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Declassify intelligence memos: Cheney to Obama

Strongly defending Bush Administration's controversial detainees programme which has now been reversed, former US Vice President Dick Cheney has urged President Barack Obama to declassify the intelligence memos, which proves that those measures helped in making America more secure.

world Updated: Jun 02, 2009 10:05 IST

Strongly defending Bush Administration's controversial detainees programme which has now been reversed, former US Vice President Dick Cheney has urged President Barack Obama to declassify the intelligence memos, which proves that those measures helped in making America more secure.

"I have asked and ask again today, for President Obama to declassify the memos that lay out the valuable intelligence we gained through our detainee programme. This remains a serious debate about serious matters, and it's safe to say that it will continue for some time to come. There are many issues facing the country today, but none more urgent or deserving of our attention," Cheney said at National Press Club on Monday.

The set of memos produced by the CIA talked about what the Bush Administration had achieved through the interrogation programme of high-value detainees, he said.

Observing that the US President has the authority to declassify anything he wants, Cheney hoped Obama would do it. "I'm not sure he will. But eventually I think it needs to be out there. It's part of the record, and this is an important debate. There's no question about it. A lot of strong feelings all the way around," he said.

"I think that the declassification of those documents would serve a public purpose and would help to enlighten the debate and give the American people the broader basis upon which to make a determination," he argued.

Now busy writing a memoir of his eight years as the country's Vice President, Cheney said: "Like former President (George) Bush, I am proud of the decisions we made and of the record we left. There have been quite a few mischaracterisations and, in some quarters, a failure to recognise the success of the strategy we followed to keep this country safe after September 11, 2001."

He said: "I intend to set the record straight, not just because that is important in itself but also because a clear understanding of policies that worked is essential to defending the nation in the months and years ahead."

Now, with the passage of time and maybe the illusion that the danger has gone away, some are now suggesting ethics charges or even prosecution against these men and women. "This attitude is foolish, it is deeply unfair, and it sets a dangerous precedent of the criminalisation of policy differences," Chaney said.