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Archive for the ‘Dick Cheney’ Category

Has the Balance Tipped?

FRONTLINE

September 7, 2011, 3:30 pm ET by Philip Bennett

On a rainy day in October 2005, Dana Priest was escorted across the immaculate marble lobby of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia along with a pair of her editors from The Washington Post (I was one of them). We crowded into a private, key-operated elevator that opened into a study that would have seemed almost cozy if not for the arresting artifact at the far end of the room: an American flag, scorched and battered, recovered from Ground Zero and now hanging behind the director’s desk.

The purpose of the meeting was to urge The Post not to publish Priest’s story about a global network of secret CIA prisons. The discussion was off the record, but senior officials in the room later made the same arguments in public. They said the story would disrupt the detention of highly prized prisoners. It could endanger American lives by interfering with efforts to stop another attack. And revealing this one secret might set off an invisible domino effect, ruining the government’s reputation for keeping others.

It was an icy and awkward encounter, but it could have been scripted by the Founders. Disputes over secrecy are as old as the republic. In this case, officials who had authority to order people’s deaths had no power to stop a newspaper article (which must have been infuriating). At The Post, we had no way of knowing if the benefits of running the story outweighed potential costs (which was humbling). Where was the boundary between our responsibility to inform the public and hold the government accountable, even in wartime, and harm to national security? Wrestling with this question, case by case, was how the contest between security and freedom worked.

 Telling it like it is

FRONTLINE goes inside The Washington Post’s major two-year examination into the massive, unwieldy, top secret world the U.S. government has created in response to 9/11.

A major examination by Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin is the subject of an upcoming FRONTLINE documentary produced by veteran producer Michael Kirk. The Post’s two-year investigation looks at the top secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001—a world that has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that few know how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or how many agencies duplicate work being done elsewhere.

See the full documentory at  Top Secret America

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…the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.” Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI, June 5, 2006

We’ve never made the case, or argued the case, that somehow Osama Bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming.” Vice President Dick Cheney, March 29, 2006

Acknowledgment: For facts on Operation Flavius, I have drawn from the Wikepedia article on the subject

Shell petrol station at Winston Churchill Avenue in Gibraltar where McCann and Farrell were shot by the SAS

Events last week have brought to mind a similar incident which took place more than twenty years ago involving the killing of three members of a terrorist organisation on Gibraltar, in which there are a number of disturbing parallels.

On 6 March, 1988, an SAS (the UK’s equivalent, more or less, to the United States SEALs) team stopped three members of the IRA as they walked near the Shell filling station in Winston Churchill Avenue, the busy main road leading to the airport and the frontier with Spain.

The three, Danny McCann, Sean Savage and Mairead Farrell, were planning to detonate a car bomb where a military band assembled for the weekly changing of the guard at the governor’s residence.

The SAS team had been informed – incorrectly – that the IRA members had already placed their bomb and were ready to detonate it.

(more…)

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Question for the tea party and everyone who voted for tea party Republicans in November: Did you enjoy your purely cosmetic vote to repeal the health care reform law? Personally, I would feel pandered to, and not particularly satisfied with all of that fiscally expensive congressional time being wasted on a vote that meant absolutely nothing. But that’s me.

I mean, you and your peers are obsessively focused on budget deficits and the national debt. Perhaps all of that federal money, all of that federal time and all of those federal resources would have been more effectively spent on something that had a chance of actually happening. Instead, you mandated that your Republican members of the House spend countless dollars on a symbolic exercise in, well, hooey. Nonsense. The political equivalent of pissing into the wind.

Considering that many of us on the progressive side of the political divide supported the health care law in part because it actually reduces the deficit, and considering that many of us on the progressive side of the political divide supported the stimulus and, within it, the largest middle class tax cut in American history, I’m getting a strong idea as to who is more interested in fiscal discipline and who isn’t.

