Town Square

George Tenet

Original post made by Jag Singh on Apr 30, 2007

George Tenet appearance on "60 Minutes" to promote his book, "At the Center of the Storm", was a disingenuous effort to prop up his burnished image. It would have been far better for Tenet to have resigned with honor than to have been used as a 'disposable diaper' by the Bush Administration. Tenet was an eager and willing participant in the massive effort to deceive the American people with bogus claims of Iraq's WMD's and as such must share responsibility for the Iraq debacle with his former duplicitous bosses, Vice-President Cheney and President Bush. He ignored solid CIA Intelligence reports in September 2002, which rejected the presence of WMD's, and replaced them with a fraudulent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) to please his bosses. Tenet further buttressed the case for war by falsely testifying an Al Qaeda link before Congress in February 2003. He allowed CIA analysts to be bullied and intimidated by Vice-President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and then added the CIA stamp of approval to Colin Powell's speech at the United Nations savaging CIA's honor and credibility. It would be a befitting gesture of remorse if George Tenet returned the Medal of Freedom which was given to buy his silence and donated the royalties from his book to U.S. soldiers and their families who have paid the ultimate price for his lack of courage and leadership.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on May 1, 2007 at 6:47 am

There is a fundamental misunderstnding of what constitutes intelligence being promulgated by BDS carriers. Intelligence is assessment of incomplete and unverifiable information in an attempt to reveal something otherwise not knowable.
As intelligence is gathered is is sifted and evaluated at every step of the way. Call the process what you will, cherry picking, winnowing, evaluation, every evaluator brings his or he own knowledge and assumptions to the process.

Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 1, 2007 at 6:58 am

Tenet got a four million dollar advance to write this book. That's a pretty tidy sum for cashing in on his own cowardice. If he had any sense of morality, decency, and courage, he would have spoken out before the 2004 election, and worked tirelessly to prevent Bush and his band of incompetent cronies from spending another four years in office wreaking havoc on the country and the Constitution. As it stands now, having failed to do all that he could to prevent a war based on premises he knew were false, Tenet is profiting off the death of every soldier killed in Iraq.

Posted by Page, a resident of Los Altos
on May 1, 2007 at 7:01 am

If George Tenet and Colin Powell had resigned together and held a press conference to denounce the push for the Iraq (no WMD, no link to Al-Qaida, no mushroom clouds), maybe, maybe, it wouldn't have come off. Instead, they chose to toe the line and lie and mislead the Congress and the American public and allow this nation to be gulled into a disaster the damage from which may take a couple of generations to repair.

It's when supposedly good men join forces with evil that true evil is done. Shame on Powell and Tenet for going along with the lies and the deceit. They join Robert McNamara as johnny-come-latelies to the truth of their own actions.

Posted by Brian, a resident of Midtown
on May 1, 2007 at 7:22 am

I'm outraged by the pusillanimous behavior of George Tenet regarding Iraq. But even that outrage pales when compared to my feelings upon hearing Tenet on "60 Minutes" say he told Condi Rice about the imminent danger from Al Queda.

In his interview on April 29, Tenet alleged that Rice delegated the issue of immediate action in Afghanistan to "third-tier officials." When pressed as to why he did not go straight to the president, Tenet implied that he did not have the ability to put things on Bush's agenda, while Rice did.

As far as I know, the Director of Central Intelligence has a legal right to go to the President directly. Even if I'm wrong on that, Tenet had a moral and patriotic obligation to go to the President, or even go public to the country, if he believed that there was an imminent threat of an attack with major casulties, and Ms. Rice would not act. That he did not makes him more than just a coward. It's negligent homicide.

Posted by green, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 1, 2007 at 7:37 am

Tenet says that Dick Cheney made him a scapegoat for the disastrous war by misrepresenting to media what he meant by "slam-dunk." Interviewed by "60 Minutes," Tenet said that the administration misrepresented his comment to mean that the case was air tight that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Tenet states that the Bush administration's misrepresentation of what he said is "the most despicable thing that ever happened" to him.

The American people have never been told the real reasons that Bush-Cheney and the Republican Party rushed us to war in Iraq. Americans have only been fed a pack of transparent lies.

The war has brought no honor, no glory, and no tangible benefit. The war has brought shame upon America for routine torture of Iraqi detainees and for the routine slaughter of unarmed Iraqi civilians-mothers, fathers, children, grandparents--by trigger happy American troops. There are even reports of US mercenaries having fun riding around taking pot shots at Iraqi civilians.

Billions of dollars in "aid" are missing. The stench of corruption is heavy in the air. There are myriad investigations of Bush administration and contractor corruption. Who can keep up with them all? Cheney's Halliburton, the greatest hog at the trough, has not been indicted. The missing suitcases of cash have not been recovered. The earnest efforts of Congress have taken on a pathetic, plodding life of their own.

Posted by Patsy, a resident of Southgate
on May 1, 2007 at 9:14 am

Here's a letter to George Tenet signed by 6 former CIA intelligence officers challenging Tenet to return his Medal of Freedom (awarded by Bush in the same 2004 ceremony to fellow war criminals Paul Bremmer and General Franks).

