA Director George Tenet exploded in profanity, Gellman reports. And Rice began to cry.

By The Editors |  September 16, 2008; 8:02 AM ET Post Investigations
Previous: Second Official Pleads Guilty In Oil Office Scandal | Next: FBI Director To Testify On Anthrax Case

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It's really a shame that no one has the guts to prosecute the man. There needs to be accountability in government (and corporations too) before anything will change in this country.

Posted by: carl c. | September 16, 2008 9:12 AM

Say it isn't so Dick!

Posted by: corrupt liar | September 16, 2008 10:21 AM

"There's no crying in baseball!" Said Tom Hanks in League Of Our Own - our leaders are in a league of THEIR OWN - one of which they leave US the PEOPLE out of - and one one where according to this article, there is crying. The real crying is by THE PEOPLE who have lost their brave sons and daughters in this so-called WAR - finally, when you use the word WAR there are usually sides - who are we fighting and what is it we are winning or losing?

Posted by: Jerry | September 16, 2008 10:30 AM

After reading this and the book by Vincent Buglosi "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder" I can not understand what our government has done to this country and it's citizens. The President,Vice President, and the Secretary of State Ms. Rice should all be prosecuted. The others involved charged with conspiracy and treason. Wake up Congress and citizens, we need to set records straight. We must end the war, bring our troops out of Iraq. We can no longer live in FEAR. Clean up Washington now, before it is forever too late.

Posted by: Kim | September 16, 2008 10:42 AM

The Patriot Act gives these people power to silence anyone who might try to act against them.

Where is the Democratic Congress when we need protection of our civil liberties and the constitution?

We need to have fewer millionaires in Congress, and more committed men and women to fight for the country.

Posted by: Mom | September 16, 2008 10:48 AM

"And Rice began to cry."

There's no crying in baseball! Great line by Tom Hanks from A League of Their Own.

There should be no crying by the National Security Advisor either! Are you kidding? Would Henry Kissinger cry if the SecDef and Agnew blew him off? Would Brezinski or any other NSA burst into tears? Rice has to be the worst NSA in history and she cost lives by failing to force a solution to the mess developing in Iraq that was obvious from late 2003 on.

Posted by: SteveH | September 16, 2008 11:39 AM

Republican Family Values:
Apathy, Callousness, Greed, Self Serving Self Interest, Narcissism, Inhumanity, Death, Looting, Plundering.

Posted by: republican disasters | September 16, 2008 11:43 AM

It's a shame the "liberal media" who frequently talked about and exposed these same issues that Conservative legislators are now admitting was not taken more seriously. This is another reason the Republican Party has no credibility among serious observers of the American scene and why they have to rely on wedge issues to be reelected.

Posted by: grasspress | September 16, 2008 12:01 PM

Germany had its Hitler.
The US has its Cheney.
I can't believe that the man responsible for so many hundreds of thousands of live lost is not being prosecuted. Where is the outrage? Where is the Democratic Government? All I see is people protecting people, covering the truth, hiding the facts. What's the difference with North Korea, China, Russia,....?

Posted by: Fernando F | September 16, 2008 12:06 PM

Hey Carl C. if you try to prosecute these guys, oh say like prosecuting and conviction Scooter Libby, Bush will just pardon them. We need to at least wait until he out of office before we start the investigations!

Posted by: Dan in St Louis | September 16, 2008 12:25 PM

Pinheads, liars and fools. Afghanistan was OK, Iraq was stupid, but obviously fomented by certain people for hidden reasons. I don't think that G.W. knew all the facts. I think he was hood-winked, in large part by Cheney. I do find it interesting that within days of 9-11 the Patriot Act was rolled out, prepared well in advance I'm sure. Do you notice how all of the efforts of "Homeland defense" seem to be turned inward? Toward the citizens. They're just waiting, twitching, for another event much worse than 9-11, so they can declare martial law and start the round up. America is gone either way. Obama is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Posted by: Mike P. | September 16, 2008 12:29 PM

Rice begins to cry. Tenet explodes in profanity. Rumsfeld and Cheney miss their own meeting.

Great White House! No wonder we were left defenseless on 9/11.

Posted by: William Tenenbaum | September 16, 2008 12:33 PM

the outrage??!!? when you have a country that is readily going to elect the same crew that has been manning the ship, there is no such thing as outrage. I have come to the conclusion bar an extreme economic depression that will knock some sense to 50% of the population, the US is closing in on that iceberg...God bless us all

Posted by: Clay | September 16, 2008 12:33 PM

No offense, but I can't believe Armey would be dumb enough to believe in al-Qaeda links to Saddam just because Dick Cheney told him so.