With this meaningless vote, not only have the Republicans proved themselves to be entirely disinterested in reducing the deficit, but they’ve also reinforced their obsession with bumper sticker slogans, self-contradictions and utterly nonsensical political gestures.

Here are two more fantastic examples of how Republicans seriously dislike health care reform, socialized medicine and “government-run” healthcare — that is, until they actually need it.

You may or may not recall a study conducted before the health care reform law was passed by the office of Rep. Anthony Weiner. At the time, 55 Republican members of Congress were enrolled in Medicare, including Senators McCain, McConnell, Kyl, Shelby, Lugar, Inhofe and Grassley. All of whom were opposed to the public option and health care reform.

On the House side, Rep. Weiner’s list includes Peter King, Phil Gingrey, wingnut Virginia Foxx and the godfather of the tea party movement Ron Paul. Seriously, Ron Paul! All 55 members are accepting a form of the public option. Government-run health care. Socialized medicine. I wonder what Ayn Rand would say about Ron Paul accepting Medicare? A program that, more than anything else, will help to bump the national debt from 15 percent of GDP to 35 percent of GDP by 2082. And they claim to be worried about the debt? That’s rich.

Where are the tea party budget hawks — the tri-corned hat reenactors with their misspelled signs and racist voodoo portraits of the president — screeching for Ron Paul to give up his share in American socialism?

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Does Nigeria Have a Case Against Dick Cheney?

Africa Legal Brief

Monday, 13 December 2010 20:42

Nigerian officials have indicted former Vice President Dick Cheney for bribing the Nigerian government in the ’90s. The accusation stems from Cheney’s reign as CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000. Last year, a subsidiary of Halliburton, plead guilty in U.S. courts to paying bribes from 1995 to 2004 in order to build a liquefied natural gas plant in Niger Delta. While a number of liberals are salivating at the notion of Cheney locked up in a Nigerian prison, few predict that the U.S. will ever agree to extradite him. Additionally, it doesn’t help that Nigeria happens to be one of the most corrupt governments in the world. Here’s what reporters and bloggers are making of the indictment:

* This Is an Important Move, writes Juan Cole at Informed Comment:

That Nigeria is moving forward with this prosecution is symbolically important … So far Bush and Cheney, who are guilty of a long list of crimes against international and US domestic law, have had impunity from even so much as firm condemnation by any international body. It is not impossible that a corruption charge against Cheney could chip a chink in that so far impenetrable armor. At least their reputations should be tarnished!

* Here’s What Nigeria Is Basing This Off  “Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission pointed specifically,” writes Tom Diemer at Politics Daily, “at a former Halliburton subsidiary, Houston-based KBR, which pleaded guilty last year in U.S. federal court to authorizing and paying bribes in Nigeria for plant contracts between 1995 and 2004.” In that case, KBR paid $402 million in fines and Halliburton paid $177 million, adds CNN.

* This Could Be Political, writes Jon Gambrell at The Associated Press:

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan faces a coming primary election in the nation’s ruling party against former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Critics have tried to connect Abubakar to this bribery case in the past and the charges come as the election looms. Abubakar has denied any involvement.

* Locals Are Skeptical, observes Christian Purefoy at CNN:

Many observers in Nigeria regard the move as a publicity stunt by the commission ahead of national elections this April and a symbolic effort to display resolve against government corruption. The agency has had limited success in getting successful prosecutions and hasn’t charged any high-profile people since its top commissioner was removed from the body in 2007.

* Cheney’s Lawyer Is Full of It, writes Marcy Wheeler at Fire Dog Lake. She responds to Cheney attorney Terence O’Donnell who said the former vice president was innocent because US investigators “found no suggestions of any impropriety” when they looked into the matter during the Bush years. Wheeler writes:

O’Donnell suggests that because the US conducted its own investigation–mostly during a period when Cheney remained the most powerful man in government and when DOJ was clearly politicized–then Nigeria should be unable to do so, too.