Web Link

They also challenge Tenet to donate at least half of his book-sales royalties to vets of the Iraq Disaster.

Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on May 1, 2007 at 11:17 am

Thanks, Patsy.

For more info about "intelligence" and how it is gathered and evaluated, read "The Threatening Storm" by Kenneth Pollack. I read it before we went in, and it swung my vote toward going in.

He lost my respect when he, a couple years ago, issued a comment that basically was trying to absolve him of any part he played in the decision process. But, the reality is that this is the kind of stuff all of our lawmakers and admin was getting. I have yet to read anything anywhere nearly as well documented on the OTHER side of this issue.

Read the whole thing. It is a heavy read, documented and footnoted.

Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 1, 2007 at 11:21 am

Any money that Tenet will earn from his book is blood money. Had he resigned his post and told the truth to the nation back in 2002, hundred of touisands of people, including 3,400 US troops would be alive now. Tenet has been both a coward and an enabler of the most criminal and corrupt regime in US history and it would be a disgrace and profound act of immorality for him make money off his cowardice.

Posted by Patsy, a resident of Southgate
on May 1, 2007 at 3:07 pm

A few words about Kenny-Boy Pollack, author of The Threatening Storm:

Pollack was the director of the Brookings Instition's Saban Center for Middle East Policy and is married to TV journalist Andrea Koppel.

The Saban Center is now directed by Martin S. Indyk, former American ambassador to Tel Aviv and co-founder of WINEP, a think tank of Likud. The Saban Center was named after his sponsor, Jewish millionaire Haim Saban, co-owner of Fox TV.

In the book we are urged to read, Pollack endorsed invading Iraq and suggested possible ways of going about it.

Gee, I wonder if Pollack discusses any of the consequences of terrorizing tens of millions of Iraqis, murdering 700,000 of them, maiming countless others, flattening their nation, and dismantling the entire power structure of a relatively peaceful, relatively harmless, but DEEPLY DIVIDED nation.

Did Kenny-Boy accidentally forgot to broach how unleashing this chaos and misery in Iraq would likely beget more chaos and misery throughout the entire region?

Or did he DELIBERATELY avoid warning of this inevitability?

He's an intellectual, right? So what exactly could be his excuse for not knowing Iraq is a heavily factionalized nation and that removing Saddam was an incredibly evil and stupid idea?

Posted by A Boomer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 1, 2007 at 3:09 pm

I don't remember where I read this, but I stick to general sources, such as the New York Times, Newsweek, etc., not blogs:

Outgoing Defense Secretary William Cohen was approached by Vice President-elect Cheney, with a request that a briefing be prepared for Shrub after he was sworn in around his options in Iraq.

On the surface, that is a seemingly understandable and innocuous request. But, to me it implies a suspicion I and others have that the designs on Saddam Hussein were under way from the time Shrub won the Supreme Court decision over the election. Tenants book provides grist for that line of thinking--that these guys were looking for a fight, and were willing to concoct anything they could as an excuse to do so. 9/11 made it all so much easier, but it would have happened in any case.

Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 1, 2007 at 3:41 pm

Even ahead of George Tenet, Cilin Powell has to shoulder the blame for being a major enabler of the Bush regime's deceptive and criminal invasion of Iraq. He had had his suspicions even while giving that 2002 famous speech in the UN and he pretty much knew a few months later that he was part of a con-job and hoax. Yet, he didn't resign and speak out in public. Had he done so, bush would have lost the 2004 elections and about 2000 US troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis would be alive today. No doubt, part of his reluctance to speak out was fear of losing his very lucrative corporate connections that made him a multi-millioner. Even now, he's extremely critical of the Bush regime in private, but keeps his silence publicly, which amounts to being an accessory to crimes.

Posted by Patsy, a resident of Southgate
on May 1, 2007 at 3:56 pm

A Boomer:

Exactly. Richard Clark's book alleges plans for removing Saddam were in the works before 9/11 as well.

You may find it interesting to look at some of the documents urging USA to remove Saddam before 9/11:

A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm (1996): Web Link

PNAC Letter to Clinton (1998) : Web Link

Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces, and Resources For A New Century (2000): Web Link

Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on May 1, 2007 at 5:48 pm

OF COURSE there were plans in place for removing Saddam before 9/11!! There are plans in place for removing EVERY dictator at this very moment, ready to implement if needed for our protection!!

There are plans in place for virtually any scenario you can imagine.

That is what the defense of our country is about..thinking and planning ahead for any contingency.

You all really need to read a lot more about how our, or ANY, country's defense works.

Posted by sarlat, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 1, 2007 at 6:50 pm

"There are plans in place for removing EVERY dictator at this very moment, ready to implement if needed for our protection!!"

In that case, we should implement right away the plans to remove Bush/Cheney.

Posted by Dave, a resident of College Terrace
on May 1, 2007 at 6:59 pm

Firstly, there should be Nürnberg like war crimes trials for the Bush administration after January 2009, earlier if they can be impeached, and the main principals, Namely Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice, if found guilty, should be executed just like in Nürnberg. Secondly, George Tenet should be one of those on trial, since he served as an enabler, just like Eichman and Albert Speer.

