Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans for steep budget cuts for the military. Under the proposal, the Army would shrink to its lowest troop level in nearly 75 years. Republicans are lining up to slam the plan. Former Vice President Dick Cheney claimed President Obama would "rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military." Anderson takes a look at criticism from the right and speaks with Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto about what these budget cuts really mean.
Program Note: Don't miss our reports from CPAC tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/18/cheney.jpg caption="Dick Cheney made a surprise appearance Thursday at CPAC." width=300 height=169]
Conservative activists from across the country spent the first day of the annual CPAC convention discussing policy, blasting the Obama administration and plotting a return to power in November.
The three-day Conservative Political Action Conference features speeches from national political leaders, potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates, 2010 candidates, and the likes of conservative Hollywood-types such as actor Stephen Baldwin.
Opening day speakers included Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist and Liz Cheney.
Go here for information about the conference, including a list of speakers, what's on the agenda for each day and a list of sponsors.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/02/10/obama.african.americans/story.obama.file.cnn.jpg caption="Political analysts question whether Obama can rebuild bipartisan trust in Washington." width=300 height=169]
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised by my friend, Joe Biden."
So said Dick Cheney during the bizarre and riveting electronic duel between the former and current Vice Presidents on this past weekend's Sunday morning shows. A tart comment punctuated by the artificial nicety friend is a common device in the congressional culture where both men toiled for years, but from Cheney's lips on this occasion it seemed particularly hollow, buried within a scorching critique of his White House successors. Biden gave as good as he got, blasting the Bush Administration with energy and spirit.
But this was all to be expected. Despite the President's paramount campaign promise to end the bitter recriminations and partisan animus that have defined Washington politics for almost two decades, genuine feelings of friendship across the aisle rarely animate the contours of the debate in Barack Obama's Washington.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/30/analysis.interrogations.report/art.cheney.gi.jpg caption="Dick Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States from 2001 to 2009 in the administration of George W. Bush. "]
Roland S. Martin
Mr. President, please take my advice: never listen to the nutty advice of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Trust me, he gave enough dumb advice to President George W. Bush during the last eight years that it's best that he just keep quiet on anything dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan.
Instead of recognizing that his constant pushing for war in Iraq, which had nothing to do with the tragic events on 9/11, has put American in a tenuous position with the rest of the world, including our allies, Dick "I Took Five Deferments So I Wouldn't Have to Serve in Vietnam" Cheney wants to send more of our men and women into Afghanistan with absolutely no clue as to what the game plan is.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney and other members of the Bush Administration might have had a tense weekend. After months of delay and controversy, the Obama Administration is expected on Monday to declassify the 2004 CIA inspector general's report into the agency's interrogation program. Cheney, the most prominent of several Bush-era officials who have vociferously defended the program, faces either vindication or more vilification.
Over the past two days news reports have quoted unnamed officials as saying the IG's findings include instances where CIA interrogators used power drills and even a gun to threaten a detainee; on another occasion, as first reported by Newsweek, they allegedly staged a mock execution. If true, these tactics would go well beyond the coercive techniques permitted by the Bush Administration's legal counsel.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/17/congress.cia/art.cheney.gi.jpg caption="Former Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly ordered the CIA to withhold information about counterterrorism."]
Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN
In response to the growing pressure for an investigation into potential abuses by the CIA and former Bush administration officials, Republican Sen. John Cornyn warned: "This is high-risk stuff. Because if we chill the ability or the willingness of our intelligence operatives and others to get information that's necessary to protect America, there could be disastrous consequences."
But Cornyn has it wrong. What chills our national security operations is not the discovery of wrongdoing. Rather, what chills our national security operations is tolerating programs that undermine the credibility of our institutions. When Americans are asked to go to war or are warned of dangerous threats, they must be able to believe the people they are hearing from.
Following the most recent revelations about the CIA, we have reached a tipping point where it is becoming impossible to continue dismissing these allegations as part of the past.
The House Intelligence Committee has announced that it will begin an investigation into the CIA's plans for a covert assassination program to target al Qaeda operatives, including allegations that then-Vice President Dick Cheney instructed the agency to hide the operation from Congress.