* Don’t Get Your Hopes Up, Nigeria  “Whether or not the U.S. authorities will honor the Interpol warrant issued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Nigeria remains to be seen,” writes Pratap Chatterjee at The Daily Beast. “But, somehow, I don’t see Cheney agreeing to leave Ballintober, his nine-acre spread in St. Michael’s that includes extensive gardens, ornamental pools, and spectacular views from a large, glass-walled waterside room, for the prison cells of Nigeria.”

* Odd, Coming from Nigeria, writes Scott Baldauf at The Christian Science Monitor:

The indictment of a major US political and corporate figure marks a tough new step for Nigeria’s relatively untested anticorruption commission. Nigeria ranks as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, ranked 134th out of 178 countries by anticorruption group Transparency International.

SOURCE

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Nigeria charges former US VP Cheney over bribery

By JON GAMBRELL

The Associated Press  Via- The Washington Post
Tuesday, December 7, 2010; 3:50 PM

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency on Tuesday charged former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney over a bribery scheme involving oil services firm Halliburton Co. during time he served as its top official, a spokesman said.

The charges stem from a case involving as much as $180 million allegedly paid in bribes to Nigerian officials, said Femi Babafemi, a spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Halliburton and other firms allegedly paid the bribes to win a contract to build a $6 billion liquefied natural gas plant in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta, he said.

Terrence O’Donnell, a lawyer representing Cheney, denied the allegations.

“The Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission investigated that joint venture extensively and found no suggestion of any impropriety by Dick Cheney in his role of CEO of Halliburton,” O’Donnell’s said in a statement sent to The Associated Press. “Any suggestion of misconduct on his part, made now, years later, is entirely baseless.”

The Halliburton case involves its former subsidiary KBR, a major engineering and construction services firm based in Houston. In February 2009, KBR Inc. pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to authorizing and paying bribes from 1995 to 2004 for the plant contracts in Nigeria.

KBR, which split from Halliburton in 2007, agreed to pay more than $400 million in fines in the plea deal.

Halliburton spokeswoman Tara Mullee Agard said the company had not seen the new charges Tuesday, but insisted the company had nothing to do with the project.

Babafemi said Halliburton, its Nigerian subsidiary, Halliburton CEO David J. Lesar, former KBR CEO Albert “Jack” Stanley and current KBR CEO William Utt all face similar charges in the case. The spokesman said each charge in the 16-count indictment carried as much as three years in prison.

Heather L. Browne, a KBR spokeswoman, said in a statement that Utt joined the firm in 2006, two years after prosecutors say the bribery case concluded.

“The actions of the Nigerian government suggest that its officials are wildly and wrongly asserting blame in this matter,” Browne’s statement read. “KBR will continue to vigorously defend itself and its executives, if necessary, in this matter.”

Stanley pleaded guilty in 2008 to federal bribery charges for his role in the scheme. He is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on Jan. 19.

MORE HERE

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KBR Statement Regarding Latest Nigerian FCPA Charges

Houston, Texas – December 7, 2010 – Recent press reports name KBR Chairman, President and CEO William P. Utt in the latest apparent charges to be filed by the Nigerian Government. The issues related to this latest set of charges involve violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) that occurred between 1994 and 2004.

William P. Utt joined KBR in February 2006 and the remainder of KBR’s executive team was appointed thereafter. No one on KBR’s current executive team was involved in the FCPA violations. KBR in no way condones or tolerates illegal or unethical behavior. Conducting our business with the utmost integrity is at the core of the work we perform each day.

The actions of the Nigerian government suggest that its officials are wildly and wrongly asserting blame in this matter.

KBR will continue to vigorously defend itself and its executives if necessary, in this matter.

MORE HERE

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Nigeria to Charge Dick Cheney in Pipeline Bribery Case

December 01, 2010, 5:05 PM EST

Bloomberg Businessweek

By Elisha Bala-Gbogbo

(Updates with Eni comment in seventh paragraph.)

