Dick Cheney Asks To Be Prosecuted For Violation of Federal Law

Many people have already pointed out that Dick Cheney’s discussion of his role in promoting water boarding on Sunday is essentially a confession to war crimes. Scott Horton questions if he wants to be prosecuted:

“I was a big supporter of waterboarding,” Cheney said in an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday. He went on to explain that Justice Department lawyers had been instructed to write legal opinions to cover the use of this and other torture techniques after the White House had settled on them.

Section 2340A of the federal criminal code makes it an offense to torture or to conspire to torture. Violators are subject to jail terms or to death in appropriate cases, as where death results from the application of torture techniques. Prosecutors have argued that a criminal investigation into torture undertaken with the direction of the Bush White House would raise complex legal issues, and proof would be difficult. But what about cases in which an instigator openly and notoriously brags about his role in torture? Cheney told Jonathan Karl that he used his position within the National Security Council to advocate for the use of waterboarding and other torture techniques. Former CIA agent John Kiriakou and others have confirmed that when waterboarding was administered, it was only after receiving NSC clearance. Hence, Cheney was not speaking hypothetically but admitting his involvement in the process that led to decisions to waterboard in at least three cases.

What prosecutor can look away when a perpetrator mocks the law itself and revels in his role in violating it? Such cases cry out for prosecution. Dick Cheney wants to be prosecuted. And prosecutors should give him what he wants.

Whether or not Cheney wants to be prosecuted, he should be tried for his violation of the law. If the actions he described on television are allowed to go unpunished there is no reason for any future president or vice-president to fear repeating Dick Cheney’s crimes.


  1. 1
    Joaquin says:

    “Whether or not Cheney wants to be prosecuted, he should be tried for his violation of the law.”
    And what law might that be?

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Read the post. Cheney has admitted to violating Section 2340A of the federal criminal code.

  3. 3
    Joaquin says:

    No, he said he supported, much like you may support jay-walking, or I support smoking pot.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    No, we went beyond saying he supported it. He has outlined how his actions promoted the use of water boarding in at least three cases.

  5. 5
    Joaquin says:

    I’ll grab a comfortable chair, and  sit back and wait for you to provide the “outline” you speak of.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    Cheney already did this. He is intentionally daring Holder to take action. Cheney is probably right that Holder will not but I would love to see him call his bluff.

  7. 7
    Brent says:

    Let him sit back and stay out of everyone’s hair. Why are wingnuts unable to read and follow links on their own?

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:


    The short answer often seems to be no. I can’t tell you how often I’ve led those on the far right by the hand even more than here to information and their blinders still keep them from seeing it.

    Actually the problem isn’t only those on the far right. The problems is with extremists from both sides. I don’t know if you have followed the rather long discussion of this post on Facebook. There’s also the problem of people on the left who scream that any American president (or ranking official) involved in war is essentially a war criminal. We need to make the distinction in the cases of Dick Cheney who has admitted to involvement in specific acts which violate a specific article of the criminal code and for which there is precedent for prosecution.

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    I should backtrack slightly.  In admitting his role in ordering what opinions would be given Cheney negated the usual Bush administration defense of blaming the violations of law on third party legal opinions. Many of us observing believe that Cheney was essentially daring Holder to prosecute but we cannot know for sure what was going on in his mind. It is possible that rather than this being a dare he made an unintentional mistake when he admitted to these violations of the law. Either way he should be prosecuted to reduce the risk of such crimes happening again.

  10. 10
    Brett Robinson says:

    #Cheney confesses to war crimes! http://bit.ly/9NNMAu #p2

  11. 11
    Jim Z. says:

    Perhaps Cheney knows of a teminal illness that he hasn’t revealed yet, and wants his last act to become a sacrificial lamb to his twisted cause.

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