New Book Passes Old Buck

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Former CIA Director George Tenet's new book is—shockingly!—a stab at a face-save three years after he quit his job. The man who led our intelligence efforts after 9/11 things it's important we all know that he's a whiny, whiny whelp.

Mr. Tenet described with sarcasm watching an episode of "Meet the Press" last September in which Mr. Cheney twice referred to Mr. Tenet's "slam dunk" remark as the basis for the decision to go to war.

"I remember watching and thinking, 'As if you needed me to say 'slam dunk' to convince you to go to war with Iraq,' " Mr. Tenet writes.

As violence in Iraq spiraled beginning in late 2003, Mr. Tenet writes, "rather than acknowledge responsibility, the administration's message was: Don't blame us. George Tenet and the C.I.A. got us into this mess."

Mr. Tenet takes blame for the flawed 2002 National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq's weapons programs, calling the episode "one of the lowest moments of my seven-year tenure." He expresses regret that the document was not more nuanced, but says there was no doubt in his mind at the time that Saddam Hussein possessed unconventional weapons. "In retrospect, we got it wrong partly because the truth was so implausible," he writes.

A humble prediction: Every White House memoir that isn't from Bush or Cheney himself will take this tone. It will not be accompanied by said White House vet melting down his/her Medal of Freedom or renouncing speaking fees as he/she publicly flagellates himself for his/her wrongdoing.

If Tenet was so shaky and ashamed about his role providing flawed intelligence, why did he stay on so long at the CIA? What was it about the Bush administration that begged that kind of loyalty?

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  1. If Tenet was so shaky and ashamed about his role providing flawed intelligence, why did he stay on so long at the CIA? What was it about the Bush administration that begged that kind of loyalty?

    With great power comes great desire to hold on to that power.

  2. It wasn’t the Bush administration he was loyal to, but the position. Tenet would have sucked up like that to anyone.

    But as for his substantive points, it is true that “slam dunk” referred to the ability to make the case to the public, not confidence in the intelligence; and that the effort to blame the CIA for the war is absurd.

    Go through the National Review archives from the end of 2002, and look at what administration officials were saying about the cowardly, partisan Democrats at the CIA, whose lack of professionalism forced the White House and Pentagon to create the Office of Special Plans in order to generate intelligence reports that made the case for war.

  3. What was it about the Bush administration that begged that kind of loyalty?

    Because his ‘loyalty’ is to his first appointers, not the Johnny-come-lately bunch who kept him on for a few more years.

  4. This almost fits the bar conversation rule: Anyone who brags about being a spook, wasn’t.

  5. If Tenet was so shaky and ashamed about his role providing flawed intelligence, why did he stay on so long at the CIA?

    Because he’s a coward, as are the vast majority of officials. And the rest of us, for that matter.

  6. LarryA:

    you got it!

    joe – it’s interesting watching people who still believe going to war was the Right Thing to Do. At best estimation, their goalposts have been moved about… oh. 1E07 meters from the original field.

    (but as denizens of hockey game sports bars know, there was never, ever attempt to link or associate 9.11 and Iraq. Never. Ever.)

    FOR A MAGAZINE CALLED REASON…

    *pours drink

  7. Let’s see if I’ve got this straight:
    1. Early in 2002, Tenet calls the WMD case a slam dunk: “Tenet takes blame for the flawed 2002 National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq’s weapons programs, … says there was no doubt in his mind at the time that Saddam Hussein possessed unconventional weapons”. But hey, he didn’t use the words “slam” and “dunk”.
    2. Late in 2002, Tenet uses the phrase “slam dunk”. We have his most honourable word that he didn’t mean the WMD case.
    3. Five years later he blames Cheney.

    Bah. Humbug!

  8. Notice that Tenent took his “Medal of Freedom” despite his conviction that he’d done a bad job, from people he claims were using him, and carefully kept his mouth shut until after not the 2004 election but the 2006 election, and is now accepting $4 million in order to tell us what an abysmal public servant he’s been. Nothing but class!

  9. he/she publically flagellates himself[/herself] for his/her wrongdoing.

  10. Lunch –

    nice! adding the Friday SLASHfic 🙂

    that was a good/funny idea/thought you had/created!!!

  11. If you can’t believe those in government who can you believe?

  12. Suppose there had been no CIA. Would that have stopped the War Party from invading and occupying Iraq?

    Duh! Bush has put the troops in al allahymo and they are expected to fight till annihilated. The next time you Hail to the Chief, see if it doesn’t sound more the Deguello.

    “Deg?ello” means “beheading” in Spanish and was the title of a Moorish-origin bugle call used by Mexican forces at the Battle of the Alamo, Texas, in 1836.

  13. D. Frank –

    Do be sure to read the next chapter of Texas history, the one titled “San Jacinto.”

    Really, if you’re looking for harbingers of American doom, the Alamo isn’t the best example.

  14. Tell all books seem to be par for the course when somebody gets used like an everyday garden tool.

  15. Seems like there has been a lot of garden tools in the Bush Admin. It’s gotta be on course for the most tools for any administration ever. I know lot of people from the Clinton camp wrote books too, but it seems like almost all that was connected to the Bush admin feels they have to tell their side of the story. As if the other side is all screwed up.

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