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) — Nigeria will file charges against former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and officials from five foreign companies including Halliburton Co. over a $180 million bribery scandal, a prosecutor at the anti-graft agency said.

Indictments will be lodged in a Nigerian court “in the next three days,” Godwin Obla, prosecuting counsel at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, said in an interview today at his office in Abuja, the capital. An arrest warrant for Cheney “will be issued and transmitted through Interpol,” the world’s biggest international police organization, he said.

Peter Long, Cheney’s spokesman, said he couldn’t immediately comment when contacted today and said he would respond later to an e-mailed request for comment.

Obla said charges will be filed against current and former chief executive officers of Halliburton, including Cheney, who was CEO from 1995 to 2000, and its former unit KBR Inc., based in Houston, Texas; Technip SA, Europe’s second-largest oilfield- services provider; Eni SpA, Italy’s biggest oil company; and Saipem Construction Co., a unit of Eni. Obla didn’t identify the former officials whom he said held office when the alleged bribes were paid.

Last week, Nigeria arrested at least 23 officials from companies including Halliburton, Saipem, Technip and a former subsidiary of Panalpina Welttransport Holding AG in connection with alleged illegal payments to Nigerian officials. Those detained were all freed on bail on Nov. 29.

MORE HERE

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Halliburton and Nigeria:
A Chronology of Key Events in the Unfolding Bribery Scandal

1988: Dresser Industries acquires M.W. Kellogg, ten years before Dresser merges with Halliburton.

September 1994: M.W. Kellogg and three other companies form a partnership known as TSKJ, incorporated in Medeira, Portugal. Each partner owns a 25 percent equal share. Kellogg’s three other partners are Technip of France, Italy’s Snamprogetti, and Japan Gasoline Corp. The partnership submits a bid to Nigeria LNG to build a natural gas plant in Nigeria. Nigeria LNG is owned by the Nigerian government and Royal Dutch/Shell Group. TSKJ’s $2 billion bid is not immediately accepted even though it was 5 percent lower than a bid submitted by competitor, Bechtel Group, Inc.

November 1994: As TSKJ awaits Nigeria’s decision on the bid, Wojciech Chodan, an executive at Kellogg and later a consultant for Kellogg Brown & Root, meets with London lawyer Jefferey Tesler, who is known for his contacts and friendly relations with the Nigerian government, including its dictator Gen. Sani Abacha. During the meeting, they discussed channeling $40 million to Gen. Abacha through Mr. Tesler’s firm Tri-Star, based in Gibralter, Spain.

March 1995: TSKJ formally hires Mr. Tesler as agent; TSKJ’s bid has still not been accepted by Nigeria LNG. Mr. Tesler’s employment contract is signed by an M.W. Kellogg executive on behalf of the TSKJ partnership. Mr. Tesler had been working on behalf of TSKJ prior to March 1995 and the employment contract was given to Mr. Tesler as a reward for his prodding of Nigerian officials. The employment contract provided that Mr. Tesler would be paid $60 million if Nigeria awarded the construction contract to TSKJ. Mr. Tesler’s Tri-Star was contracted to receive at least $160 million in five agreements signed between 1995 and 2002, and the funds were directed to bank accounts in Switzerland and Monaco.

March 20, 1995: Dan Etete replaces Nigeria’s former oil minister, who has a falling out with the dicatator, Gen. Abacha. “In an interrogation of Mr. Tesler, a French magistrate described the London lawyer’s transfer of $2.5 million into Swiss bank accounts held by Mr. Etete under a false name between 1996 and 1998. Mr. Tesler confirmed making the payments but told the magistrate that the money was for an investment in offshore oil exploration leases in Nigeria and that he wasn’t aware the accounts belonged to Mr. Etete, according to people familiar with the interrogation.” (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 29, 2004.)

June 1995: Albert Jack Stanley is promoted to president and chief operating officer of M.W. Kellogg after serving as executive vice president since 1991 and various positions since 1975.

