For years the so-called 'liberal media' was vilified by Republicans for reporting that Vice President Dick Cheney was often calling the shots in the Bush administration.
In a new documentary to air on Showtime, 'The World According to Dick Cheney, ' the former vice president confirms much of what the media reported about him.
Recalling the events right after 9/11, Cheney admitted he took control of presidential decisions. "I had a job to do" is his defense, reports the New York Times.
"I got on the telephone with the president, who was in Florida, and told him not to be at one location where we could both be taken out," says Cheney in the documentary.
While Cheney kept President Bush flying aimlessly around the country, he and wife Lynn left on a helicopter for a secure undisclosed location.
"I gave the instructions that we'd authorize our pilots to take it out," Cheney recalls in reference to a hijacked airliner headed to Washington D.C. that crashed in a Pennsylvania field.
"After I'd given the order, it was pretty quiet. Everybody had heard it, and it was obviously a significant moment," said Cheney.
When they testified together before the 9/11 Commission, Bush and Cheney said that in a previous call, the president had authorized the vice president to give a shoot-down order if needed. The 9/11 commission found "no documentary evidence for this call."
When he was supposed to be vetting vice presidential candidates, Cheney was actually demanding so much material from them that there was always something to criticize.
Cheney told Bush about conflicts between presidents and vice presidents sparked by the vice president's ambition, while claiming that he did not want the job, which, of course, he did and got.
Cheney ran the transition team and hired his buddies from his Nixon days, including Donald Rumsfeld, whom George H.W. Bush did not like.
To make his case for going after Saddam Hussein instead 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden, Cheney played on Bush's fear of being seen as a wimp, as his father had been.
When Cheney kept Bush out of the loop on the Justice Department's opposition to Cheney's illegal warrantless domestic spying program, the relationship was ruptured. It was all but destroyed when Bush refused to fully pardon Cheney's assistant 'Scooter' Libby.
Cheney still defends waterboarding, which is defined as 'torture' by the U.S. and a U.N. agreement signed by President Reagan: "Are you going to trade the lives of a number of people because you want to preserve your honor? I don't lie awake at night thinking, gee, what are they going to say about me?"
Source: New York Times