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In the ten years since the harrowing attacks in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania, Americans have been through a difficult and emotional process.
Download Audio as MP3 We have coped with the loss of loved ones, commemorated the nation's heroes, and battled to bring the terrorists and those who harbor them to justice.
Then-vice president Richard B. Cheney was at the epicenter of the 9/11 attacks, and he helped guide the nation through mourning and war. In the first Washington event since the release of his memoir, In My Time, Vice President Cheney will sit down at AEI for a conversation about that day a decade ago, the decisions made since, lessons learned, and lessons that have not been learned. The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes will moderate.
RICHARD B. CHENEY, Former Vice President of the United States
STEPHEN HAYES, The Weekly Standard
Question and Answer
WASHINGTON, September 9, 2011—Former Vice President Richard Cheney sat down in front of a full house at the American Enterprise Institute for a conversation about September 11, 2001, and the decisions he made following the attacks. In his first Washington event since the release of his memoir, In My Time, the vice president declared that the 9/11 attacks were not merely criminal acts, but acts of war—and were treated as such. He defended the use of the terror surveillance program and enhanced interrogation techniques authorized by President George W. Bush, declaring that “the results have spoken for themselves.” Vice President Cheney argued that the interrogation policies instituted during his vice presidency helped produced the intelligence that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in May. His dialogue with the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes also touched on threats the United States faces today, arguing that the “most dangerous threat” to the nation is that nuclear materials will fall into the hands of terrorists. Ultimately, Vice President Cheney stressed that on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, beyond the grief America still feels for lives lost that day, it is important to remember that the threat of terrorism is still alive.
--ALEX DELLA ROCCHETTA
Richard B. Cheney has served at the highest levels of government during some of the critical days in modern American history. In the Gerald Ford administration, the president turned to thirty-four-year-old Dick Cheney to lead the White House staff in waging the president’s 1976 campaign. After leaving the White House, Vice President Cheney returned to Wyoming, where he was elected in 1978 as the state’s sole member of Congress. Reelected to the office five times, he was chosen by his colleagues as deputy majority leader of the House of Representatives. In 1989, Vice President Cheney was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to serve as secretary of defense. In his four years at the Pentagon, he helped lead American forces to victory in Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991. Through most of the 1990s, Vice President Cheney was CEO of the Halliburton Company. When George W. Bush secured the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2000, the Texas governor asked him to lead the search for a vice presidential running mate. President Bush eventually asked Vice President Cheney himself to join the ticket, and after a suspenseful campaign and election, they were inaugurated into office. In the eight years of the Bush presidency, the vice president was best known for his involvement in national security matters following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As difficult decisions multiplied, Vice President Cheney held firm to a strategy of keeping America safe by taking the fight to the enemy. He spoke with confidence that America’s ideals of justice and liberty could overcome the ideologies of violence and domination, and that America’s own security would be strengthened by the spread of freedom.
Stephen F. Hayes is a senior writer at the Weekly Standard and author of two New York Times bestsellers: Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President (HarperCollins, 2007) and The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America (HarperCollins, 2004). Before joining the Weekly Standard, Mr. Hayes was a senior writer for National Journal's Hotline. He also served for six years as director of the Institute on Political Journalism at Georgetown University. His work has appeared in the New York Post, the Washington Times, Salon, National Review, and Reason. He has been a commentator on CNN, the McLaughlin Group, the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNBC, and C-SPAN.