Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday sharply criticized President Barack Obama’s handling of terrorism policy and defended harsh interrogation methods that Obama has labeled torture.

In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on the same day Obama defended his approach to terrorism, Cheney said Obama’s decision to ban tough tactics "is unwise in the extreme."

"It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness and would make the American people less safe," said Cheney, long viewed as a leading hawk in the Bush administration.

He took particular aim at Obama’s decision to close the U.S. military prison for foreign terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The detention center, which currently houses 240 inmates, opened in 2002 as part of Republican President George W. Bush’s war on terrorism and Obama wants it closed by January 2010.

The Democratic-led U.S. Congress bucked Obama on Wednesday by stalling funding for the project because there is no plan on what to do with the prisoners there.

"The administration has found that it’s easy to receive applause in Europe for closing Guantanamo. But it’s tricky to come up with an alternative that will serve the interests of justice and America’s national security," said Cheney.

He spoke at the Washington thinktank just after Obama finished his speech on terrorism.

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