After former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell ripped Dick Cheney in an interview with CBS News last weekend, Powell’s former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, also took the opportunity to blast Cheney. Wilkerson attacked Cheney after the former the U.S. Vice President criticized many high-ranking officials within the Bush administration, including Powell, while promoting his new memoir.
Wilkerson told ABC News that he felt that Cheney was the “president for all practical purposes for the first term of the Bush administration” and that Cheney “fears being tried as a war criminal.”
Sunday on Fox News, the former VP dismissed the remarks by Wilkerson and called it a “cheap shot.”
“Well, that’s news to me,” Cheney said on Fox News Sunday when he was asked about his thoughts on Wilkerson’s comments. “I don’t pay a lot of attention to Mr. Wilkerson. I don’t know him. As far as I know, I never met the gentleman. I know he speaks out from time to time, and that strikes me as a cheap shot.”
Wilkerson, however, said that he has known Cheney for decades and noted that based on his latest media tour, he doesn’t recognize him anymore.
“I think he’s just trying to, one, assert himself so he’s not in some subsequent time period tried for war crimes and, second, so that he somehow vindicates himself because he feels like he needs vindication. That in itself tells you something about him,” Wilkerson said.
The former VP first started the line of verbal attacks after he claimed in his book that Powell took criticisms about Bush’s policies outside the administration, and also said that he took credit for Powell leaving the administration shortly after Bush’s first term.
In his memoir, Cheney defended the use of highly controversial interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, to extract information from terror suspects shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
“I was a staunch advocate of the … terrorist surveillance program and enhanced interrogation techniques out of the deep conviction on my part that we badly needed those to succeed in the war on terror,” Cheney said in his book.