Posted by: Chris | September 16, 2008 12:34 PM

So , why not impeach the bastard, what is Pelosi waiting for

Posted by: J | September 16, 2008 12:35 PM

Ooops, I said too much. Now I'm on the watch list. Hey, make sure that you x-ray my flip-flops when I pick up my children at the airport. That is keeping us safe, while hoards of illegals can cross the border in a caravan of mules, carrying bags of drugs and blowing bugles. We're too busy searching through people's underwear in their carry-ons to notice real threats.

Posted by: Mike P | September 16, 2008 12:36 PM

This book would sell better if it had an exciting title. I suggest"

"Dicked: How The Cheney Vice Presidency Screwed the US Constitution"

I can provide cover art, if necessary...

Posted by: Hugh Briss | September 16, 2008 12:37 PM

I, too, am near tears. The rapid detioration in the state of this country over the last 8 years is so tragic and so embarrasing and so directly tied to the Bush/Cheney leadership.

Posted by: Peter | September 16, 2008 12:40 PM

911 was an inside job....Cheney is suspect#1....America....prepare yourself
Peace

Posted by: global patriot worker | September 16, 2008 12:41 PM

There's about 4,000 dead US soldiers who are crying out from their graves for this administration to get exactly what's coming to them. Anybody who could ever vote for Republicans again after knowing the truth of what they've done is a traitor to America.

Posted by: wilder5121 | September 16, 2008 12:46 PM

The man lied to the american people, to the world community and your shocked that he lied to congress as well, boy are these people gullible - I have this bridge in Alaska to sell want to buy?

Also and more importantly Cheney had an agenda and he pushed it but what where you doing? your job as a member of congress is checks and balances you need to do your own fact checking and if your too lazy or scared to do your job get another; these guys now complaining are an embarrassment man up!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 12:47 PM

What is needed here - is for all US citizen to stand up and vote them out this time and next time and next. If leaders are not speaking for us, we should vote them out.

Posted by: John | September 16, 2008 12:47 PM


Turn all the Bushies/Neocons, including members of Cheney's Iraq war marketing group, over to the ICC for a war crimes trial. Anyone who reads the definition of "war crimes" will see that they are prima facie guilty.

After that, but before they are hung or imprisoned, bring them back to the U.S. for a trial for fraud, treason, dereliction of duty, etc.

Only then will America regain some moral standing in the world. Its current standing is founded on its willingness to bomb, torture, starve, and imprison people.

Posted by: rwruger | September 16, 2008 12:48 PM

It's just like an episode out of "Li'l Bush."

Ra ra ra ra Saddam rra rra briefcase.

Posted by: Charlie French | September 16, 2008 12:49 PM

Schmucks!!
I could've told them that back in 2002.
Well, at least Obama did.

Posted by: SAm | September 16, 2008 12:50 PM

Cheney and Bush need to be charged with treason and crimes against humanity.
A public execution of these two fascist enemies of America would be a big boost to our nation's morale.
I'd venture to say it would greatly improve our standing internationally as well.

Posted by: DWayne | September 16, 2008 12:53 PM

HA HA HA is this a surprise to anyone?? I mean really its Dick Cheney we are talking about.

Posted by: 1 | September 16, 2008 12:54 PM

yes stand up and vote out cheney and bush!! uh...dude....they are term limited. they arent running. just a tip: if you have no idea what you are talking about; please DONT vote. cool?

and of course there can NOT be other sides to any of these recollections, right? like perhaps they remember it wrong? like perhaps someone didnt actually say what is said they said?? like perhaps someone said something and actually did beleive it, when now someone says that they must have known it wasnt true. yeah, they know what was in the other perosn mind AT THE TIME. yep. you guys are so friggin funny. lap it up. just suck it all up. then someday...along somes reality.....too funny...

Posted by: fred | September 16, 2008 12:55 PM

Every rat writes a book with his juicy lean on it, I am sick of the people getting rich writing books, that don't tell the truth, or at least the entire story.
So lets all vote for Obama and become socialists.

Posted by: Rusty | September 16, 2008 12:56 PM

Dick Cheney is the Darth Vadar to Bush, the Evil Emperor. I'm not surprised that Dick's heart surgeon never met him or examined him. Then they'd find out he HAS NO heart and there's nothing but machinery and acid inside his chest cavity...

Posted by: kate | September 16, 2008 12:56 PM

Germany had its Hitler.
The US has its Cheney.


hey man, did you know hitler was a community organizer! yeah. its true. he passed out the brown shirts and everything. oh, and clinton was a governnor.

Posted by: fred | September 16, 2008 12:57 PM

Q: So , why not impeach the bastard, what is Pelosi waiting for

A: an impeachment is a trial. and a trial means both sides will be heard. AND both sides are under oath. ahem. BOTH sides.

THATS why she doesnt want it. she is afraid of the truth. come on goofy. why would anyone who is wrong and has a monopoly on the MSM and the dissemination of half truths WANT the other side to have the chance the tell the real truth? and have to refute them under oath? the house of cards that they are peddling you would crumble.

