Dick Cheney Feared Terrorists Could Kill Him Through Defibrillator

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 19 2013 12:22 PM

Dick Cheney Feared Terrorists Could Kill Him by Hacking His Defibrillator

The scene in Homeland was actually kind of realistic. Or so says former vice president Dick Cheney. “I found it credible,” Cheney said of the scene in the Showtime hit that shows a terrorist killing the vice president by hacking his heart device. “It was an accurate portrayal of what was possible.”

Paranoid? Perhaps. But in a 60 Minutes interview on Cheney's long battle with heart disease it seems his cardiologist, Jonathan Reiner, was the one who raised the alarm bells and had the defibrillator's wireless functions disabled.  “It seemed to me to be a bad idea for the vice president of the United States to have a device that maybe somebody on a rope line or someone in the next hotel room or downstairs might be able to get into, hack into,” Reiner told Sanjay Gupta. “I worried that someone could kill you.” Reiner and Cheney appeared on 60 Minutes to promote Heart, a book they co-authored.

Advertisement

Cheney has suffered five heart attacks and has undergone a quadruple bypass operation. Ultimately though the former vice president feels lucky because he has been able to receive “many modern heart treatments that seemed to come along at just the right time,” as CBS notes. Cheney insists he had never been counseled on the evidence that shows links between heart disease and memory loss. And, regardless, says his health has never affected his work performance, dismissing the idea that his stressful job could have contributed to his illness.  “I simply don't buy the notion that it contributed to my heart disease,” Cheney said.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.