Former US vice president Dick Cheney on Thursday defended the Bush administration's use of harsh interrogation methods and said the questioning led to information that deterred terrorist attacks.
In a speech delivered immediately after US President Barack Obama's defense of his moves to end the severe techniques, close the Guantanamo jail and release secret documents, Cheney said the national security decisions made by former US president George W. Bush kept America safe.
Cheney said the Bush-era stance was rooted in a determination to ensure the September 11, 2001 attacks against the US did not become "a prelude to something worse."
Cheney claimed that tough interrogations "prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people." Cheney challenged Obama to release secret documents that he contends would prove this case.