In a television interview, former US Vice President Dick Cheney has defended CIA interrogation methods used after 9/11. He said he "would do it again in a minute."
Appearing on the NBC Sunday "Meet the Press" program, Cheney said there was "no comparison" between the tactics employed by the US intelligence agency and the deaths of Americans on September 11, 2001.
Cheney said the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) "very carefully avoided" the practice of torture.
"Torture is what the al Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11," Cheney said. "There is no comparison between that and what we did with respect to enhanced interrogation."
The interview comes after last Tuesday's publishing of a report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee on the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" techniques.
Asked whether the practice of "rectal rehydration" was acceptable, Cheney acknowledged that it was not part of the interrogation program. "I believe it was done for medical reasons," he said, but did not offer any medical evidence to support his point.
The former vice president also said he was not concerned about the capture or interrogation of foreign nationals who were ultimately revealed to be innocent. "I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective and our objective is to get the guys who did 9/11 and to avoid another attack against the United States," he said.
Cheney also denied claims in the Senate report that former President George W. Bush was misled about the extent of the practices. "This man knew what we were doing," he said. Cheney outlined daily briefings that included the president, the CIA director and himself. "He authorized it. He approved it," Cheney said.
Cheney was vice president from 2001 until 2009. In 2010 he appeared on US television to speak out in support of waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques for captured terrorist suspects. He said at the time: "I was and remain a strong proponent of our enhanced interrogation program."
From 1995 until 2000, Cheney served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Halliburton, one of the world's largest oil field services companies, with operations in more than 80 countries.
jm/jr (AFP, AP)