August 1995: Dick Cheney is hired as CEO of Halliburton, three years before he directs the merger of Halliburton with Dresser Industries and M.W. Kellogg. He serves as CEO until August of 2000.

MORE HERE

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Excerpted from: Tony Blair: Gordon Brown tried to blackmail me
The Daily telegraph
By Robert Winnett and Henry Samuel
Published: 6:31AM BST 01 Sep 2010

Tony Blair's book A Journey Photo: AP

The pressure on Mr Blair to step aside became so great that he admits he may have become reliant on alcohol as he faced coup attempts from Mr Brown’s supporters. He discloses that he began drinking every day and needed the “support” that alcohol provided.

He discloses his “anguish” over the Iraq war and admits that he failed to predict the “nightmare” in the aftermath of the conflict. But he insists going to war was correct and says he will devote the rest of his life to making amends.

He also discloses how American hawks, particularly Dick Cheney, the then US vice-president, were apparently keen to invade other countries in the Middle East, including Syria.

“Diana was a manipulator like me.”

George W. Bush did not recognise the prime minister of Belgium or understand why he was at a G8 meeting, Tony Blair has disclosed

The book also reveals:

  • Mr Blair’s growing concerns over his relationship with alcohol. He describes how he used to drink a whisky or gin and tonic before his evening meal, then have several glasses of wine. He said he became aware it was “becoming a support”.
  • He still feels “anguish” about the Iraq war and says that he had never guessed “the nightmare” that would unfold after he took the decision to commit British troops to the American-led invasion.
  • He also discloses how American hawks, particularly Dick Cheney, the then US vice-president, were apparently keen to invade other countries in the Middle East, including Syria.
  • George W Bush is praised for his intelligence.
  • An entire chapter is devoted to the death of Princess Diana within months of his election. He says that both he and the princess were “manipulators”.
  • Tony Blair: Gordon Brown tried to blackmail me
  • Diana ‘was a manipulator like me’
  • Blair’s deep misgivings about Gordon Brown
  • Blair ‘lied to stop Northern Ireland peace talks collapsing’
  • George W. Bush did not recognise the prime minister of Belgium or understand why he was at a G8 meeting, Tony Blair has disclosed
  • Tony Blair: I did not understand Islam at time of 9/11 attacks
  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/tony-blair/7974820/Tony-Blair-A-Journey-PMs-drinking-habit.html
  • Tony Blair ‘cannot say sorry in words’ about the Iraq war
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    Youtube

    From: wordgeezer April 19, 2010

    Now, listen up you arm chair revolutionaries, this happened on G. Duhbya Bush’s watch,so don’t go blamin Obama. It”s true that Obama works for the same shadow government that Duhhbya did, but he’s considerable smarter. Thats why they don’t like him much and why they pay goons like Glen Beck so much money to give him a bad time.

    If you want to know why the countries so broke, take a look at the War Presidents budget for the last eight years.
    Also take a look at the evidence here and ask yourself if Osama or any of his Al Qaida buddies were capable of this unprecedented destruction.

    A new open and independent investigation is needed so we can get this 911 thing resolved. This would be a good subject to bring up at your next tea party, even if it isn’t Dick Army’s idea. Freedom Works, just another tricky neo conservative name, was founded to help Bu$h steal his second election and is now being used to promote the agenda of the same old shadow government that has been around since Ronnie Raygun’s time…G:

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    And You Thought We Left The Monarchy In England? Liz Cheney’s Thinking of Running for Office

    Crooks And Liars- By Susie Madrak Tuesday Mar 09, 2010 7:00am

    You may have been under the impression that we don’t have a monarchy in this country, but apparently we do – especially if you’re part of the Cheney gene pool:

    Liz Cheney, a mother of five children, has become one of the sharpest and most outspoken critics of the new White House and has needled the Obama administration for failing to protect the nation against terrorism, and mollycoddling terror suspects while pursuing government lawyers who approved water-boarding, a method of inquisition she approves of. She called the president’s Nobel Peace prize a “farce”.

