Was Cheney’s Heart Attack Triggered by Stress Over DOJ Finding That He Lied about Torture Intel?

You gotta admit the timeline is compelling.

On Saturday, Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff reported that a Department of Justice investigation revealed that, contrary to Dick Cheney’s assertions otherwise, CIA documents proved that Cheney lied about the intelligence produced by the CIA’s torture of a terror suspect:

[A] just released report by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility into the lawyers who approved the CIA’s interrogation program could prove awkward for Cheney and his supporters. The report provides new information about the contents of one of the never released agency memos, concluding that it significantly misstated the timing of the capture of one Al Qaeda suspect in order to make a claim that seems to have been patently false.

Seems to have been patently false, Spikey? Keith Olbermann put it this way on “Countdown” last night:

The memo cited by Mr. Cheney stated that the waterboarding of al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah led to the arrest of suspected dirty bomb plotter Jose Padilla in May 2003, but as Isikoff also reports the [DOJ] review also points out that the memo was wrong.

Padilla was arrested, not in May 2003, but May 2002. The administration did not authorize “enhanced interrogation techniques” until August 2002. Zubaydah was not interrogated until August of 2002. Therefore he could not have led them to the capture of a man who had been arrested three months earlier.

On Monday, Cheney experienced chest pains and was admitted to the hospital, and, as of Wednesday morning Pacific time, was still hospitalized awaiting further tests. Cheney has a long history of heart disease, of course. He has suffered four heart attacks since 1978 and undergone a quadruple bypass. (There were even rumors of a cardiectomy in 2006.)

During the eight years of his vice presidency, Cheney showed himself to be fundamentally inept — he ignored warnings about the 9/11 attacks, promoted the false notion that Iraq had WMD, predicted that Iraqis would greet U.S. troops with flowers, lied about the purported connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, stayed on vacation during the Katrina disaster, failed to see the economic collapse coming and on and on. Yet he has never admitted to any mistakes or, certainly, apologized for his failings. (When he accidentally shot a friend in the face with birdshot, it was the friend who apologized.)

Over the 14 months since he left office, Cheney and his daughter Liz hav made themselves Pres. Obama’s chief political adversaries and harshest critics — a gambit that is clearly intended to lay the groundwork for framing any future Obama administration investigations into Cheney’s role in greenlighting torture as political payback for the criticism.

The DOJ report that put the lie to Cheney’s claim about torture intel put this gambit at risk and had to have been very bad news over the weekend. And since stress can be a factor in heart disease, it is fair game to speculate that Cheney’s heart attack on Monday may have been a “tell” that Old Poker Face may have finally drawn a bad hand.


I think any Republican that says you should start from scratch, I think that’s bogus talk, and that’s partisan talk.

— California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), quoted by McClatchy News Service, bucking congressional Republicans on health care reform.