In his first news conference since his heart was replaced one week ago, former Vice President Dick Cheney announced Saturday that he regretted his “extensive” role in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — and the subsequent coverup.
“It was a terrible, terrible thing to do,” said Cheney, speaking in the lobby of Bethesda Cardiac Unit in Maryland, the nation’s most prestigious heart center. Reporters, his transplant team and members of his family crowded around Cheney, who served for eight years under President George W. Bush.
“Looking back, I can’t believe Karl and I actually did that,” he added, referring to former White House staff member and Republican strategist Karl Rove.
“There are a lot of ways to start wars. I don’t know why we had to kill so many Jewish people,” he explained. As reporters shouted their questions, Cheney raised his hand and said, “I am sorry, this is very difficult. I don’t have that much more to say. I just needed to get this off my chest.”
Cheney said that he planned the attacks so that the United States could get a permanent military presence in the Middle East, and have access to Iraq’s largely untapped oil reserves, the third largest in the world. “I can’t believe people didn’t put this together,” he said, “especially since we outlined the plan publicly in 1998. Even if people trusted me, I take responsibility for lying. It just wasn’t right.”
He said that it was Rove who came up with the date of Sept. 11, which translates to 9-11, “so that people would reminded of it as long as they lived, every time they see an ambulance or police car. It was very clever marketing. Karl is good that way,” Cheney said chuckling. “But it’s not funny. Sorry,” he added.
Settling much speculation, he said: “I regret that we were aware that the date commemorates the CIA coup of Chile in 1973, but that was not intentional. It was in very bad taste.”