Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday Sen. Rand Paul was wrong to force provisions of the Patriot Act to expire last week and that another 9/11-style attack could happen and be deadlier than before. Cheney added he believed now was not the time to be " weakening the tools intelligence people have to effectively combat terrorists."
"I disagree with Rand Paul on that," former vice president Dick Cheney said when asked on the John Catsimatidis Roundtable if Paul was acting irresponsibly by forcing some provisions of the Patriot Act to expire last week
Paul opposed any extension of the Patriot Act and made particular emphasis on the National Security Agency's bulk collection of data. The Senate agreed to a modified reauthorization of the Patriot Act that has small changes to intelligence agencies' control over the bulk collection of data.
"It's an important program, it's a good program," said Cheney, noting former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden said he believes that had the NSA meta data collection program been in place before 9/11 it might have prevented the attacks.
"I think a lot of what's been going on there is frankly all politics," Cheney added, saying he believed it was now harder to intercept terrorist calls.
"The possibility of further mass casualties attacks like that is very real," Cheney said of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The former vice president said he believed that the "threat is growing," making the possibility of another attack very much real. "I can't say where or when," he added.
"It strikes me we need to be doing everything we can to stop that attack and to capture the terrorists instead of weakening the tools intelligence people have to effectively combat terrorists. It's a big deal."
Cheney said he was "fearful" people have forgotten about 9/11 and a deadlier attack could happen next.
"I'm fearful that we've gotten far enough away now after 14 years, far enough away from 9/11, that too many people out there have forgotten what happened and what it's like when it does happen. This is the danger that next time they'll have something deadlier than airline tickets and box cutters when they launch an attack."
A Paul spokesman responded to Cheney in an email to BuzzFeed News.
"Sen. Rand Paul agrees with former Vice President Cheney that we must always remain vigilant to the real threat of radical Islamic jihadism, but Sen. Paul, like most Americans, does not believe we should continue the NSA's illegal and expensive bulk collection program which has not led to a single terror conviction or foiled any plots."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at email@example.com.
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