    Pushed by friends and family, Ms Cheney is now reportedly contemplating a run for office herself either in Virginia, where she was raised, or in Wyoming, her parents’ home state.

    A former senior state department official on the Middle East, the 43-year-old has already attracted favourable comparisons with as a more substantive version of Sarah Palin, another conservative working mother.

    “She’s likely to seek office,” was the judgment of Karl Rove, the former chief adviser to George W Bush.

    “I’d love to see her run for office someday,” said her father, 69, recently. “I think she’s got a lot to offer, and it’s been a great career for me, and if she has the interest, and I think she does, then I would like to see her embark upon a career in politics.”
    In 40 television appearances in the past year, Ms Cheney has robustly defended her father against criticism that he was the sinister force behind war on terror policies that subverted the norms of American justice, arguing that he and Mr Bush did nothing illegal and kept the country safe after 9/11.

    Imagine that. She’s been on TV forty times in the past year, for nothing more than her DNA and social connections. Yes, Marcy Wheeler calls her “Babydick” and points us to a piece in New York magazine about why NBC loves her so much:

    Fox is a regular pulpit, of course, but Liz is also all over NBC, where she happens to be social friends with Meet the Press host David Gregory (whose wife worked with Liz ’s husband at the law firm Latham & Watkins), family friends with Justice Department reporter Pete Williams (Dick Cheney’s press aide when he was secretary of Defense), and neighborhood friends with Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, daughter of Carter-administration national-security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. When Mika criticized Dick Cheney on her show last year, the former vice-president sent her a box of chocolate cupcakes.

    Lawrence O’Donnell, an MSNBC pundit who engaged in a particularly testy shouting match on Good Morning America with Liz Cheney over waterboarding, says the networks have allowed her a high degree of control over her appearances. “She had up to that point been completely accustomed to having interviews go her way and ceded on her terms,” he observes. “She has been careful to make sure that the interviews worked that way.”

    Marcy also reminds us that Cheney was her father’s eyes and ears in the State Department:

    What Hagan describes here, of course, is out and out insubordination (or rather, BabyDick’s insubordination layered on top of Bolton’s insubordination). But what he also makes clear is that not only was BabyDick wired into Bolton’s shop (and with it, discussions that would have revealed the genesis of Joe Wilson’s trip), but she also helped Wurmser accomplish his two-fold goal of thwarting State Department efforts to set up a broad-based Iraqi government (where OVP pressed Chalabi instead) and of setting up propaganda efforts–complete with their very own NYT shill, Judy Miller–to support claims they had found WMDs.

    Not that that should be a surprise. But if you’re looking for news in this big [BJ] of an article, that’s one tidbit of it.

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    Joe Biden Tears Into Dick Cheney On ‘Meet The Press’ (VIDEO)

    Huff Po– First Posted: 02-14-10 02:05 AM   |   Updated: 02-14-10 10:32 AM

    UPDATE, 10:15 AM ET: See details from Cheney’s interview below.

    In a much-anticipated Sunday showdown between Vice President Joe Biden and his predecessor Dick Cheney, Biden has drawn first blood.

    Asked to respond to a range of harsh attacks on the Obama administration leveled by Cheney, Biden first gathered himself. “Let me choose my words carefully here,” he told David Gregory in a pre-taped interview for Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

    Then Biden let loose with several minutes of his most pointed criticism of Cheney since the 2008 presidential campaign, when Biden claimed that Cheney had “done more harm than any other single elected official in memory in terms of shredding the Constitution.”

    Speaking to Gregory, Biden charged at least four times that Cheney was “rewrit[ing] history” with his recent attacks, and declared that President Obama has amassed a success rate in countering terrorism that “exceeds anything that occurred in the last Administration.”

    Cheney will appear on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

    Watch video or read the full transcript below.

    TRANSCRIPT & MORE HERE

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