Corn on "Hardball": Panetta vs. Cheney

| Mon Jun. 15, 2009 5:28 PM EDT

In the latest issue of The New Yorker, CIA chief Leon Panetta says of Dick Cheney:

I think he smells some blood in the water on the national-security issue. It’s almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point. I think that’s dangerous politics.

Cheney today struck back, saying, "I hope my old friend Leon was misquoted."

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Hours later, the CIA put out a statement:

The Director does not believe the former vice president wants an attack. He did not say that. He was simply expressing his profound disagreement with the assertion that President Obama's security policies have made our country less safe. Nor did he question anyone's motives.

This explanation hung on a thin reed: that Panetta had said that it was almost as if Cheney wanted another attack, not that he actually desired one. Still, it did look as if Panetta had been brushed back by Cheney.

And Chris Matthews, Michael Isikoff, and I sliced and diced this episode on Hardball:

You can follow David Corn's postings and media appearances via Twitter by clicking here.