The Washington Post's four-part series on the influence and power of Dick Cheney reveal the tactics of a stealthy operator who prizes secrecy, kneecaps opponents, stifles dissent, and dogmatically pursues a rigid hard-right agenda.
Cheney has argued that his quest for war in Iraq, pursuit of torture, denial of due process to detainees, and advocacy for illegal wiretaps were all precipitated by the events of 9/11:
CHENEY: In a sense, 9/11 changed everything for us. 9/11 forced us to think in new ways about threats to the United States, about our vulnerabilities, about who our enemies were, about what kind of military strategy we needed in order to defend ourselves. [12/23/03]
CHENEY: I think 9/11 changed things to the point where we could no longer afford to ignore what was going on in Iraq. [2/23/07]
This morning on Washington Post radio, Barton Gellman — the co-author of the Cheney series — argued that based on his research of Cheney, he found “no evidence” that “9/11 exerted a profound psychological change on the Vice President.” Instead, Gellman argued, “[Cheney] has not changed his views very much over the years. What has changed is he has a greater opportunity to put them into action.”
Listen to the interview here
GELLMAN: It's been often speculated that 9/11 exerted a profound psychological change on the Vice President. But we did not find evidence that that's true.
There's a moment in the story in which we've got witnesses who are watching him watch the World Trade Center collapse. Everyone else in the room is groaning. And he doesn't blink his eyes. He turns around and starts working the phones again.
And what he's doing is he's finding that 9/11 confirms some long-held beliefs of his. And it gives him the opportunity to press through some long-desired changes. He has not changed his views very much over the years. What has changed is he has a greater opportunity to put them into action.