Bloomberg News

Cheney Said He Disabled Heart Device to Avoid Terrorist Threats

October 20, 2013

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney arrives for a dedication ceremony at the George W. Bush Library and Museum on April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said the implanted defibrillator that helped keep him alive in 2007 had its wireless feature disabled because he feared terrorists could use it to kill him.

“It seemed to me to be a bad idea for the vice president to have a device that maybe somebody on a rope line or in the next hotel room or downstairs might be able to get into, hack into,” Cheney said on CBS’s “60 Minutes” program airing today. “I worried that someone could kill you.”

A similar scenario was later used as a scene from the Showtime television drama “Homeland.” Cheney said the scene was “credible” and an “accurate portrayal of what was possible.” Cheney was on CBS to promote his new book “Heart: An American Medical Odyssey,” co-written with his cardiologist Jonathan Reiner.

Cheney, 72, has had five heart attacks -- his fourth was during the 2000 presidential recount -- and underwent numerous medical procedures including quadruple bypass and the defibrillator implanted before he received a heart transplant last year.

With the heart transplant, which he called “a miracle,” Cheney said he is able to fish, hunt and spend time with his granddaughter. He said he doesn’t ski, though -- “but that’s because of my knees, not my heart.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net.


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