It is absolutely staggering what a maniac that guy was..... indeed, what he freely admits to. An absolutely brilliant political operator, to be sure. A savvy manipulator whose chief expertise appears to have been quietly amassing power for himself.
The scary bit is that he so vigorously defends the use of 'any means at our disposal' to obtain intelligence, and thinks it would be irresponsible not to out of concerns of appearing to not be a 'nice guy'. Yes, that's it....... people object to torture because it makes us look bad. Not because it's ILLEGAL, or anything. It's the optics.
Brought back a lot of memories of just how terrible the Bush administration was, and brought into focus how the current administration isn't really that much better.... and in some measures is actually worse. Altho it did do a pretty good job of painting Bush himself as a sympathetic character. It seems he selected Cheney because of a very deep insecurity about his own competence on international affairs and inner Washington politicking. So between that and 9/11 it basically provided Cheney with a perfect storm to become, for all intents and purposes, the most powerful man in the world. All quietly and behind the scenes.
That's when Deputy AG James Comey (Acting AG) told Bush directly what was going on. In a complete reversal, Bush immediately rescinded his renewal of the program and would only reinstate it if the recommended changes were enacted. (It seems Bush realized that it probably wouldn't look good in an election year if the leadership of his Department of Justice collectively quit because they thought their boss was acting outside the boundaries of the law.) Cheney went ballistic and what followed was a frank exchange of views between the Bush and Cheney advisers and lawyers from Justice. One of the Justice lawyers said "No good lawyer who has spent any amount of time analyzing this program thinks it's legal as-is." Cheney's general counsel - David Addington, the man who had originally signed off on the program at the White House - said "I've analyzed it and I think it's fine." The reply came back, "Right..... no good lawyers."