The former Veep's current media blitz seems to be less about national security than about a defense -- naturally, a pre-emptive defense -- against the legal proceedings he must believe are coming down the road. After all, he has said upfront, albeit belatedly, that "I do not believe, and I have never seen any evidence, that [Saddam Hussein] was involved in 9/11." After years of claiming otherwise, this pretty much cedes any claim he might have to actual security expertise, not to mention sound judgment or basic humanity.
So if he doesn't have any secret insider dope to help protect our country, what's Cheney blathering on about all the time?
Answer: Why the mess he made is everybody else's fault. First, he started by blaming the Obama Administration, which is just weird. The new president didn't order the war, the torture, or the renditions. He's trying to clean up the mess he was left with, and everybody knows that. Cheney went on to blame then-CIA head George Tenet. Now he's also blaming Richard Clarke. And Heaven knows there's plenty of blame to go around the former administration, but here're the problems:
(a) Tenet and the CIA have been pretty clear that their intelligence was always murky. Spooks always are, because it always is. House of mirrors, and all that. Could they have been more discriminating, and tried to make sure that a dimwitted president read it with all the usual espionage caveats? Probably. But they weren't the ones who decided to launch a war based on it, nor to present it to the public (and the UN) as if it were all more solid than it ever was.
And (b) Clarke seems to have been the only one in the administration who was actually worried about al Quaeda before 9/11, and the only one who actually resisted the facile link of 9/11 to Iraq. Could he have been more vocal about his concerns? Sure. He could have grabbed the president by the lapels and shouted "Listen to me, you idiot mama's boy," with spittle flying every which way. That would have been 0.03 seconds before the Secret Service shot him dead.
No, those guys did their jobs. The spies gathered intel, the antiterrorism advisor gave advice. The only person who didn't do his job -- who exceeded it in every conceivable way -- was Cheney. Because, after all, what is a vice-president's job? To wake up every morning, read the paper, and check on the president's health. Ask if there are any tie votes in the Senate. Then go back to sleep. Imagine how much better the last eight years would have been had the vice-president actually stuck to the job description provided for him by the Constitution. (Or, come to think of it, shown any other interest in the Constitution.)
So it's pretty clear that Cheney is breaching the customary protocol (of keeping your mouth shut while a new administration gets to work) not in any effort to enhance our security, but in an effort to distance himself from blame. Within a few months -- or weeks, at this rate -- we fully expect him to say, in public, "Don't blame me; it was the President who commanded the troops." And again, he'll be half-right. That's how it would have worked in a well-ordered government.