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Post CIA Director George Tenet
Created by Ronald Hilton on 06/21/04 2:42 AM

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CIA Director George Tenet (Ronald Hilton, USA, 06/21/04 2:42 am)

Jon Kofas says: "The resignation of the CIA director Geirge Tenet was not unexpected, though the timing may have been. Some Washington insiders expected him to step down after November after the election. Immediately after he announced he was resigning this morning, Senator Kerry blamed Bush for U.S. intelligence failures, congressional leaders called for sweeping intelligence reforms, and Ahmad Chalabi accused Tenet of leaking highly classified reports, though the FBI is looking at the Pentagon for the leaks involving Chalabi and the Iranian intelligence services. In the last analysis, what matters more than anything is the administration's controversial foreign policy that is now claiming its victims from within the cabinet. Others will follow after Tenet's resignation, especially if there are more bad news from Iraq and congress, or if the press uncovers more scandals of the magnitude of the vice president's office steering no-bid contracts for his former company.

Bush needs to convince a skeptical public at home and foreign leaders abroad that his foreign policy is on the right track and that he is in control by cleaning house as he prepares to run for reelection and as he is asking the UN for help with Iraq. It is unfortunate that there is such focus on personalities when it comes to foreign policy, rather than on the policy. If Tenet falls victim to a policy that more than half of the public views as contrary to national interests, and people like Al Gore expect Rice and Rumsfeld to resign, what will be so different when new people come in and they follow similar policies?

A generation ago amid the Vietnam War William Appleman Williams wrote about the importance of focusing on the remarkable trends of continuity in U.S. foreign policy, rather than viewing each bilateral relationship and each occasion in isolation as though it were completely cut off from the past. Tenet was a soldier who did his job, how well or poorly only history will judge. Ultimately, he fell victim to a policy based on coercive diplomacy and the doctrine of preemption that is unfortuately bound to be repeated by many others in the future"

RH: When CIA Director Tenet gave his farewell address to his staff, he was almost crying. Despite the statement by Bush that he had asked Tenet to stay on, there was more to the resignation than the official report said.

Peter Orne weeps no tears over George Tenet: "Tenet's decision to resign may have been his best decision in the past few years. Almost certainly, however, there is a great deal more behind it. Findings from three commissions, including 9/11, excoriate the CIA. In the next few months, Tenet's reputation will turn from embers to ashes, and he will continue to be a liability to President Bush.

Tenet avoided stating additional reasons for his resignation other than discussions with his wife and son -- even as, on Wednesday, the Army announced that it would require soldiers to extend their active duty if their units were bound for Iraq and Afghanistan, keeping thousands of troops in the service for months longer than they expected. Mr. Tenet may enjoy a peaceful summer with his family"

RH: What do James Wolsey and Miles Seeley think?.

Miles Seeley, a former CIA officer, says of the resignation of George Tenet: "It is unclear to me whether Mr. Tenet resigned for his stated reasons, of if President Bush gave him a push. In any event, he has already taken a lot of flak, and there is a lot more to come as the various commissions submit their reports. I served for many years under Allen Dulles, and later Dick Helms, both of whom I considered great DCIs. When President Clinton appointed Tenet, he did a fine job for a few years, restoring morale and rebuilding so-called "Human Intelligence" capabilities (i.e. case officers and agents on the ground). This past three years he has seemed like a different man to me, caught up in the meat-grinder of the neocons and the rush to war after 9/11.

I have no doubt that the CIA needs an overhaul, as does the entire intelligence community (15 different agencies!!). In my day the DIA was small and ineffective, there was no DEA, and State also had a very small intelligence unit that relied mostly on CIA reports. The CIA ran pretty lean and mean in those days. We made mistakes, to be sure, and blundered more than once, but as one source put it last night, many of the jobs given to the Agency were "almost impossible, and often extraordinarily difficult." That was the nature of the business.

Now, maybe, they can get down to the real business of recruiting Arab Americans and Arabic linguists to serve in the field. To fight an enemy, you need to know him, and in my opinion this Administration knows next to nothing about terrorists, Arab culture, and international cooperation. All of these are essential to waging the anti-terror battles.

Regarding Iraq, I was opposed to the invasion from the start, but I don't know how good or bad the raw intelligence product was. I do know that we should have learned decades ago that relying on exiles leads to catastrophe (we were burned badly trying to use Soviet exiles in the 50s).

I can only wish the new DCI the best of luck, and hope Colin Powell may gain even more credibility as our lead man in international relations" RH: I remember that, when the CIA was created in 1947, it was supposed to be just that, the central office coordinating all the other intelligence. agencies. Now it has been pushed aside and there is talk of another central agency.


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