Posted by A Boomer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 1, 2007 at 7:07 pm


OF COURSE there is all sorts of scenario based planning for things that could happen, and that is what the people paid to defend our country do for a living. That's not the point.

The Shrub guys had already decided even before they had taken office that they were going to take out Saddam Hussein, and each and every new revelation demonstrates that

1. They were looking for the most plausible excuse they could for doing so
2. That the reasons that they could come up with were bogus
3. They went ahead and did it anyway, with a flagrant disregard for the facts that were presented to them, and little or no forethought of the consequences of their actions

Are we better off/better protected today as a result of what they have done than we were four years ago when the "Mission Accomplished" banner festooned the carrier on which Airmashall Shrub landed? Far from it, and the irresponsible methods they used to create this mess go to the heart of why we are not better off.

And by the way, what about the plans for the aftermath of going in? Doesn't appear even the Pentagon had plans for that, nor does it appear the White House requested any.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on May 3, 2007 at 6:47 am

Boomer, just for ducks, cite reasons given by Bush, not reasons later ascribed by his enemies, that were falsified. Make it easy on yourself and cite just one.

Posted by sarlat, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 3, 2007 at 7:07 am

Tenet's mea culpa makes me gag. Leading up to the war, there were a number of courageous State Department officials who resigned in protest rather than participate in this sham of a case for war that was being sold to the American people. The gave up careers and pensions for what they believed, and got brief mention in some of the press (including Salon). That took guts. Those actions were based on deeply held principles. I pray that no one will buy this self-serving book. Tenet was one of the few people in a position to really wake up Americans to the realities of the day, and he chose not to. Why bother doing it now? Just sit down, shut up and find a way to live with yourself, if you can, George.

Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on May 3, 2007 at 7:37 am

Sarlat: Please provide a link to the names of the "courageous individuals who resigned in protest, giving up careers and pensions for what they believed in".

Oh, and after you do that, look at the million people in military who have had every chance to LEAVE the military since we went into Iraq, and haven't. In fact, they re-up, to go back to Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, the reenlistment rate for those who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan is the highest rate we have ever had, in any circumstance.

Now, who do you believe knows the reality of what we are doing and why? The military people who are CHOOSING TO risk their lives,or, assuming you can find anything valid and verifiable, the few names you might find?

Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on May 3, 2007 at 7:39 am

Walter: The people who like to cite the "Mission Accomplished" banner carefully avoid citing the actual speech Bush gave. It counters the reality they believe in.

Posted by A Boomer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 3, 2007 at 12:13 pm


Just one: Saddam had a weapons of mass destruction program under way that was a threat. I think it was Colin Powell at the UN who stated on behalf of the US that we had incontravertible evidence to that effect. Powell has been quoted as saying the he viewed the entire talk and the content he presented as "BS."

UN inspectors were at the same time as Powell's comments that there was no such evidence. And, it turned out they were right. Don't go to war on a whim.

Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 3, 2007 at 2:12 pm

Actually, re-enlistment rates are way down, inspite of the right wing propaganda claiming otherwise. Many of those who would love to drop out are unable to it for economic reasons. Morale is extremely low. With the Iraq war in its fifth year, an increasing number of American soldiers have been going AWOL and fleeing to Canada, particularly over the last six months. One lawyer who works on their behalf puts the number of American war resisters currently living in Canada at 250 or more. Advocates for them in canada talk of a kind of "underground railroad" that has developed south of the border to help war resisters make their way north. Army officers including generals have retired because of their lack of trust and faith in the civilians running the war.4 star Marine General James L Jones,the outgoing Supreme Allied Commander Europe chose to retire from military service instead of accepting the job later offered to Patreous, because he was opposed to the way the Iraq invasion was handled and planned and because of his outspoken opposition to what was going on in G'tmo and Abu Grhaib. CIA senior officials like the Director chief of staff and chief of clandestine operations in Europe have resigned to protest the pressure from Cheney and the neocons to doctor intelligence.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on May 4, 2007 at 5:54 pm

While I question classifying chemical agents as WMD, they were so considered, and there is no question that there were retained chemical agents. Inspectors were denied access to presidential palaces, and were required to give notice before visiting any other sites. The facilities for biological weapons were on hand and ready to go, and even the nuke program was preparing for a post sanction restart. None of Saddam's programs were abandoned, all were ready to restart just as soon as the oil for food bribes got sanctions lifted.

Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on May 4, 2007 at 7:58 pm

Albert - can't find any evidence of what you are claiming. Any citations? The only one is a dip in seargents re-enlisting in the first quarter this year.

If I had to take a guess from the military blogs, the military is starting to lose confidence that the American people are going to back them to win, and instead force them to leave in defeat. Who wants to stick around for that?

Luckily confidence that we can actually do the job and do it right is up since the surge started. Everyone is hoping that the Iraqis can pull themselves together fast enough under this umbrella of extra protection to take over their own defense of their democracy soon.

The alternative is civil war and dictatorship.

Posted by Big Mama, a resident of Downtown North
on May 4, 2007 at 10:29 pm

Time for you kids to go to bed now