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Originally published Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 8:43 PM

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Fearing terrorist threat, Cheney says he had wireless heart device disabled

The former vice president, 72, has had five heart attacks — his fourth during the 2000 presidential recount — and underwent numerous medical procedures before he got a transplant last year.


Bloomberg News

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WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney said he had the wireless feature of the implanted defibrillator that helped keep him alive in 2007 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’ “60 Minutes” program airing Sunday night. “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 during the 2000 presidential recount — and underwent numerous medical procedures including quadruple bypass and having the defibrillator implanted before he got a 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.”

Cheney told correspondent Sanjay Gupta that his health was so tied to his political career, just 67 days after taking the oath as vice president, he prepared a letter of resignation to President George W Bush, which he could hand over if he felt his health deteriorating.

Cheney discovered there was no provision in the constitution to replace a vice president who is alive, but incapacitated. So he drew up the letter of resignation.



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