Posted by: fred | September 16, 2008 1:00 PM

You need a book to tell you this? Most of the country knew the war was a scam 5yrs ago. MSM sat on the info. That's why people don't trust you anymore. As this country will shortly sit in ruins, you can ask yourself what part you played in getting us there. Once the rule of law is lost, the country is done.

Posted by: robertsgt401 | September 16, 2008 1:01 PM

The record of this administration is astounding for its sheer hypocrisy. Dick Cheney is only one player in a cast of far too many misanthropes who have contributed mightily to the deep coarsening of our society. The world is a much more dangerous and inhospitable place today as a direct result of the policies and practices of the GW Bush Administration. Some future gargantuan work of scholarly and dispassionate historical exposition will catalogue the events of 2000-2008, with specific emphasis upon the record of domestic and foreign policy decisions taken by George W Bush and his appointees.

Much of this has already seen publication in various and sundry books and articles, but when all is said and done, SOMEONE is going to undertake a coherent and cohesive history of these last 8 years. When that book is published it will embarrass all truly patriotic American citizens.

It boggles the mind to enumerate the outrageous and shameful examples of so many administration members. Many of them are convicted felons. Many MORE of the most offensive of them OUGHT to be tried for various high crimes and misdemeanors. The saddest commentary of all is the knowledge that our own citizenry returned these people to office in the election of 2004! That fact is a source of deep shame and embarrassment, I am sure, for any truly caring American citizen who loves the Constitution of the United States.

Posted by: Concerned Citizen | September 16, 2008 1:01 PM

Is anything going to be done to Cheney. The simple answer is no. But we as Americans can vote in a manner to insure that divisive politics and a hardened accountability of our leaders are held steadfast in the future. The hatred must end and rational leadership must return to Washington. By the way, how is your 401K looking since Bush took office? All you idiots make sure you vote for McSame.

Posted by: Robert | September 16, 2008 1:06 PM

And you still want to make the same mistake? Forget Iraq, the next big thing is going to Russia.

Posted by: Kam | September 16, 2008 1:08 PM

After reading all of the responses to this articile of questionable facts, it is obvious why the readership of the Post is in a steep decline. All the rational and clear thinking people are getting their news somewhere else.

Posted by: William Caldwell | September 16, 2008 1:08 PM

Cheney lied! Shocking!! And for more of the same, in spades, you can cast your vote for rockin' little Bushelle, hottest liar north of the 49th parallel.

Posted by: Achshav | September 16, 2008 1:13 PM

I don't buy it. It's a bit late in the game for Republican leaders to claim that they, too, were misled by VP Cheney and the Bush Administration about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. With 50 days left before we elect a new president and new congress, it is too politically convenient for current and former Republican leadership to try and distance themselves from the lies and corruption in the Bush and Cheney White House. They were complicit and should be held accountable. They gave the keys of our national treasury to Bush and Cheney and they authorized the invasion of Iraq. Period.

Posted by: Todd | September 16, 2008 1:17 PM

William Caldwell: All the rational and clear thinking people are getting their news somewhere else.

People are rational? On the internet? o.O Since when? Hell since when have rational people been anything but a minority? We're in this mess because we have extremist on the left and the right running this country.

Instead of these rational people you speak of.

Anyway to get back on topic, I have to agree with Clay. It'd be convenient to say Armey was innocent and thus mislead but I don't believe it happened that way. Especially when it makes Armey look good, "I mean I would of voted against the war, but the evil Dick Cheney lied to me!" So he's either telling only enough to make him look good, or he's an incompetent fool. The fact of the matter is, you can blame Bush & Cheney all you want but the failure of rational and intelligent people to stand up to such moronic leadership.

Posted by: Benjamin | September 16, 2008 1:31 PM

The reason the Democrats won't impeach is that they want all that shiny, new Republican power for themselves if they get elected in Nov 2008. If Obama's elected, will he fire the Blackwater mercenaries that Bush hired? No, he won't. That's because both sides want a military force beholden to them and them alone, not Congress, so they can do what they want where they want.

Posted by: Realist | September 16, 2008 1:36 PM

it's amusing to see the contorted logic of those who would leap over the cliff with Cheney. As though there is no point of massive evidence against someone to prove their deceipt. All these books, all these people(even powerful Republicans), all these news outlets, they're all pinko liberals I tell ya!

Posted by: richard | September 16, 2008 1:42 PM

My very brief understanding of the Republican party was that they attracted the Dixiecrats in the 60s by using culture wars, Vietnam, Johnson's programs as a wedge. They did the same in the 80s. Much to our disgust, they beat that horse yet.

Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress had to achieve a majority before they could begin to organize against the most astonishing display of corruption in my lifetime, if only because it was so public. We all knew about Cheney's associations with the security industry trough he has pushed, him and many others. Goes way beyond reasonable differences of opinion.

But isn't the real problem the stalemate caused by a two-party monopoly? Most people I know are saying anything but a Republican. (And if you look at McCain's voting record the charge holds up well.) But how could we be held hostage to such disastrous and self-serving policies if politicians were voting their conscience instead of the aisle? How transparent are redistricting/negotiations that have the country about evenly tied?

I say open up the system so that those in government and its agencies who actually want to serve the country and public (not themselves) have a chance to be heard instead of childishly attacked or smeared.

Posted by: Vi | September 16, 2008 1:44 PM

And you all deserve the kind of govt. you get because you don't go out and fight. Deep down you don't believe in anything but your own material enrichment and personal convenience.

Solidarity was bred out of Americans by the owners of this country a long time ago.

Italians didn't like a pension reform one of Berlusconi's ministers pushed through La Camera dei Deputati in 2004 - 13 million people walked out on the street and shut the country down. That's democracy!

What you have here in the US is a mockery of the very notion of democracy.

Contrary to popular American belief, USSR
did not collapse because Ronald Reagan willed it to, it collapsed of its own contradictions. America is gonna collapse exactly the same way and for the very same reason.

Except, it's gonna be a much bigger bang.
At least in Russia they have an old rich culture, a glue to hold things together. The US, essentially, is just a piece of stolen real estate with imported population on it. $$$ is the only glue of this "culture"

Posted by: Sam | September 16, 2008 1:44 PM

(and to my chagrin, I left out attracted the Dixiecrats in the 60s...also using civil rights as a wedge. My mistake.)

Posted by: Vi | September 16, 2008 1:53 PM

If Cheney is not prosecuted, willful lying will continue to the detriment of the American People. It's up to us to vote for the people with integrity who have the intestinal fortitude to prosecute this despicable person for the heartaches he caused. Cheney took the easy way out (for him). He lied instead of proving his case! Hell, no wonder he wins! We LET him win.Shame on us for that.

Posted by: ciao! | September 16, 2008 2:06 PM

Dick Cheney and Karl Rove are simply the manifestations of an America that gone dangerously astray -- along with Hank Greenberg. I wonder about those of us who are are denying the accuracy of Bart Gellman's account of Cheney's damaging vice presidency. I wonder why any American wants to put our country down further in face of clear evidence. Putting one's head in the sand is not constructive to the health of our democracy. As Mr. Jefferson said in founding our country: Democracy requires an educated electorate. Shame on those of us who refuse to be educated, but still use the glorious benefits of free speech.

Posted by: Bob | September 16, 2008 3:48 PM

Vote for McCain, he'll make it all better.

Posted by: Pinocchio | September 16, 2008 7:31 PM

I know the DNC supporting writers at the Post have a religious fervor about Saddam NOT being linked to al Qaeda but read the facts.... www.regimeofterror.com. Both sides admitted it long ago.

Posted by: toby | September 17, 2008 9:32 AM

All the little liberals here, parroting the comments in a book which was planned, written, and crafted to go after their favorite Boogeyman, DICK CHENEY...DA DA DAAAA!

You people are such a joke. And your knowledge of politics, the world, the inner workings of government is about bumpersticker thin.

But you repeat the same bullet points, act all angry about issues you in reality are clueless about, and puff and shout making quite the show.

So we now know what the Bigfoot, UFO, and Truther crowd do when they are feeling all "political."

Posted by: TiminPhx | September 17, 2008 9:46 AM

I'm not sure that even the NYTimes has such a collection of half wits writing online comments.

Posted by: jkstewart2 | September 17, 2008 11:16 AM

In response to "Republican Disasters", Clintons, Clintons, Clintons and they're still out there trying to worm their way back into the White House.

Posted by: Julia | September 18, 2008 10:05 AM

Dick Cheney aka the Wyoming Pig F'ker should be stripped of all his clothes and forced to live with pigs in a pigpen. Old Tricky Dicky should then feel at home as he is nothing but a low life F'n Pig.

Dick Cheney definitely is a liar, a low life, selfish, dark hearted, uncaring and a grotesquely fat Pig. Dicky and his cohorts from the PNAC should all be taken to the International Courts in the Hague and charged for War Crimes for the illegal War in Iraq based on lies. After they are tried and if found guilty, then hang them all just like the Nazis that were found guilty at the Nuremberg War Trials in 1946. The new joke about Dick Cheney could be "You know how you can tell if Dick Cheney is well hung" Answer: Depends if his feet are touching the ground or not.

Posted by: george33 | September 18, 2008 4:09 PM

If this is true, let this comment qualify as my role in the virtual protest against Dick Cheney.

Posted by: Jeffrey Hart | September 20, 2008 10:20 PM

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